Name: Adam Lowenberg
Company: Primary Wave
Role Title: Chief Marketing Officer, General Manager of Talent
Headquarters: New York
How did you get started in the music business?
All my life I wanted to be a rock star, be on stage at Madison Square Garden. I had completed a two-year summer internship at Atlantic Records while in college. In 1990, as my band was playing gigs around New York City, I had the opportunity to intern at Chrysalis Records and three months into it, I was offered my first job. At that point I knew that if I wasn’t going to be a performer at least I could help others realize their dreams. I accepted the role of Assistant to the Heads of Marketing and Video production and never looked back. Now, I am looking at my twenty-five year anniversary in the business I love on October 15.
Name three people whom have been critical to your career?
Clive Davis - my three years working with Clive gave me the foundation and the education of becoming a real product manager. Learning from him was truly amazing.
LA Reid - My time with LA at Arista was exceptional. LA recognized the marketing talent in me and helped shape me into a real marketing executive.
Larry Mestel - I would not be where I am now without Larry.
What does the Primary Wave brand stand for?
Our mantra has always been ‘Powered By Partnership’. That is exactly how we look at everything. Our partnerships with our publishing clients, our managed artists and our managers. Our key values come back to loyalty and the importance of family.
What workplace values are important to you?
Communication and respect are incredibly important to me. Our NY office is set up as an open workspace which has its pros and cons. It is imperative that we don’t take the closeness for granted. Just because we sit closely and hear everything does not mean that the communication is optimized. Respect is a lost art in my opinion. Especially in an industry like ours. Listen to everyone’s ideas, thank your team for spending the extra hour on a project, return the email. They may seem like small gestures but they ultimately make a big difference.
How would you describe the culture at Primary Wave Music?
We have a very strong balance currently. A terrific mix of youth and experience. The key and what we strive for when bringing new people into the company, is do they fit into the culture? Can we picture ourselves going out after work for a drink with each other? The fact of the matter is we spend a great deal of time together. We are a family.
How does this impact on the kind of talent the company seeks?
It is one of the first things that potential partners comment on. You feel it when you walk into the office. There is a certain energy that flows through the company. They see how everybody gets along and the music is playing. When you witness it first hand, you want to be part of the team.
What are your talent priorities at the moment?
The priority is always to try and find greatness - whether it’s a brand new artist or an iconic artist. Coming from my time with top record labels, and working with who I have, I am only used to working with great artists - Avril Lavigne, Pink, Rihanna, Sarah McLachlan. Our team is set up so that genre does not matter. It is not like we specialize in EDM only or R&B only. We have shown that we can create amazing opportunities for icons on the Publishing side like Nirvana and Hall & Oates to developing a brand new EDM artist like Audien to continuing to show the world how special CeeLo is.
What kind of team environment do you try and foster?
It is only about team at Primary Wave. It has proven to be the only way for us to be effective as a company. Quite frankly, if you are not willing to be a team player, then Primary Wave is not the right place for you. I encourage ideas and thoughts from everyone - interns to Larry our Founder. A great idea can and usually does come from anyone. On the management side, we have a literal team system whereby each priority artist has a team assigned to them. They have their day to day manager, but also have a dedicated marketing specialist, digital specialist and brand specialist.
Tell me a story from the past twelve months, what can we learn from Primary Wave?
One thing that has stood out so clearly to me is what is happening within our own company. Larry has an insatiable appetite for growth but smart growth. This feeds into my mindset constantly. In February of this year, Primary Wave merged with two TV/Film management companies. This now clearly sets Primary Wave apart from almost every other entertainment company. Think about it, we now have a company that features full service publishing, full service management encompassing music, TV, film, comedy, literature, branding and digital. This was very strategic and forward-thinking. There are so many artists/actors that want and deserve to be serviced in a 360 degree capacity.
If you could provoke change in any area of the music business, what would it be?
Artist Development. I find it so maddening when record labels give up so early on artists that they spent millions of dollars on to sign. They put an enormous amount of time and energy into wooing the artist and then if the first song doesn’t make enough noise they are so quick to just move on to the next.
*Photography by Zackery Michael