10 Questions with ... Jenni Sperandeo
March 28, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WDBM college radio, then Harmony House Records, Hollywood Records, Rhino Records, Jacknife Enterprises, Astralwerks Records, Virgin Records, Shout Factory, Astralwerks (again), Razor & Tie, Shangri-La Music and now Dangerbird.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
I had no idea this job even existed until I was MD at my college station. It was a very serious college radio operation (at Fred Jacobs' alma mater Michigan State), so I learned about music promotion from the other end of the phone and quickly decided it would be a perfectly legitimate use of my advertising degree.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
As a rocker, I listened to WRIF, WLLZ (Mike Halloran's specialty show Radios In Motion), CBC Brave New Waves and college radio station WORB.
3. What may surprise people the most about Dangerbird Records?
How diversified we are. In addition to the label, we have a management division, a merchandise division, a publishing division and a recording studio.
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
Hearing "Jenni, you were right" when "no" turns to "yes" and the record proves to be everything I said it would be. I am also a nerd who loves gazing at a tour promo schedule with lots of station visits, meet-&-greets and studio sessions that has correct addresses, contact numbers, load-in and session times, all with CONFIRMED next to them in bolded blue.
5. What is the toughest part of your job?
Prioritizing my time and dealing with the ever-shrinking space for new music. Petty whining, I know.
6. You are doing a great job with Fitz & The Tantrums. Tell us how that story unfolded.
Thank you ... All props to a great band and great song! Some great stations like KPRI, WRNR, KRBZ, KNDD, KRVB and WTMD got this record immediately, which gave us some great early stories to spread. The band was also featured in a huge T-Mobile/HTC campaign that gave us a great boost in the early going. This record is different from a lot of the soul-flavored stuff we have seen lately in that it doesn't take itself too seriously and is just straight-up fun. It seems to float above petty distinctions of format, demo, etc. -- everyone gets it and everyone loves it. I believe they call that a cume record, right?
7. What other new artists are you excited about at Dangerbird?
A new solo album from Jon Fratelli, the former leader of the Scottish band The Fratelli's - it is loaded with extremely hooky, grown-up rock songs. I can't wait for people to hear this. Jon is one of those writers with a knack for catchy choruses and effortless "la la las" and "ooh-woo-woos" that you just can't shake no matter how hard you try. People are going to be very impressed with this record.
8. Every promotion person has a record close to their heart that for one reason or another never broke through -- "The One That Got Away." What is your "One That Got Away"??
Man, this is a hard one! I am proud to have done very little turd-polishing in my career, and there have been lots of great singles that for one reason or another didn't get the shot they deserved from radio. A few albums I worked that to this day I still listen to at least once a month are Doves "Lost Souls," Aliens "Astronomy for Dogs." Pernice Brothers "Overcome by Happiness," Lewis Taylor "Stoned" and The Drive By Truckers "Southern Rock Opera."
9. What is your best advice for up-and-coming promotion reps?
Call times are for suckers! Just kidding, I love your call times. My advice is don't look at just formats; learn the markets and figure out which stations and shows in those markets are going to be your doorway into that market.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day ...
...without starting the day with my promo theme song, "Work To Do" by the Average White Band and LA Traffic on Sirius XM.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
A year ago the answer to this would have been general home putzing/clutter control/furniture rearranging/storage innovation, but now its snuggling with baby Vinnie!
Last non-industry job:
I think it was doing telephone surveys for political parties in college, but that was working the phones so I am not sure it counts. I'll say high school pizza joint.
First record ever purchased:
A 45 of Joan Jett "I Love Rock & Roll," which I annoyed my mom with so much she broke it in front of me, so I took the pieces pack to the store, convinced the clerk that the record was defective and got it replaced with Blondie "Call Me."
PRINCE "Purple Rain" tour
Favorite band of all-time:
Tie between The Replacements and Neil Young.