In this interview Randall Foster, vice president of Business Development & GM of Symphonic Distro, explains some of the services his company provides, he also reveals the challenges and advantages of operating and launching their new offices in Music city please share. Photo: Susan Berry
Peace Randall where you from?
Lawrence, KS originally. I came to Nashville via Miami, Florida.
Your role at Symphonic Distribution Nashville?
Vice President, Business Development and GM, Nashville…
How big is your staff in Music City?
50 plus including numerous consultants in strategic locations World-wide.
What are some services Symphonic offer that set you apart from other competitors?
Our biggest market-differentiators lie in our enhanced marketing services. We are a full-service distributor and are equipped to assist artists in every facet a traditional label would.
We offer a full suite of services outside of traditional digital distribution including marketing plans, go-to-market strategies, social media diagnostics, priority playlist pitching, video distribution, Youtube monetization and optimization music publishing and sync licensing for film and TV.
Anything significant happen this past month that was a challenge for you at the office?? Explain??
The past month has been a whirlwind! A great whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. We launched the office with a large-scale sponsorship of the Music Biz conference including hosting the official awards after party.
That took a great deal of energy, but we made a big splash and the response from the music community has been excellent. Additionally, this first month has been spent shoring up our music publishing company which I am also heading up.
How many locations does Symphonic have??
We are headquartered in Tampa, Florida and have additional offices in Brooklyn, Nashville, Denver and Bogota, Colombia. Additionally we have strategic consultants in many other cities around the globe.
Amazon Prime members can save up to two dollars a month switching from Spotify to Amazon music. Spotify and Apple are the two giants in streaming, your thoughts on Amazon moving into that space?
I am not certain that this is a game changer. An interesting insight on the music streaming “big three” is that Apple and Amazon both don’t NEED music.
Music for them is a loss-leader of sorts. It’s content to use on iphones, and an offering to sell amongst the thousands of other goods Amazon wants to sell you. Spotify is the only one of those three that is solely in this game for the music only.
It will be interesting to see what the other behemoths do to combat Spotify’s market hold. They can afford to outspend Spotify ultimately, so this space should be fascinating to watch over the coming years.
Since The Music Modernization Act passed, what other hurdles do you forsee in the future for songwriter royalties, publishers and streaming services?
The laws in America have always been a day late and a dollar short with regards to royalties. They are reactionary and have thus set us on a path where creators are consistently the victim of outdated policies on payment, etc. Hopefully this passage will usher in a new era for creatives to be better compensated.
The biggest hurdles I see are the appeals process on the new rates that is going to bog the progress down to a crawl. This and the actual application of the law are the biggest stumbling blocks. The massive positive I see is for the first time I can remember, this music business was united. On one front. For the most part everyone I know was pushing in the same direction and it was incredible to be a part of that movement.
Any books, podcasts, mentors or videos that keep you on point???
Way too many to mention. For books, I am a big fan of “The 48 Laws of Power” , and “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived”. I am all over the place on podcasts- but one I havre really enjoyed is called “Cocaine and Rhinestones”. It is an incredible look at the origins of the Nashville music industry, music row, and a bunch of crazy true stories starting in the early 20th century and ending in the 1990’s.
For anyone hoping to do business in Nashville- it’s an eye-opening look. I have many mentors that keep me moving in the right direction, but one man I really admire whom I have never met is Shep Gordon. If you have a chance check out his book “The Call Me Supermensch” and the subsequent documentary, “Supermensch”. This man has accomplished amazing things in this business.
What app(s) that you just can’t live without?
Shazam. I Shazam everything. Especially when watching TV. It’s a great way to unlock what is being used in synch licensing.
Any favorite rapper(s), groups or hip hop related activities?
Oh man… I am so NOT hip hop- but I am a burgeoning sneakerhead. I’d have to say Nike for the kicks alone… I am a big Nike SB fan. On the subject of hiphop I’d say my favorite group of all time has got to be Tribe Called Quest…
Favorite food spot in Nashville?
The Smiling Elephant killer Thai food.
Last words or shout outs??
Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit about me and Symphonic. We do great work and I am proud to share the insights above.
Randal Foster – Linkedin
Symphonic Distro – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify
The Music Industry 360 Podcast – Website
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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Randall Foster