The State of the Music Industry with Spencer Leboff
Spencer Leboff is the Senior Director of A&R (Publishing) at global music industry power player, BMG. Spencer sat down with Xposure Music’s Sydney Hubbard to chat about his role in A&R, the future of music discovery among labels, his recent (and very buzzy) talent sign, and where to go for reliably good Italian food in Los Angeles.
Spencer’s interest in music began in high school, where he played in bands and immersed himself in music opportunities. He started interning at a recording studio when he was sixteen and built a program teaching music to kids at a local Boys and Girls Club. He then pursued a specialized music industry program at Syracuse University, The Bandier Program for Recording and Entertainment Industries, and interned at several companies before starting his professional career in Los Angeles. From there, it was onward and upwards for Spencer. He spent three and a half years working in the music touring space at ICM, during which he executed a sold-out Jon Bellion tour, before joining Warner Records, then ultimately shifting to BMG, where he has been for the past five years.
He quickly built an impressive list of accomplishments, having worked with Dua Lipa, Bebe Rexha, Gallant, Tate McRae, Saweetie, Selena Gomez, Saint Jhn, Justin Bieber, Travis Barker, and that's not even an exhaustive list. One of Spencer’s most recent signings at BMG is emerging Canadian act, New West. Of discovering New West, Spencer shared that while he couldn't predict the success they would see, the music was too good not to sign.
“I signed this band out of Toronto, named New West in September of ‘21, and I had no idea that they were going to do what they're doing now. I just loved the music.”
Spencer is excited that what he recognized for, as he puts it, “ a new age Verve, meets Oasis, meets Coldplay” sound, is gaining traction on both the industry side and among fans. “I thought it was so different and so new. Now they just did a gigantic deal with Republic Records and have been picked up by the management who represents Harry Styles,” Spencer says with a grin.
At the time of publication, New West boasts over 14 million monthly listeners on Spotify and has shows slated for late April on the West coast, with a New York show in early May. Check them out and get tickets here. For what it’s worth, Sydney’s favorite track is "Special Place In Hell."
So, how does Spencer come across talent he loves and just might be on the cusp of exploding? Aside from TikTok, he often gets leads from industry attorneys, artist managers, and friends outside his organization. Generally, he believes that traditional label methods of artist discovery are being outpaced by non-traditional methods and will continue to be eclipsed by unconventional practices moving forward.
“The major label system can't keep up with the amount of music that's coming out, not because they're not interested in signing it, but that there's just so much music coming out that it's impossible for them to be on top of everything right now, and I think that's going to just continue to exacerbate itself.”
When it comes to artists on the rise looking for attention from A&R executives, Spencer emphasizes his own experiences with mentorship and relationship building, “I find that the music business is so much about personal relationships that you have to develop your own relationships with the executives that you want to learn from. They're my friends, and I don't always consider them mentors. You know, I invited them to my wedding.”
Spencer seems at home in his role at BMG, representing the company’s best interests, finding top-notch artists, and developing those acts. Experiencing successes alongside his clients and helping them grow is his bread and butter. Spencer smiles as he shares, “That's a huge part of why I love this job: seeing other people's success that I can have a hand in.”
Spencer’s love for being on an artist's winning team transfers seamlessly to feedback he gives on Xposure Music. We’ve seen his feedback first hand: thoughtful, actionable, and genuinely helpful for artists at any point in their career.
“I joined Xposure because not everybody has access to people like me and I want to spread the wealth and knowledge to all the aspiring artists out there.”
In his downtime, Spencer is on an Audioslave kick, loves cooking, driving fast cars, and Formula 1 (Ricciardo is his favorite driver). If you're in L.A., you might even run into Spencer at his favorite Italian restaurants, Jon & Vinnys or Sunday Gravy.
Spencer is always looking out for new exciting artists and has years of valuable experience in the music business. To connect with Spencer for feedback on your music book him on Xposure Music.
Follow Spencer on Instagram @sleboff