Name Jason Jordan
Company Imagem Music USA
Role Title President
Headquarters New York City
How did you get started in the music business?
I never intended to be in the music business. My twin brother, Joel and I started a seminal punk rock and hardcore music label putting out mostly 7" vinyl when we were teenagers in our parents basement. It was called Watermark Records. What began as my hobby eventually consumed my life. That was over 20 years ago now.
How did you come to be at Imagem?
My friend and colleague Kim Frankiewicz is the MD in our UK office. When there was an opening for a new President for the company in America, she suggested me as a candidate and introduced me to Andre de Raaf, who is a co-founder of Imagem.
This was only a year ago and I appreciate his guidance and mentoring as I have learned a lot from him as well as from my friend Kim who is one of the best music publishers I have ever known.
What does the Imagem brand stand for?
Quality over quantity.
We have amazing evergreen copyrights by true legends like George Gershwin, Elvis Presley, Phil Collins/Genesis, Irving Berlin, Pink Floyd, and Sammy Cahn to modern writers and artists like Daft Punk, Mark Ronson, Chet Faker, Freddy Wexler, Professor Green, and Cazzette. It’s a real home for amazing one-of-a-kind music and we truly cherish this responsibility.
Is there a particular area of talent that you are seeking to add to the company?
In America, we are looking to expand into Nashville and more into the Latin
market. We recently did a global administration and joint venture deal with Ash Pournouri (manager of Avicii and Cazzette, amongst others) for his stellar and diverse PRMD Music imprint and publishing company. These kinds of partnerships expand us into areas where we should be doing more business and Ash has brought not only his growing EDM roster to us (excluding Avicii) but the diversity of pop and rock music as well and music we did not previously have. I am always looking for the right opportunity to partner with people who have their own business and are already doing it themselves, and we can provide a much bigger platform for them to build from.
What challenges have you faced over the past twelve months?
I came into a company that was already existing so I inherited a roster of writers and artists and catalogues that I did not sign. The challenge there was to spend the time doing the work, which starts with listening
to the music, meeting the people that are still alive and involved with the music (the writers, the artists, and managers, the attorneys, the estates, etc) to make sure they know that I care about them as much as if I had signed them personally. We have amazing music so it only took the investment of time to make sure that I was aware of what we already had on the roster and in the catalogue before I started try to add to it.
How do you celebrate?
Always with music. I love to listen to everything so I either pull out the old vinyl and throw it on the turntable from my reggae and punk rock collections or something entirely new that I haven’t ever heard before. Music is always the centerpiece to any celebration. We do know how to throw one of hell of a party from time to time as well.
Which artists inspire you on a creative level?
Musical artists that inspire me are The Clash, Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Phil Ochs, Beastie Boys, Dead Kennedys, Fela Kuti – really any musician who actually took a stand for something.
In what ways can people be more socially responsible for the health of our music industry community?
By being involved and being an active part of the discussion of solving our
problems as community. It’s easy to stand by and make bets on which ship is going to sink first, or complain about what industry trend or new technology is disturbing our business. I think that is a defeatist attitude and we have to embrace change as painful as it may be and know that the future is here and we have to work with it and not be afraid. Being a part of the solution is the only way to not be detrimental to the health of our business as a whole. We are all smart and passionate people and should have real opinions and actually stand by those opinions and act on them.
If you could provoke change in any area of the music business, what would it be?
Fair deals for artists and writers on both records and publishing contracts. The business has to catch up to the actual reality that artists are quite smart and in charge of their own destiny. We are merely the conduit to help make things superlative. Otherwise, they can and will do it on their own.
What is art to you?
It is undefinable – but for me personally, it is anything that is both disruptive, but also has a real impact.
*Photograph by Isaac Rosenthal
Shot on location at Space4shoots http://space4shoots.com/blog/