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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Bruce Warren

Ben is his own best friend, a talented artist and nice guy who we spent some quality time with when he visited us here at XPN and Yrock. The day he came by was one of those days when I wasn't mired in meetings so I actually had a chance to hang with him. We hung out, smoked a cigarette, had some coffee. We talked about cool bands from Brooklyn. Ben, thanks for doing that.

Fred's comments really speak to the art of customer service which is, I guess, something you're excused from if you become a big rock star or if you cop the attitude as an up-and-comer that you deserve to be treated as a "rock star" just cause you signed some fucking record deal. Which is a shame.

But IMO, this attitude is reinforced by the fact that in general, music industry label folks and even managers (present company excluded) are unwilling or fearful to tell their artists to connect directly with their fans or the folks (like myself) who play their records. This is the cult of the personality that distances artists from their potential customers and is a barrier to solidifying even greater relationships with the fans who love them the most. This applies to so many things in real life though, doesn't it? Who would expect a PD to call back a pissed off listener? Why should radio stations answer their myspace mail? Who doesn't have the time to touch their listeners/their customers/the people who love you the most? But you know, a label person who can't manage their talent is no different than a PD who can't give constructive feedback to their overpaid Morning Show host. Or an Ops person who doesn't have the skills to tell their production manager to re-cut a promo so it will sound better on the air. It's all about the people skills.

Here at XPN we have 300, 400 experiences a year with artists, rock and other wise. By and large they're all very positive. Each week we have a free concert and almost always the artist will come out after and sign autographs and talk to their fans. Patty Griffin did this a couple weeks ago for over an hour. I see it time and time again. The other night we were taping something with Snow Patrol and when the stressed out tour manager kept trying to get Gary to wrap up what we were doing, Gary basically said - we're here to do something and we want to get it right and they wound up giving us the time we needed.

Many years ago my good friend Mike Martinovich - who now manages My Morning Jacket and some other folks - was a local promo rep for Epic in Philly. He came by with the Spin Doctors to do the World Cafe and the band were complete jerks to our staff that day. I remember Mike saying something to me that day that has stuck with me for many years which was "Artists can be their own best friends. Or not." It was such a "duh" moment but I had never really thought about it in those terms. And I see that play out all the time.

Bottom line in life or the music biz is don't be an asshole. And to quote Justin Timberlake - who is fresh on my mind cause I saw him perform a mind blowing concert here in Philly last night, "what goes around comes around." But you know, after the show my 8 year old asked me if Justin was going to be signing autographs at the Q102 booth and I said no. The look of disappointment on his face told me he had just wasted the 50 bucks of his own money he spent on a t-shirt.


Travel Man

Ben's a great guy, I had the chance to meet him in Seattle a while back.

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