Finding Success in Urban Music with Lauren Gaspard
Lauren Gaspard is a certified cool girl. In the past year alone, her Instagram has given followers a look at her induction into the latest Recording Academy Member class, her first time at Coachella with one of her artist’s on the lineup, and being the only female in the “Savage Male” group chat.
Aside from her Los Angeles extracurriculars and a stylish social media presence, Lauren is the Director of Urban Marketing at Interscope Records. Lauren took time to chat with Xposure Music’s Sydney Hubbard about performing rights organizations (a.k.a PROs), her take on breaking through the noise as an artist, and staying on the cutting edge of digital marketing strategies.
After graduating from Howard in 2010, Lauren knew she wanted to work in music. Lauren says she took the long way around, interning as a production assistant for BET, landing a role at Compound Entertainment (Ne-Yo’s label at the time, which had a joint venture partnership with Motown), pivoting to the branding and experiential agency side with clients such as Toyota and McDonald's, then heading to ASCAP to be Associate Director of Rhythm & Soul, and now landing in her current position at Interscope. It’s a mouthful, but it’s given Lauren a unique outlook on breaking artists and running her team at Interscope successfully.
“In my role, I’m focused on the timeline. I keep everybody on track to make sure everything is in place for project delivery and that all teams are aligned. For projects coming up in the next few weeks, I get ahead of certain things like making sure all teams have the music, communicating with management teams and artists, and keeping everyone within our organization aware of what’s happening.”
Having come from the often mystifying world of performance rights, we asked Lauren to share more about how artists can most effectively leverage and understand that part of their music career. She shares that finding your nearest physical PRO location, calling your member services rep. at your PRO to develop a relationship, and using the PRO's Youtube channel to do a deeper dive are great ways to start. She also emphasizes that power of the relationships that PROs have.
“PROs are a wealth of new writers and producers because we're the first stop that they come to to get paid. When I was there, I had a Rolodex of up-and-coming creatives who didn’t have publishing deals. I connected writers and producers and actually sparked some great relationships”
We also asked Lauren for advice on using digital to push music out into the world and move it forward. Lauren first emphasizes the importance of identifying your home-based fans, which often starts with your own family. These are the people who are most likely to support you and your music from the beginning. Share your music with them first and ask for their feedback.
Second, she says to hone in on a platform where you are most comfortable releasing your music and being yourself. Lauren explains, “I met with an artist yesterday to try and build his fan base. He’s a very conscious rapper, so to speak, and one of the spaces that he likes to be is Twitter. That's where lyrics are exchanged and that's where you can have a conversation about things and that's where people can express their thoughts.
“I don't really particularly like the strategy of trying to find your voice on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok. That's too much.”
Lately, Lauren helped to launch Rosemarie’s latest project which you can check out below.
She also finds time (somehow!) to teach weekly at 1500 Sound Academy, which the website describes as “a trailblazing music education institution that strives to produce passionate sound creators through mentorship, positive mindset, and professional development.”
Lauren's success in the urban music industry is a testament to her passion, hard work, and perseverance. Plus, she is a true inspiration to young women looking to make their mark in the music industry. She ends our conversation on a high note (pun intended) saying, “Innovation is what continues to propel music and music marketing specifically forward. I think the more artists, creatives, and executives look into things that have a void will find that’s where the success comes from.”