Among the most passionate people about music are those who work in the music industry: at labels, as press relation people, as concert promoters, as booking agents, as managers, as music critics, and so on. RREVERB proposes to its readers a series of interviews with passionate music artisans.
Today, we meet…

LAURIE JAKOBSEN

What’s your name, what’s your role in the company you are presently working at, and since when are you working there? Where are you from and where do you live now?

Laurie Jakobsen. I’m the President of Jaybird Communications, which I founded in November 2009. I’m from Long Island, NY, and now live in New York City.

What does your company Jaybird Communications do exactly?

We help our clients tell their stories to the right audiences to support their business. Primarily, this means public relations services – the creation of press releases, story pitches, and media relations. Depending on the client, we may also handle their social media, pitch them for speaking opportunities at industry conferences, support their own events, and assist with the writing of Op-Eds and speeches.

Why did you created it? Who are lauren jakobsenyour clients in the music business (either names or type of people) and why do they need this service.

I created Jaybird because I felt I’d gone as far as I could go in my prior role at HFA as VP of Communications and Marketing, and I wanted to work with mix of different clients in digital entertainment. I could have gone into another agency, but I wanted the opportunity to run my own shop. Bill Greenwood joined the company in 2011, and Kyle Wall came aboard a year later, and it’s been the three of us since then.

Our current clients on the music side include the Music Business Association, BuzzAngle Music, ole music publishing, Revelator, and Sixieme Son, and we’ve also worked with 7digital for the U.S., Digital Entertainment Ventures, Bandsintown, CISAC, Fantrotter, Audiokite, Indaba Music, OpenAura and more.

For every client, it’s different, but in general, they don’t have the resources, expertise and/or time to handle their own PR any more. When you are “in house,” it’s also very difficult to maintain the relationships with as many reporters, as you only have so many stories to tell at one time.

When have you started to work in the music business?

I was 18 when I started to write about music.

At what age have you started to love music?

I fell hard when I saw a Duran Duran concert on the old Nickelodeon show “Off the Record” when I was 11. That was it. I like to say I owe it all to Duran Duran, because it occurred to me that journalists get to meet bands and talk to them, so I started trying to get an interview with them when I was in high school. I succeeded in interviewing John Taylor when I was 19. So everything after that has been gravy!

When you were 20, what was your dream (in the music world)?

When I was 20, I was not entirely sure what I would do. I was writing consistently for Boston Rock, Good Times and my college paper The Tufts Daily (go, Jumbos!), but I liked the idea of being an advocate, so I had started to do some PR for friends’ bands.

I’d already interned at a radio station, WFNX, and realized radio was not for me, but that gig lead to me being recommended for my first paid music industry job at the Musician’s Guide to Touring and Promotion, which I started just before my 21st birthday. I technically met my husband at that job, so all these things led directly to the life I have now – I just had no idea at the time!

 

ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Do you live from it?

Yes, the majority of my clients are music-related; I’m a PR specialist for music tech companies, especially in the B2B space.

Who did you meet in your musical path that was key to your development / success?

There are so many people I could name, but I’d like to particularly recognize John Blenn, who was the editor at Good Times when I worked there and now teaches at Five Towns College. He was the first person in the industry to believe in me and give me a chance, and I learned so much from him about the business and life in general.

What do you like about your current position?

I work with companies that are shaping the music industry of the future. How cool is that?

What would you change about the music business today?

I’ve been involved in the digital music business for almost 20 years, and we’re still talking about how musicians can make their money from selling t-shirts instead of from their music. I’d also like to see an expansion of credits in the metadata on recordings to include all the musicians, producers, engineers – it’s a travesty that you can see a movie like “20 Feet From Stardom” or “The Wrecking Crew” but you can’t then go and easily find every song those singers and players on any music service or retail website.

Vinyl, cassette, CD or digital?

Digital mostly; CD for my ancient car (god bless my 2002 Ford Focus).

ON ARTISTS AND MUSIC

wbab rock radio stationWhat are your preferred music genres? Was it always the case through your life?

The catch-all “alternative”, WBAB rock (I am from Long Island), with the occasional touch of old school hip-hop and female-fronted dance tracks. Nothing better in the gym.

On a desert island you bring those 5 albums (no more!)

Some people hate them, but I love me a live album:

Duran Duran – Diamond in the Mind
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Live in Paris
Nine Inch Nails – And All that Could Have Been
Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth

And I’d burn my “Chicks Rock” playlist to a CD, which has tracks from Blondie, The Go-Gos, Pat Benetar, PJ Harvey, Pink, Elastica, Siouxie, Sleigh Bells, Missy Elliott, Salt-n-Pepa, and Destiny’s Child.

Playlist!

 

Who is the friendliest artist/music celebrity you’ve met? Some artists weren’t friendly nor easy to work with. Without naming them, can you pinpoint why or the circumstances of a negative experience? Is ego always the problem?

I’m going to tackle this differently – what I’ve observed about successful musicians, people who’ve had real careers for at least a decade, is that a) they understand that this is a business and they handle themselves accordingly, and b) they understand their fans and how they must maintain their relationship with the people that sustain their career. 

Too many musicians want what I call the “deus ex machina” – someone to sweep in and poof! Take care of everything for them. Even when you are in a position to hire people to help, you need to stay on top of things yourself, just like any other CEO.

Who would you like to meet? What would you tell/ask them?

I still have not met Simon LeBon – though if I did, I’d probably be unable to speak.

Thank you Laurie!

To know all about Laurie’s services, check out her website by clicking on the logo below.

Jaybird

photo at the top of the page: at the Music Biz 2015 conference with Meghan Trainor in the background.

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.