We loved talking to long-time LabelRadar user and Frequency Music visionary Rutger Beijer! It has been inspiring to see the amazing growth Rutger and his team have achieved with their label in a short space of time. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Rutger's journey, insights, and experiences as Label Manager. Let's dive in and hear how he is navigating the challenges of his role.
Interview with Rutger Beijer:
Question: What initially drew you to the music industry and working at a record label?
Rutger: Music has always been a passion of mine from an early age. I recall starting to play the djembe around the age of 8, which eventually led me to explore other instruments, specifically drums and percussion. This journey eventually took me into music production, where I began using FL Studio with my friends. From then on, I knew I wanted to make music my full-time profession. However, I never envisioned myself as an artist.
At about the age of 15, a friend of mine started studying at the Herman Brood Academie here in the Netherlands. Intrigued, I did some research about it and found myself longing to join. I was fortunate enough to study there for the course 'Music Industry Professional'. The experience gave me the opportunity to further realize my love for working on music, strategizing innovative marketing ideas, and collaborating with creative individuals.
Question: What's your ultimate guilty pleasure song?
Rutger: I'm a bit of a closet fan of 'It Don’t Mean a Thing' by Tony Bennett. Actually, it's not even just this song, I've got a secret soft spot for the genre Big Band Music. This tune just happens to be near the top of my favorites, but honestly, I just love jamming and listening to the whole genre.
Question: How do you handle the pressure and demands of the music industry while maintaining your own well-being?
Rutger: I am someone who highly values foresight and organization in both my professional and personal life. I consistently schedule out my activities, whether they're for the day, the week, or the entire month. I believe staying focused and engaged in my job is crucial, but I also recognize the importance of setting aside personal time within my schedule. This strategic approach allows me to balance my work and personal life, which I have found to be very good for my overall productivity and well-being.
Question: Can you share a mentor or role model who has had a significant influence on your career?
Rutger: André de Raaff, one of the CEO's of CTM, is a figure I greatly respect. This company was my platform for entering the music industry, first as an intern, then in a more professional capacity. Throughout my interactions, I've found André to demonstrate an exceptional ability to understand situations quickly and think of innovative strategies. His devotion to his company is remarkable and inspiring.
Question: How important is an artist's image and branding in today's music industry?
Rutger: Very very very important! In our current digital age, it's almost a must for artists to be influencers. While great music is essential, it's often not enough to gain visibility (though there are always exceptions). The role of branding and image cannot be overstated. It's about achieving recognition, not only through your music or voice but also via visuals like photos, videos, and so forth. These elements help to establish and reinforce your distinctive brand.
Question: How do you handle the delicate process of giving creative feedback to artists?
Rutger: I always remember that an artist has poured loads of time and energy into their songs. So, when I'm giving feedback, I'm careful with my words. If something needs tweaking or improving, I point it out, but I also make sure to call out the good parts, the bits that really shine. Sure, not everyone likes hearing critique, but if it helps the artist step up their game, then I'm more than happy to help out.
Question: What are the qualities you look for in an artist's demo or EP before considering signing them?
Rutger: In our evaluation process, we typically focus on certain key aspects, primarily dividing our attention between music, which accounts for 70%, and branding, which constitutes the remaining 30%. We also value artists who have a clear sense of direction and a well-thought-out strategy, as these traits earn them bonus points in our eyes. When an artist has a solid grasp of their goals, we're eager to partner with them and provide our support in achieving their aspirations. On the music front, elements such as sound design, structure, vocals, and mixing are particularly under our radar.
Question: What do you think is the biggest misconception artists have about the role of record labels today?
Rutger: In today's music industry, many artists have taken to releasing their own music independently, a move I wholly support. However, it's important to acknowledge the extensive work involved in releasing music all by oneself. This is where the value of record labels comes into play. At Frequency, we strive to pinpoint areas where we can provide optimal support to artists, be it enhancing their social media presence or coordinating a photoshoot. Navigating these aspects can often be challenging, and having a record label means having a dedicated team at your disposal to help manage such tasks.
Question: Which artists have you signed from LabelRadar?
Rutger: I believe we have signed over 30 artist right now, with the biggest one being 'Omri'.
Question: How does LabelRadar help the music discovery process for you?
Rutger: I can only describe it as the perfect system haha. It enables us to sift through a lot of demos very efficiently. Thanks to this approach, we ensure that all the demos we receive from artists are listened to.
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