Navigating Through The Music Industry: With Jesse Kirshbaum
New York just wrapped one of the biggest weeks in media and technology with it’s 8th annual Social Media Week. From the brains behind companies like Samsung to music industry moguls, these events provided endless opportunities to connect with barrier breakers of our time. We caught up with one in particular, the host of Spotify’s SMWNYC Event and CEO of Nue Agency, Jesse Kirshbaum. Amongst the cast of new series Growing Up Hip Hop, Grammy Award artist Ryan Leslie, and famous blogger Ashley Outrageous, Jesse facilitated a panel discussion about the emergence of music and the digital age.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Jesse K. had a passion for music and at the early age of just 23-years-old he began his journey as a booking agent, signing the hip hop duo Clipse. Since then he’s contributed to the careers of many successful artists such as Big Sean, Mike Posner, Wale, and more. Kirshbaum tells us in an exclusive interview how he became the CEO of his own creative music agency, how he sees the future of brands in correlation with music, and the importance of evolving with the culture.
Q: Tell us what Nue Agency is exactly.
A. Nue Agency is a creative music shop, so we help brands and tech companies better understand their musical identity and then help activate a strategy around that. The belief is that every brand should have a music strategy. You spend so much on your website, your logo, various social media strategies, but music is the universal language and music is the best way for consumers to cut through the clutter.
Q: What kinds of clients has Nue Agency had since you’ve started?
A. We work with everyone from large brands to emerging tech start ups and everything inbetween. Some of our clients are the Mondelēz, Sour Patch Kids who we built out the program called “The Patch” with them and we handle all of the artist bookings, we produce CRWN the hit web series with Elliot Wilson, we produce the Flash Forward Awards, and many other ventures. We work with a number of tech companies that we help either on a retainer, or even on equity and assist them in breaking into the mainstream.
Q: You mentioned Sour Patch Kids. What is “The Patch” exactly in regards to musicians and artists?
A. It’s really about supporting artists in a genuine and authentic way. So if you’re a young artist and your touring, life on the road can be very expensive and staying in white wall hotels can be very uninspiring. So we’re putting artists into these creative havens, these houses to stay while in the city. We’ve taken over three houses, one in Brooklyn, NY, one in Austin, TX, and one now in Hollywood, CA that just opened. Essentially we are housing the artists where they can create, cook, do laundry, etc. it’s a super comfortable place for them while on the road. Simply type in the hashtag #BrooklynPatch to see photos and what goes at the houses.
Q. You have a very credible resume in the music industry, how did your career start?
A. I started right of college in the electronic record business. I thought electronic music was going to be the rave so I went to work at a record label. Soon enough I realized there wasn’t much of a business selling electronic records at the time so I moved into booking. At 23-years-old I signed a group called Clipse and they shot to #2 on the pop charts. We worked with a lot of great artists, so when I moved back to New York and knew that working with artists was a passion of mine I started Nue Agency initially as a talent agency. We found and developed artists and handled their bookings and eventually pivoted the company about 18-months ago to be this creative music agency which is where I think the industry is going. Partnering with brands and tech companies and creating platforms is now the focus.
Q. What can you say contributed the most to the success of your career so far?
A. I think it’s consistency. I think it’s nonstop grind and hustle and just constantly trying to move the needle. Whether it be with an artist project, or with a brand project, or a creative endeavor, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Our current business is very goal oriented, at the end of the day it’s music which is such a dynamic business so staying on top of things delivers great results.
Q. What advice can you give to someone interested in embarking on a career in music?
A. Music is such a passionate space. You don’t come into this business for money, you come into this music business because you genuinely want to do this, and you’re attracted to a component of the industry or to the music itself. So I would say start with a question of “how can I add value?” Once you do that, continue to add value to every conversation you have, every meeting you had, every place you go. If you do that you will learn more, build relationships with the right people, and gain skills and expertise. This business is all about who you know and what you can do! Figure that out first, mix it with a strong hustle and you can be a force in this industry.
Learn more about Nue Agency on their website NueAgency.com and connect with the CEO @JesseKay and the team @NueAgency.
By: Tia Long