10 Questions with ... Michael Starr
December 1, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1991-1995: Music Manager at Hasting's while attending college at Texas A&M
- 1995-1997: Field Marketing for WEA and BMG in Houston
- 1997-2000: Regional Alternative Music Marketing for EMI and BMG
- 2001-2011: Southwest Regional Promotion for Wind-up Records
- 2011-Present: National Promotion for Glassnote Records
1. What got you interested in the record business?
For as long as I can remember, I've been surrounded by music. When I was five years old, I had step-brothers in their 20s that owned EVERY vinyl that mattered, and they were all musicians. I was a sponge, and simply soaked it all up. Even started playing drums in the third grade. When I gave up the idea of being a rock star fresh out of high school, my college days led me to music retail ... and well, I guess the rest is history, as I've been in this industry for nearly 24 years now.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I don't remember radio stations as much as I remember shows ... and the one show that really fired me up in my youth was "M-M-M-M-METAL SHOP!!!"
3. What may surprise people the most about Glassnote Records?
We have a fairly tiny office in NYC. It's quite communal. We don't have the head of every department in a big corner office. Everyone is seated right across from each other. I love visiting the home office because it's truly got a familial vibe to it.
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
- The beauty of watching a crowd sing along to a song you helped break on the radio with the programming staff standing next to you. That's magical!
- Watching the staff you work alongside blossom into game-changers! We have such a bright, talented promo team, and they are each so passionate, dedicated, and HUNGRY to learn and grow.
Our head of promotion, Nick Petropoulos, and I are so proud of our team, which includes the legend, Fred Shade in Cleveland, Greta Van Raam in L.A., Elliott Garstin in Atlanta, Kate Hutchinson in Boston, and our coordinator, Nathan D'Oria.
5. Do you have a favorite market you like to visit and why?
I live in Austin, which is pretty hard to top ... we've got it all from live music to good eats!
Each market is special in its own way, but I love visiting Denver because it sometimes offers me the opportunity to visit family who live just north of there. My mom, sister, two brothers, and a couple nieces and nephews all live there, so it's nice to connect when it's possible.
6. What is the toughest part of your job?
Lately, it's been trying to keep my two dogs from barking like crazy when the UPS man walks up to the door while I'm on the phone. Ha!
7. Who do you see as the next breakthrough artist for the label?
ROBERT DELONG is definitely off to a great start at Alternative with his new release ... he's delivered the goods to prove that artist development is alive and well!
But get ready for Tor Miller. This young man played the ACL Festival, and even stayed at my house in October ... and I'm telling you, he's got something special in his music and personality. We just released his debut single, "Headlights," and will be going to radio with a real gem entitled, "Midnight," early in the New Year. He's got an amazing career ahead of him ... just watch!
8. What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
Staying relevant versus the competition of on-demand/mobile streaming, especially with younger generations. When your station still sounds like 1997 because your PPM data tells you that's what the 12 people carrying meters you're chasing want, it's quite likely not what the masses really want.
When I got into a rental car recently and found that not only was it equipped with AM/FM/satellite, but now also Pandora, Slacker, Spotify and the Bluetooth function to play your own tunes off your mobile device, man, that's stiff competition!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... spending quality time before and after work with my dogs (and cats).
10. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I have three acres south of Austin, so I'm working on stuff out here all the time. The place was a fixer-upper when we bought it nine years ago, and the fun never stops! My latest tasks involve restocking the winter firewood supply with my trusty chainsaw, and then getting the Christmas lights rockin' for the holidays!
Last non-industry job:
First record ever purchased:
Van Halen I on vinyl (1978)
Ozzy/Metallica at "Big Mac" Arena in Denver (1986)
Favorite band of all-time: