My guests today are Livia Tortella and Brian Popowitz of Blackbox, a marketing agency that has worked with artists like JP Saxe, Christina Perri, Jesse McCartney, and many others. Before Livia started this marketing agency, she was the co-president and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Warner Brothers Records. Before that, she was the SVP of Marketing at Atlantic Records. And before Atlantic Records she worked at Island/Def Jam. And before Island/Def Jam, she was at PolyGram. She’s been in the major label system for many years, but just under a decade ago she broke out and started Blackbox.
Blackbox is a marketing agency that has worked with Andra Day, JP Saxe, Best Coast, Christina Perri, Dirty Honey, Jesse McCartney. They even worked on Kid Rock’s faux Senate run. With JP Saxe specifically, they worked with him before his record and publishing deal and when he was completely independent. They helped take one of his first songs, “The Few Things,” to over 20 million streams. They also helped Andra Day to acquire more than 250,000 social media fans.
Brian and Livia break down their process, what they do, and how they help an artist tell their story effectively. They also give some really great strategies on how to tell that story.
5:08 – What is Blackbox?
10:38 – What is a narrative? Why is it important?
12:15 – Does Blackbox function as a manager for artists?
15:40 – How Blackbox developed JP Saxe and helped him tell his story
21:22 – What does the onboarding process look like? How does an artist tell their story?
35:36 – How do you get an artist to communicate their story visually?
39:38 – When does paid media advertising come into play in a marketing strategy?
43:38 – Where are we at with paid media? What platforms is Blackbox using for its clients?
46:40 – What is influencer marketing? How is it working in the space today?
48:05 – How’s TikTok marketing functioning right now? Is it effective?
51:15 – Ari’s Take Academy student questions
1:05:11 – How Brian and Livia define making it in the new music business