Mara Frankel

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Mara Frankel

S1, Ep. 3


If one word could sum up Mara Frankel’s place in the music world, it might be connection. After all, as Senior Creative Director of Brand Partnerships at Atlantic Records, she talks with these brands about “how they’re working in music” and how to partner Atlantic artists on “marketing opportunities.” Frankel brings you into this world, along with detailing her origins in the music business, and explaining the important difference between what she calls a “sponsor” and a “mentor.”

This is the story of Mara Frankel.

Episode Transcript

Mara Frankel: And people I think forget or think that the label is being the bad guy, or the person trying to say “no.” When really we’re actually trying to just work on behalf of the artists so that the artist is getting what’s fair and what’s due.

Intro: Hello and welcome to Landed, the story of the music business told by the people behind the scenes. On each episode, we’ll welcome in someone from the music industry, discovering how they started out, how they got the skills to work with the biggest artists in the world, and what advice they have for up and comers. Each conversation will show how they’re navigating the ever evolving landscape of music today.

Landed Intro: On this episode, music producer and author Jesse Cannon will be speaking with Mara Frankel, Senior Creative Director of Brand Partnerships for Atlantic Records.

Mara Frankel: Hi my name is Mara Frankel. I am Senior Creative Director of Brand Partnerships for Atlantic Records.

Jesse Cannon: So what does that actually mean?

Mara Frankel: The like big boiler plate version of brand partnerships is basically my team, which is like seven of us, we talk all day to brands, ad agencies, marketing companies, PR firms. You name it. Kind of anyone that is working on behalf of a brand and spending in music. What we do is we kind of represent the entire Atlantic Records roster. Everyone, ranging from the very top — Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars — to the developing artists — Arizona, Bazzi, Wallows.

We talk to the brands, we see how they’re working in music, and we look to partner our artists on marketing opportunities. So, it’s everything ranging from ambassador programs, name and likeness use, video product placement, private events, anything basically at all that is music and brands, we help to partner. So, it’s the stuff that they’re doing and they’re spending against their own music program, their own sponsorship initiatives, and then also the stuff that we’re doing. So, the stuff we’re looking to get funded for our artists, talking to brands that way. So kind of everyday that.

I do both brand partnerships themselves. I do brand deals for the Atlantic artists, talking to brands specifically. And then also I make all the creative materials for the department, whether it’s our roster review book that’s right in front of me. We just recently made a deck of poker cards. So, kind of anything creative in that space. So that’s where my dual creative director role comes from.

Jesse Cannon: Why don’t we talk about, why would you make cards or this book? What does that do for an artist?

Mara Frankel: We’re always kind of looking for new ways to show our artists because we’re talking to brand people. It ranges from people like editorial partners at Billboard, who totally know what’s up and totally know what is going on in the music industry, and then we’re talking to brand people who genuinely have no idea what’s cool. We’re explaining the very basis of what it means to work with artists. Starting from level one, you’re starting with people who literally have no working knowledge of either pop culture or the music industry. And so, you’re looking for some way creatively to just connect with them.

For us, the poker cards was like, we spend our whole year sending people what we call decks, which are basically artist one-sheets and materials like that. We spend our whole year sending brands decks, so we figured this time for once, let’s make it fun and send you a literal deck of cards. The cards literally have facts on the back and stats. So, it’s something that if they leave it on their desk, if a brand person looks at it one more time outside of the moment I gave it to them, we’ve done our job in making materials that help them put artists on their radar that they may not have thought of. So it’s not always Bruno Mars, it’s not always Ed Sheeran. Especially in brand partnerships where developing artists is the game. That’s where all of the best work happens because they’re the artists that want to do brand deals, etc, etc. It’s just a nice way to put those artists that aren’t necessarily the most famous yet, on the radar, and then they can go, “I know them.” So that when they have a campaign coming up, they’re like, “I can book that artist that I looked at was the three of spades.”

Jesse Cannon: Let’s backtrack a little bit. What made you want to get into the music business?

Mara Frankel: Well, I used to want to be in theater. I was a big theater kid growing up. I did shows in high school and all of that. Then in 10th grade, I got into rock music. I totally flipped. I want to say like Fall Out Boy was probably one of my first big moments of a flip. I went to the Backstreet Boys concert in the 5th grade, but that doesn’t really count, although it does count for my love of boy bands, so that still exists.

