The vessel through which music reaches the ears of the public is through people like Jessica Eason, Senior Marketing Director at the iconic Capitol Records. Music marketing extraordinaries are the creative forces responsible for the development and implementation of strategic marketing campaigns and rollouts for artists. Jessica works with artists on the Capitol Music Group roster including but not limited to Queen Naija, Toosii, NE-YO, Erykah Badu, Vince Staples, Tiana Major9, and more.
“I love working closely with artists and teams internal and external to build out ideas that we all dream up collectively, execute them, and watch them blossom in the marketplace,” said Jessica. “I think this is definitely something I was meant to do,” she continued.
We asked Jessica to boil down exactly what a rollout plan is. “[A rollout plan is] anything you do prior to an album or project release that brings awareness to an artist, their music, and their profile in general.” she explained. “If you have a little more time, then I’d say it’s also anything that drives visibility to an artist and their repertoire in the months and weeks leading up to a release – that could be as simple as pre-release singles, stunt-y marketing moments, content releases, live experiences, and more.” Since every artist is unique, with their own goals and measures of success, each rollout plan will be customized to reflect this.
While some now professionals knew their career path was leading them to the music industry, this wasn’t the case for Jessica. “I know it sounds so cliché to say, but I actually stumbled into it” she commented.
After graduating Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, she began working in public relations with an emphasis on fashion. Her hustle led her to brand marketing for several companies including Power Rangers, Paul Frank, Cirque du Soleil, and notably Beats by Dre as leaning into music related work is what sparked her pivot to music marketing.
Since COVID-19 has drastically impacted the ways we consume entertainment, music included, we wanted to get Jessica’s take on how artists can take advantage of promoting themselves during these, well... different times. Jessica told us that:
“Consistency. maintaining visibility, and being consistent are key ways to continue momentum. Things are moving so fast that it’s easy to skip to the next thing in the blink of an eye. If you’re not a part of that next news cycle or next trend or tapping into what has previously worked for you, you run the chance of being forgotten when the next shiny object appears.”
She noted that in the age of instant gratification, especially while our entire worlds now exist virtually, it’s important to be “always on” and to “just stay in their faces,” posting regularly, releasing music, and engaging with fans as much as possible. She emphasized that the artist-fan relationship is more important than ever, and that actions as simple as live streams from artists’ social media accounts can make a difference. Higher end production value livestream concerts with built-in fan interaction capabilities have also been proven successful in maintaining and strengthening those relationships during this time.
While the creation and implementation of rollout plans and campaigns has always been heavy on including digital platforms, Jessica mentioned that the pandemic has skyrocketed the strategies for utilizing ever-growing short form video apps such as TikTok and Triller.
“While Tik Tok was already growing exponentially, the pandemic really catapulted the platform even further and thus the attention and strategy dedicated towards prioritizing this in our plans has heightened. It’s something that is considered in every phase,” she confirmed.
And when an artist doesn’t gravitate towards certain social media platforms, maybe because said platform is newer or doesn’t feel very authentic to the artist, Jessica takes it into her own hands to find creative ways to work with them to use these tools in ways that work best for them individually in order to achieve their ultimate goal of reaching their audience and remaining true to themselves.
“An artist that doesn’t dance may be more apprehensive to TikTok, but it’s up to us to still find creative ways and approaches to using the app and also sharing with the artist how to make it work for them/their audience,” she explained. “[This] could be song covers, funny skits, challenges, etc. The goal is to keep it as authentic as possible, but still leveraging the platform and the very engaged audience in parallel.”
She concluded that “just like we as consumers have preferred social platforms, it’s the same with the artists – difference is, we typically want the talent to be as active as possible across as many platforms as possible for the most visibility and exposure.”
Jessica is now knee deep in music marketing. Her 10+ years of valuable experience have left her with a wealth of advice and wisdom to share with aspiring music executives.
We asked Jessica what she wished someone told her when she was breaking into the business. “Wow there are so many things,” she said, “but one thing I would say is – and this really goes for anything – keep a thick skin. Don’t take shit home with you.” She stressed finding a work-life balance in order to ultimately perform at your peak.
“Keep the same passion and energy for your work, but learn how to shut it off and turn on your personal life.”
She revealed that getting married has helped her reevaluate her priorities which as a result has helped improve all areas of her life, including her career. As part of finding balance in her life, Jessica has found that in her world of constant demands that sometimes go around the clock, finding time to check in with herself has been a positive switch.
“I prioritize waking up early so that I have time for myself in the morning to meditate, do yoga, go running/walking, and have quiet time with my thoughts.”
She feels that these lifestyle changes have aided in her longevity as someone who is constantly on the go for her clients. “[It] seems small but it makes a world of difference,” she concluded.
In terms of what young professionals can do in times with canceled internship programs and a changed networking landscape, Jessica suggests reaching out to potential mentors virtually through direct messages on social media and Linkedin, for example. She’s seen mentorship to be incredibly important and crucial to growth in the industry. “You have no idea what those will blossom into one day,” she said.
When asked to recall a favorite moment from her job that stands out, Jessica recounted the time when she was working as a publicist for the Beats Music launch event when Dr. Dre brought a 90s playlist to life with the help of hip hop artists Nas, Diddy, Ma$e, Method Man, Ice Cube, Eminem, Bone Thugz, Busta Rhymes, and more.
As we now know, Jessica lives for bringing ideas that involve music to life, so this example doesn’t come as a surprise. Looking into the future, Jessica plans to continue her work to bring her talent’s creative visions to reality as this is what drives her at the end of the day when all is said and done.