When he worked for digital marketing agency ThinkTank, Brian Scully helped turn Lady Gaga into the biggest star on the planet. In 2011, he left to co-found a new firm, Chaos, which is now a part of Moodswing Management. This year, he put Australian rapper Iggy Azalea on top of the charts--but his star-making smarts stretch beyond the music biz.
As told to Noah Davis.
Expand beyond your crowd
Our DJs did lots of events at New York Fashion Week. Cultural and lifestyle tie-ins expand a DJ's audience. A fashion designer lends his or her artistic credibility to our musician. Brenmar collaborated with the VFiles designers to program the music for their Webster Hall show. Uniiqu3 did a top-secret Alexander Wang show in Brooklyn. Other industries should seek similar tie-ins to get in front of customers who wouldn't normally see them.
Game social media--carefully
Lady Gaga was music's first big Twitter star. We carved out a chunk of the day or week to answer fans. Now, 21-year-old DJs tweet and use Facebook naturally. We teach them what not to do. It feels restrictive, because they are used to putting anything they want on there, but it's so easy for anyone or any company to get in trouble. When I get a request from one of my clients on Snapchat, I'm like, "I don't know if I want you on Snapchat."
Seek unexpected introductions
I saw Iggy Azalea in her first music video, "Pu$$y." I don't think it had even 10,000 views. She looked like a model but could easily hold her own with any well-known rapper. I told everybody in the office to get on the phone and call every one of their contacts--someone had to know this six-footer from Down Under. And we found a friend in the industry who was working with her. You never know where your biggest client is going to come from.
Break through the noise
The Internet gives smaller entities--artists, companies--the tools to get exposure, but everybody has the same tools. We use our connections to get our artists in front of the tastemakers. If that leads to a connection between the artist and the blogger, they'll tweet at each other or check in on other forms of social media, and the followers of that blogger see it and know our guy is for real. That concept holds in any industry.