There is a lot of music out there. More specifically, there is a lot of great music out there and people are constantly searching for more ways to experience it. At the same time, artists are always looking to grow their audience, provide for the fans they already have, and make some money while doing it. Seeing opportunity here, brands have moved in to provide meaningful experiences through music to appeal to consumers. However, when walking the fine line between commercial and art to bring the “consumer” out of the “fan,” a certain finesse is required to get the formula just right.

MAC Presents is a New-York based music sponsorship and activation agency that fosters worthwhile relationships between artists and brands where the ultimate winners are the fans. MAC engages audiences through their careful, comprehensive activation approach that combines partnerships with events, branded content and social media. Their client list includes companies such as Citi, Samsung, Microsoft and AT&T, and with musical partners like Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters and Katy Perry, their method is somewhat of a magic formula.

One of the magicians at MAC Presents is Andrew Hampp, the company’s VP, Brand Strategist. Andrew has been with MAC Presents for a year now. During the four years prior he acted as senior correspondent for Billboard where he led coverage of music business, advertising and tech and interviewed notable personalities including Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, P!nk and Mariah Carey for cover stories.

Digital Media Wire has had the pleasure of working with Andrew and we recently sat down for an interview with him. Andrew filled us in on why he got into the music industry, his time as a journalist, the problems MAC Presents solves, and how brands fit into the music industry. Read the full interview below.

Photo provided by MAC Presents
Photo provided by MAC Presents

1. Describe the moment when you realized that you wanted to work in the music industry.

The first time I read Billboard magazine, at age 11, I realized I wanted to get involved in the art and science of pop music — to learn about all the different variables that go into making a “hit.”

2. What caused you to leave journalism for a career in the agency world?

For one thing, it’s been decades since traditional journalism has seen the double-digit growth currently enjoyed by music sponsorship. Music is about to enter a unique inflection point where it becomes a viable, measurable alternative to sports, and I saw a unique opportunity to have a more frontline role in that shift with the amazing team at MAC Presents.

Photo provided by MAC Presents
Photo provided by MAC Presents

3. What is your philosophy on the role of brands in the music business?

Brands function best in music when they can create “hero” moments for artists and properties. At MAC, we’ve found that our most successful partnerships have been rooted in artist-driven ideas that brands were able to bring to life, whether it was Foo Fighters playing their fans’ garages for BlackBerry, Imagine Dragons performing for their fans on a plane with Southwest Airlines, or Billy Joel’s three-year (and counting!) residency at Madison Square Garden with Citibank. Too often, brands try to force-fit talent into programs or campaigns where the brand’s goals come first, which consumers will immediately dismiss.

4. What problems does MAC Presents solve for its clients?

Culture changes faster than the time it takes to produce most traditional advertising, so we work with clients in real-time to make sure that their programs are industry-leading in terms of their reach, relevance and data-driven insights. Many of our biggest programs have been the result of 30-day (or less!) turnover — a testament to the power of a nimble, collaborative team.

5. How do like to listen music?

Don’t tell anyone, but I still have a – gasp! – iPod.

Andrew Hampp will be speaking at Digital Media Wire’s New York Media Festival in NYC on September 26-29. Purchase tickets here.

-Edward Heinrich