A marketer’s job is never done. Amber Horsberg knows this well. With experience in both the label and the independent side of the business, he is accustomed as the connecting tissue between the various strains of an artist’s project and career. At this Co.Lab, he teaches us the importance of an overall marketing plan and what the person in your team wants and can implement as they think.
Spotify for Artists: Before you went out on your own, you were Senior VP of Strategy Downtown Records. How was that job?
Amber Horsberg: Downtown, I was in Publicity, Radio, Project Management, Production, and Creative (including Art Direction, Music Video Creation, Content Creation, Digital Marketing, Advertising and, Degree, Remixing). A marketer’s job on a record label requires sewing all the sections together and assembling them towards a common goal.
Now, a lot of artists, whether they’re attached to the label or not, will help me get inside and find out what A looks like and how we get to point B from there. Basically, I find the “why” behind their idea. My job is to connect with the goals we set. I use analysis and data to see an artist’s brand and then train them through their ideas and help bring teams together.
Are there any try-and-true marketing methods that you often find yourself going back to?
Social media advertising. It’s definitely annoying but once you get to the goal, whatever you put in, you get out. While with influential people, you throw money at them for doing things that don’t match the aesthetics of your promotion. The content they create is also less likely to get stuck. A creative idea that engages fans also helps. You will need a plan for that idea. If you have an ambitious idea that falls and you have no back-up and it’s release week, you’re in trouble. How do you get your fans together? That is the question. Digital social advertising, top creative, and reliable partner try-and-true.
You’ve worked on both sides of the team – the person who was brought in and the person who was with the artist the whole time. Why is it so important to have a team?
That’s all. If someone – a manager or creative director, whatever he is, is not pulling their weight, it can be detrimental. Having a team that is pushing you can make all the difference. I think artists should play to their strengths and they come naturally as much as possible. Everything else, they should be outsourced.
For someone starting out, who should make their first rent? And why?
Definitely take a good lawyer. If suddenly you find yourself a Fresh find Once playlists and all labels start communicating with you, you will need someone who knows how to communicate with them. A lawyer is someone who can help navigate it and appear in your court, making sure you don’t burst and you’re talking to the right people.
Who are some of the other essential members of the team?
I would say a good manager is essential but then I started working with this band Cub game From Australia and they are incredible. They are self-directed and they are self-liberated. When I first met them I was like, “How’s this going to go down?” It actually works brilliantly because the managers are the band and they really care. One of them is great financially, the other is good at communicating and teasing people, and the other one is good at developing relationships. So together, they can accomplish what a manager does. But if you are an independent artist or a solo artist, it will be very difficult to manage yourself and express music on a scale.
At some point, an artist will have to decide what their relationship with their team will be like. How do you establish the most productive dynamic?
Most artists who are happy with their relationship with team members see it as a partnership. They are creating something together like you would in a company. Artists work to create music and the team works to create artist profiles, live touring businesses and licensing and merchandising of their brands. I haven’t worked with any artists who consider their team as people who are there to do something for them.
– Spotify for artists