[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]
For musicians and industry professionals alike, working in today’s digitally driven music climate often feels isolating, even for those hailing from famous music destinations like New York or Los Angeles. TuneCore supports artists by getting their music on the world’s most influential digital music platforms, but its Entertainment Relations Team is also helping to address this problem by physically connecting the music industry in a time when personal relationships have never been more important.
LunchCore is a TuneCore initiative aimed at bringing local music industry professionals together and building in-person connections in music markets like Nashville, Atlanta, and Austin. New Orleans entertainment relations manager Erin Frankenheimer recently facilitated a music industry connection that may not have been made otherwise if it wasn’t for LunchCore.
Jan V. Ramsey, editor and owner of Offbeat Magazine met Dan Fox, editor and owner of Antigravity Magazine for the first time at a LunchCore event.
“To know that our lunch brought together these two established, very important music publications for the first time was awesome,” says Frankenheimer. “For New Orleans, it’s very rare for music industry professionals to get together in the light of day and not in a nightclub at 2AM yelling over drunk people and loud music. That makes LunchCore something that’s really valuable for the music industry community down here.”
Music is now being consumed digitally over streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music far more than through traditional listening formats, but the music communities where influential music comes from are still physical locations that each feature its own unique history, traditions, local tastemakers, and artists.
“Before I started visiting different music communities, I would’ve thought ‘music is music,’” says Scott Ackerman, TuneCore’s CEO, “but it’s amazing how different they really are.” TuneCore’s Entertainment Relations team lives and works in the music markets they represent, and that physical presence is critical for not only connecting local music industry professionals in a meaningful way, but also for understanding how each community works.
“LunchCore is a great opportunity for me to stay connected to what’s going on in the Atlanta market,” says Joncier Rienecker, an Entertainment Relations Manager based in Georgia.
In addition to learning about what’s happening in Atlanta’s local music industry, Rienecker’s first-hand knowledge often results in opportunities she can later share with the TuneCore artists she works with. But while LunchCore events are only open to industry professionals and not artists, the Artist Consultations TuneCore’s team facilitates are designed to bring local musicians and industry experts together in the same room, face to face.
“These consultations are a big benefit for TuneCore artists because they can directly connect with music industry professionals and ask them questions,” says Rienecker, who calls the consultations “important for pushing an artist’s career forward.”
The Austin-based music industry experts that TuneCore’s Director of Entertainment Relations Amy Lombardi works with describe her efforts to connect the central Texas music hub as organic and integral for unifying Austin’s music scene.
“There is no way I would have forged some of the relationships I now have if it weren’t for LunchCore,” says Ted Lowe who works as a publisher at ChoiceTracks. “LunchCore has drawn hundreds of people from Austin and beyond who work in the music business. The monthly gatherings have been immensely impactful in creating a real sense of community around the music business here.”
Vice President of Fable Records Laura Mordecai agrees. “No strings, no membership dues, no requirement to listen to everyone’s sales pitch. Just lunch and good conversation. LunchCore has brought me together with industry folks I would have possibly never met otherwise. I’ve connected with new concert promoters, established a great relationship with the new Texas BMI rep, found a terrific music publishing administrator and connected with a local music streaming service and got our music on it, not to mention getting to reconnect with long time colleagues every month. Plus, when it came time for our newest artist to get his project distributed he insisted on going with TuneCore. To have a live, face-to-face relationship with the company that aggregates his music and helps keep the local community together and thriving is important to him. It’s important to us.”
“We’re called the live music capital of the world,” says Lombardi, who as a music industry veteran herself has managed acts like Neko Case and Cass McCombs, “but in the past, Austin hasn’t had the most integrated local music industry. A lot of folks in music work here locally, but from home or in a one-person office. I thought getting everyone together once a month for lunch was a good way to start connecting.” According to Lombardi, the purpose of her music industry outreach efforts isn’t to sell TuneCore, but is instead focused on helping Austin’s local music industry thrive by building personal connections.
“For years, TuneCore has helped artists share and monetize their music,” says CEO Scott Ackerman, “but something that sets us apart is how we help music industry communities bond together. We bring industry experts together to talk about issues in their local music markets.”
Ackerman says that when he visits the music communities TuneCore’s Entertainment Relations Team represents, industry experts often tell him if it wasn’t for their initiatives, their music communities wouldn’t be working together. “I’m incredibly proud of what the amazing job the Artists Relations Team is doing. What they do often goes unnoticed, but their work is helping to build an industry infrastructure that ultimately supports artists, and that’s our mission.”