Please tell us your title
My Name is Roy LaManna and I own and operate Trendsetter Media and Marketing, a music video promotion company based just outside New York City.
What made you decide to start your own*company?
I started Trendsetter because I felt the industry was changing faster than ever and I saw a need for a company that could keep up with it. I love being able to wake up in the morning, come up with an idea, and then spend my day making it happen. I’m all about coming up with 100 ideas and then choosing the one that is great. However, to have that great idea you need go through 99 bad ones. I encourage my employees to spend part of their day doing the same. That’s what keeps us relevant.*
In the past 10 years, what trends have you seen with music videos and do you think things have changed for better or worse?
In terms of music videos, I think things have gotten much better. When I first started, MTV was the main player in the game and they basically never accepted videos not shot on film. To shoot on film, you needed 5-10K minimum. Then to hire a music video promotion company, you needed 5-6K to cover expensive duplication and shipping of bulky production quality tapes. After all that, you’d live or die by the decision of MTV. Regional video was around, but it was a far, far second. Those days are behind us and the smaller guys have more of a chance. I think that’s great.
Do you think MTV is still relevant?
I definitely do. MTV is still a very important part of our marketing plans. They’re no longer the only game in town. MTV is one of several parts that need to come into play for a successful campaign. For us, those other parts are retail, on demand, online and the other national networks.
After working with music videos/artists for so long, what would you say one of your best moments has been?*
I have several moments where I could say I was an important part of breaking an artist. The best was probably Fall Out Boy’s “Dead On Arrival” video. Few people cared about that band in the very beginning (as what often happens), but I loved them. Their manager, Bob Mclynn, and I went into MTV and pushed hard for an add and we got it. They signed to Island shortly after and things steadily built up from there. I’m certainly not saying I broke the band, but I was a part of breaking them and that’s always a great feeling.*
What do you think makes a good music video?
A great song is the biggest part of a great video. We’ve all seen plenty of amazing videos with terrible songs and those bands don’t sell records. After you have the song down, get creative with the video. Don’t think you need to hire Jonas Akerlund to direct your video for it to be good. Nobody cares about the name anymore. Find a guy who has a great idea and can then execute it. *
What advice do you have for bands/directors on music videos?
I would suggest a couple things. First, is to not shoot too far outside your budget range. If you have $500, then maybe get a handheld look with a shoulder HD rig. You probably shouldn’t go high fashion in the club. Second, I would suggest not casting girlfriends, wives or friends. They are usually awkward and if you break up two weeks later you’ll fight to have the video shelved.*
What are some things people should be aware of before getting involved in the music industry?
The main thing to be aware of is that you’re only as relevant as your last project. I’ve seen so many people on top of the world one day, only to be out of the industry the next. On the other side, I’ve seen interns turn into superstars. So it’s very important to be nice and courteous to everyone. Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber’s manager) was an intern at MTV when I was promoting some big artists. Now look where he is and half of his old MTV bosses are out of a job. However that could all change again. The guy whose phone call you ignore now could be the one you’re looking to get hired by next.
What are some of the biggest mistakes bands make when they try to promote their video on their own?
They do it too slowly and at the wrong time. When we promote content we look to have all the efforts impact within a short timeframe. We factor in lead times and execute a plan.There’s no one thing that will motivate a person to buy your record. It’s about creating a series of impressions on a fan. We want a prospective fan to turn on his computer and see the video, get in his car and hear the song, go to the mall and see it playing, then turn on his TV only to find it again. I’ve had a lot of clients try and do it on their own only to get sporadic results.
Do you think social networks hurt or help promotion?
When you do it the right way it helps, done wrong it hurts. Many people look at Twitter or Facebook as if it were about getting a high score. Those numbers reflect real people and they should be won over organically. When we help an artist manage their accounts, we emphasize techniques that capture real potential fans. Creating an effective landing page on Facebook with a call to action to hit the “Like” button is helpful. Running a bot is not a good way to gain fans. People are smart and they see through all of that.*
Whats next for Trendsetter?
We’re focusing on creating additional content with brand integration. We’ve been promoting webisodes, behind the scenes videos, and video blogs for a while, but it’s always hard to create this content because of a lack of funding. Brands want access to our audience and are willing to pay for it. Of course the trick is to do it subtly because no one wants to watch a commercial.*
The next thing is that we’ve created a great DIY way of promoting a video. If you don’t have the money to hire a professional team like mine, then this is a great option. You can simply visit our site and follow some menus to submit your video to the outlet you want. This really helps with the problem I mentioned above, which is a slow, poorly timed roll out. With a click of a button you can get your video closed captioned and submitted to MTV, FUSE, Music Choice, and others. All of this for a couple hundred dollars. We’re really excited about that because it hits the ultra indie market, which is growing. We’re helping the one or two guys in an apartment making it happen.*