Northeastern University alumnus David Nathan, ’92, Senior Vice President of Promotion and Artist Development at Big Machine Label Group, was recently featured on New England Cable News, analyzing music industry trends. During the interview, David, who graduated from Northeastern with a Communications Studies degree, offers his expert take on the ever-changing music genres, the keys to Big Machine Label Group’s success, and how artists are launching music careers in today’s market.
David, who has worked with artists from Taylor Swift to Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, has his finger on the pulse of the music industry. One trend the field is seeing now is rock and pop artists moving toward country music, and vice versa, as well as an overall blending of genres.
In fact, David has been working with Steven Tyler to create a country record after a visit to Nashville opened the rocker’s eyes to the genre’s rich culture.
“We are now talking about the ability to take a country record or two and cross it back over to rock or mainstream pop, or what have you, as we move on in this project,” explained David, who is excited for what the future holds as Steven Tyler explores his new passion for country music. “Music today is so different than it was back in the day and there’s really no boundaries…there’s no lines of demarcation.”
David, who has now worked in the industry for almost 20 years, credits Big Machine Label Group’s success to its mission, which he describes as start from crazy and work backwards. He has always loved this philosophy, which was established by the company’s founder, Scott Borchetta, and describes it as the reason artists gravitate toward the label. This mantra, which embraces creative thinking, is what helps Big Machine launch successful music careers in today’s competitive market, now that older venues, like MTV’s Total Request Live, are irrelevant.
“Now, it’s much more of getting a record in a place where Shazam can make a difference, getting in a place where people can go to Spotify or buy from iTunes, or whatever the impact is in a specific market as opposed to an overall broader picture,” explained David. “The way we look at things from a micromanaging side is to break them out of a specific market. Take Boston and then develop it out of Hartford and Maine into New York, into New Jersey, and brand it that way.”
After all that legwork takes place, Big Machine Label Group typically knows very quickly if a hit has been born. If not, it is a learning experience and a chance to move forward – there is no time to press pause in the music industry.
To view the full interview, click here. Also check out this Q&A with David to learn more about him and his work in the music industry. Last, be sure to see what new artists Northeastern University’s student-run record label, Green Line Records, is working with as they help discover Boston’s newest talent.