Spotlight on Jesse Kirshbaum of SoundCtrl & NUE Agency
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
A longtime member of our Global Advisory Board, Jesse Kirshbaum made quite a presence this Social Media Week in New York by hosting a day of events on music. Pulling in names like Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers and hosting sessions like Reflecting on the 54th GRAMMY Awards, Jesse and NUE Agency ensured that SMWNYC had a strong presence for those in the entertainment and music industries. We think it’s time you got to know him a little more and why he lives his life by “Add Value. ADD Value. ADD VALUE!”- meet Jesse Kirshbaum.
Jesse, can you tell us a little bit about how and why you decided to get involved with Social Media Week?
Four years ago my good friend Toby Daniels and I were involved in some fun projects called Twestival and The Shortys. Both were going on over the course of the same week and Toby turned to me and said, “I’m going to call it Social Media Week.” Being horrified that it was only 3 weeks out, I thought how is he going to pull this off?!
He enlisted my help and I’ve been a big supporter in every way ever since.
I’m impressed and excited by the way Toby and the amazing team has continued to be able to scale up this week of events.
We formed the idea for SoundCtrl at the closing party of year one. Four years later our platforms continue to excel!
You head up NUE Agency, an international boutique talent agency in NYC with some high-profile artists, like Wale and Asher Roth. Tell us a little about how NUE Agency got its start?
I had worked at other boutique agencies over the course of my career and had some early success working with and developing a handful of exciting acts. I left the talent agency world in my mid-twenties and moved out to Los Angeles to work at a video game start-up as director of Entertainment Marketing and expand my rolodex. 4.5 years ago, I moved back to New York and launched New Universal Entertainment Agency, better known as NUE Agency. And then soon after that, with the help of some friends, founded SoundCtrl.
How has digital and social media changed the music industry and what trends do you see emerging as a result?
The digital revolution completely decimated the record business’s dynasty of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. It’s less about selling records now and more about artist partnerships and creating multiple ancillary income streams around the artists’ brand and music. The damage to the music industry has been done and now there is a new wave starting to take shape with Music:Tech startups and social distribution channels leading to new models and helping to launch the next generation of musical superstars.
How does NUE Agency incorporate this into your work and what results are you seeing from it?
This requires a very long answer that I don’t want to bore everyone with. But the bottom line is we are using every digital tool available to us to help build out our platform and clients’ brands. And we are always looking to find new ways to incorporate them.
As a marker of your digital innovation, NUE Agency has done a great job of creating playlists and digital mixtures for your supporters. What has been the response to this and what return on investment have you seen from it?
We try to style NUE Agency as more than just a typical talent house. What separates this agency from so many of the majors is that we are more of a lifestyle shop. We go above and beyond the typical talent / booking agency. Not only are we skilled and talented agents, we are curators, producers and entrepreneurs. When someone works with some of the bigger agencies, you only get access to the artists on their roster… NUE Agency has been designed to be able to work with all of the major firms in the world and have the flexibility and creativity of an independent. We make the mixes not only to share with friends and clients music, which is something we are very passionate about, but to help infuse our tastes and flavor into their thinking. So when you book and style your events, you come to think of us as tastemakers and lean on our expertise to help style the musical components of your events.
What advice would you give to young artists and to entrepreneurs?
It’s all about making a statement. If you are an artist or creating a company, I hope that you believe with conviction that your message is necessary and the world needs to hear it.
This year’s theme for Social Media Week is Empowering Change Through Collaboration. How are you seeing this played out in your personal life and locally and globally?
I love the theme you guys came up with. At this point in the shift in paradigm of the music industry, it’s all about collaboration. I do hundreds of deals a month whether its booking a great band, or curating an amazing SoundCtrl event. I look at every one as a collaboration. My favorite collaborations are the ones where the partnership leads to a bigger situation. A one plus one equals four type scenario.
What did you most look forward to in regard to Social Media Week?
I’m really excited we pulled off a full day of programing in New York on Thursday. Last year we did a few panels as part of the Entertainment, Gaming and Music Hub at the Red Bull Space. This year, we are building the early stages of a fully dedicated Music Hub. I think by this time next year we will have a full week of music-related programming. And that’s a testament to the growth in the cross section of social media and the music industry.
What one other thing do you want the Social Media Week community to know about you?
I’m young. Pretty. In the best shape of my life. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. Come be a part of this adventure. Let’s connect. Let’s collaborate. Let’s create. And collectively – let’s help change the world! 5 C’s! If you can’t find me, you’re not looking. @JesseKay
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