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Do You Have What It Takes To Run A Label?

Do You Have What It Takes To Run A Label?Every label needs a General Manager and when Atlantic relaunched the legendary dance label Big Beat, they brought on Liz Miller to help make sure their roster had the right goals in mind. In that spirit Miller helps oversee everything from marketing to A&R to budgets and makes sure that they all match the cohesive plan that the label has for its varied roster of artists. Miller may not have a traditional education in the music-industry but she is a strong believer that if you love something and work hard at it then you can make a living at it, too.

How did you end up at Atlantic Records?
In college in Colorado I was majoring in Sociology, but I was working part-time in a record shop selling dance music vinyl, and I was going to raves every weekend for fun. Eventually I figured out that I could get in for free if I flyered cars for the promoter for the month leading up to the show and I became very close with the people organizing the events, so when I graduated college I was offered a full-time job doing that. But now on top of managing a team to flyer the cars for me, I would handle the ticket distribution, contract processing and hospitality and payroll for these huge electronic music events.

Then in 2003 some of my friends from this scene launched something called Beatport, which is now the world’s largest retailer for dance music. I helped develop the label management and account management systems for this new type of music business, which is somewhere between distribution and retail. Then last year I got a call from Atlantic asking me if I’d like to come to New York to head up the re-launch of Big Beat. It’s a huge honor and an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

What are your job duties as General Manager of Big Beat?
I’m involved everything from overseeing marketing to budgets to A&R and the overall release plan and facilitating communication between all departments; it’s kind of a do-it-all position overseeing everything and being the center point of the planning. It’s also about keeping the vision of the label present at all times, so when the A&R department are coming up with what they think is the next single we discuss it to make sure it’s the best thing for the label as a whole. I also manage third-party contacts with radio promotion and publicity and keep everyone on the same plan and moving in the same direction.

What artists do you work with?
We’re still quite new, only officially re-launching January 1st of this year, so we currently have just four roster artists for the label that we intend to grow. We’ve got Chromeo who are already a well-established group in the electronic music scene: Their latest album ‘Business Casual’ came out on Big Beat the week that I started and we’ve had two follow-up singles since then.

Then we’ve got Wynter Gordon, who is more of this pop dance diva. In the past she’s done R&B she’s done soul, she’s done a single with Flo Rida—and as a writer she’s written for Mary J Blige and Jennifer Lopez. Now she’s doing her own thing and has a single, “Dirty Talk” that’s hit number one on the dance and overall charts all over the world.

Another artist we have is Skrillex, who is blowing up right now. He makes dubstep and rock-infused electronic music and we’re proud to say that he is an Extended Rights artist with us, which means that in addition to selling his music we’re also working on his touring and creative budget so he has a live show that will compliment his songs.

The fourth artist is Teddybears, which is more of a traditional band set-up, but still with an electronic flavor to their sound. They have a new album coming out this year with collaborations with Cee Lo, The Flaming Lips and Robyn. They have had a lot of their music used in movie trailers and TV commercials, too.

What skills are important for your job?
For me personally, managing people. Hopefully you’ll get some experience with that early on, even if you’re a manager at a fast food restaurant, which I was. Whatever kind of early experience you can get in figuring out if you can manage people well is great because with this job that’s most of what you do. You also need to be good at communication – on the phone, written communication, and of course in meetings. It’s all about communication to make sure everyone is on the same page and pushing in the same direction.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to be the General Manager of a label?
Like I said I never aimed for this goal so I can’t speak against going to school for music management, I just don’t have that experience. But I will say that if you love something and make it your priority and that’s what you do every day, these things come naturally… that’s what I l believe anyway.

Learn more about Big Beat Records at WeAreBigBeat.com and check out some music from their artists below.

Chromeo 'Hot Mess'


Wynter Gordon 'Dirty Talk'


Skrillex 'Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites'

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@myvirtualvision

Well my story sounds exactly like the woman in the articles. I just started my own United Worldwide DJ Association ...

Posted Feb 20, 2011

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