Name: Natasha Baldwin
Company: Imagem Music Group
Role Title: Group President, Creative & Marketing
How did you get started in the music business?
By accident. I was working as an assistant producer for a production company making music videos for artists like Elton John and LeAnn Rimes and I got a call to interview for a music supervision position in a production library business which I then blagged my way through knowing nothing about production library music but a lot about its client base – ad agencies, TV broadcasters, movie studios etc.
What does the Imagem brand stand for? Key Values?
“Big enough to matter, small enough to care” which translates into quality over quantity and a passionate and personal service for all of our bands, writers and composers from the icons such as Elvis Presley, Daft Punk and Stravinsky through to the up and coming bands of 2015 like Oh Wonder and Uppermost.
How do your personal values impact upon the way you operate in your role?
I like to treat every day as a new opportunity to make an impact. I’m all about making the most of each day (in the “go hard or go home” vein) so that helps me bring creative energy and focus to my role.
What workplace values are important to you?
A culture that champions exploring new opportunities and communication flow.
A culture that encourages questioning the status quo, that encourages exploration and actively supports the attitude of being a disrupter rather than a follower.
Tell me about the last year you’ve had personally and professionally?
Personally, I’ve had to learn how to find a workable balance between being a first time mum and the demands of my career which take me all over the world at the drop of a hat. Professionally, we’ve had a fantastic year with No.1 records from bands/writers such as Mark Ronson, Pink Floyd, Bombay Bicycle Club and Kaiser Chiefs and we’re still in the midst of a very successful (and busy) 50th anniversary of the movie of The Sound Of Music and we’ve developed some exciting brand partnerships for writers like Kavinsky with Mercedes, Daft Punk with Audi and Phil Collins with Chrysler (it’s a coincidence that these are all car brands) and so the creative exploitation side of things has been incredibly vibrant.
How would you describe the culture at Imagem?
I think it’s similar to our client ethos – that of being big enough to matter, small enough to care. We have a very dynamic team that is about each individual bringing a great skill to the overall business. We also don’t silo ideas but collaborate across all.
Looking into the future, what excites you most about the potential of the music business? What are the areas where we can improve opportunities for growth?
Music has always been used as a means of personal expression by musicians and fans alike but with the ever expanding reach of technology, music is now omnipresent, accessible 24/7 and has become the key medium by which the millennials particularly, express who they are. Your playlists (at the gym, DJ’ing at your friend’s party, in the car) are seen to define who you are and what your cultural interests are. The opportunities for sustained musical engagement and dialogue with consumers (over years and years) are endless. Now THAT is exciting for the music business!
What are the emerging opportunities that inform the kind of work opportunities/talent/new connections you seek?
As dull as it sounds – accurate consumer data is an emerging opportunity. Building an accurate musical picture of consumers and fans tastes, worldwide, on a large scale basis should not be overlooked. Although selecting music for creative opportunities such as a band for a brand partnership is an art and is driven by instinct as much as a brief, a sprinkling of science can certainly help. Data doesn’t drive who we sign – you can’t apply a formula to signing a successful act but it certainly helps me to encourage brands, movie studios and the like that a band is worth really considering.
What milestones are you working toward at Imagem?
Personally I’m working towards launching our new global classical imprint business as part of our Boosey & Hawkes brand, getting a couple of bio-pics into production and continually pushing to be the best creative music publishing hub for writers/ composers and bands across all genres – mainstream and niche. Not much then!
What are your talent priorities at the moment?
One of empowerment, proactivity, creative excellence and fun! There is nothing better than someone generating an idea, owning it and energetically delivering an effective and successful outcome/result.
From your perspective, what are the issues facing the music business today?
Examples are leadership, mentoring, communication, social and corporate responsibility, new markets etc. The globalisation of music consumption is an issue in terms of how we keep up with appropriate levels of remuneration but also how we get ahead of it in terms of creative opportunities.
Can you give me an example of companies / individuals who are doing it well?
Ralf Lulsdorf at Deutsche Telekom. He has pioneered in the field of brand/band partnerships and creative fan engagement over the last fifteen years across Europe, breathing new energy into his brand sector by recognising the power of music.
How do we learn more about the global workings of the music industry?
Communicate and investigate. There appear to be more and more summits, forums and festivals popping up all over the world designed to engage the creative communities in progressive business dialogue such as Creative Social (UK), Reeperbahn Festival (Germany) and Spikes Asia (Singapore).
From your experience - What story/insight have you found in the past twelve months that you can share with our community?
I have found that having a child has given me an expanded sense of perspective in life and a better ability to be present and I’m finding these to be beneficial to my professional and my personal life. When I’m engaged in a task – be it a heavy negotiation meeting or bathing my daughter – I am completely present and immersed in, and enjoying the moment. This focus is enabling me to drive the really vital aspects of my job forwards more aggressively and really enjoy them whilst letting the other stuff resolve itself more organically.
*Photography by Dave Imms