But I’d always loved music, but I really liked show tunes. But I got into rock music, got into the whole Warped Tour, scene world, all of those bands, all of that going to concerts. And all of a sudden, I was like, “OK, well maybe I’ll do theater and communication so I can do something in that world.” I remember specifically one day, like right when I started looking at colleges, I had always wanted to go to NYU, and my mom was like, “You know NYU has a music business program.” And all of a sudden I was like, “What? You can go to school to work in the music industry?”

So I started applying. I was still doing PR and communications and theater at places, but all of a sudden kind of started looking at the music industry. Just because I had gotten into music and it kind of took me a second to be like, “You can work in that world.” So, I had no idea what I wanted to actually do in the music industry, but I knew I liked music and it seemed close enough to a goal of a communications thing where…with a music business degree, I figured like, “If anything else, I can go not do music.” But I kind of wanted to do it. And then the seed was planted that I could actually pursue it as a career option. So, then my whole worldview changed and decided that’s when I was like, “I want to do music business.”

Then from there, I literally…everything else has just been kind of like a trip, fall, stumble into how I ended up doing it. I started doing indie PR and I kind of fell into that, and was like, “I like that.” Then I ended up here at Atlantic, started doing marketing and brand partnerships, and realized that brand partnerships was basically publicity with money. And was like, “I like that.” So, leaned on that experience to be like, “I like the pitch. I knew what I liked.”

So I kind of just…I knew I wanted to be in music, and then from there, everything else was just a little bit of a stepping stone to be like, “I can do this? OK, cool.” So, I basically fell into every piece of my career so far by being like, “I didn’t know that was a thing you could do,” and then doing that thing.

Jesse Cannon: Why don’t we get a little bit more micro into that of what you were doing before you got to Atlantic that qualified you to get a job here?

Mara Frankel: Basically, I just started, I knew… I had just made this shift to being a music industry person. I was by theater. I figured I could still audition. By the way, I did not abandon my theater dreams. I actually do theater now still. Did not abandon the dream on that front. So to anyone listening, you can still chase that dream too. But basically, I had just started in the music industry or just started as a music business student, which is not being in the music industry. But the thing they always teach you is like, “Go out, go to shows.”

One month into my freshman year of college, I was out at a My Chemical Romance concert because they had just released the album. Someone had gotten tickets in our class and we all went and decided to go. I distinctly remember this. I was on the phone, outside Webster Hall with my mom, being like, “Oh my god, I’m here, I’m at this concert, blah blah blah.” And Rob, this guy that would become my mentor, walked in and he had been in a band that I enjoyed called Midtown. I literally was on the phone with my mom and I went: “Oh my God, mom. Rob from Midtown is here. Everyone’s at this show. I’m in New York.” I’d been to shows in New York because I grew up in the suburbs, but I had not been like out. I felt like out and about with industry types.

I remember after the show, we went to a Taco Bell. Rob was there and I ended up talking to him because one of my friends was bold and didn’t care, was less nervous than we were about it. I had known him from a band. But he basically was like, “I run an indie label.” And me, one month into my music industry program where all they tell you is go out and network, go out and get internships, go out and do stuff, I was like: “Literally, I will do anything to come intern for you. Tell me what it is I can do. I’ll do anything. Let me just come work for you so I can get in the music industry.”

So, I literally started interning at a like three-person record label called I Surrender Records. It was out of his apartment in Williamsburg, which my parents loved. It was like October of my freshman year of college. I called my parents and said I was going to be working for some guy out of his apartment. They loved that, loved that piece of it. But yeah, I basically started interning with someone who was just willing to have someone hover around. That’s literally what I did. I hovered around; I did a lot of silly projects. I wrote a lot of mailing list copy and MySpace was still a big social media tool at the time. So, it was really just at the start of social media as a thing.

He basically was like: “You’re really good at this. Do you want to write more stuff? Do you want to write a bio for a band we just signed?” And I was like, “OK.” So I about a bio. Then he was like, “That’s cool, do you want to do publicity?” And me again, 18, was like, “Sounds cool, great, chase the dream, why not?” So, I basically got a bunch of email addresses and a couple “how to” starter emails I could copy, and I started sending out emails and doing publicity for indie bands.

So, I’d done a couple pop-punk bands. One, Four Year Strong, actually made it. They made it pretty big. They’ve done really well. Through that, just did it all through college, kind of working and still interning at other places. So, interning but having a backup almost job internship all through college. Again, he helped me get an internship at Atlantic my senior year. So, I interned in the publicity department at Atlantic my last semester of college. It’s always good to have it on the resume, especially if you’re looking to work somewhere.

So I’ve done publicity, I’ve done indie PR all through college, and then interned here. Then was a babysitter for six months as I looked for work. I graduated a semester early and used that time to just try and find jobs. So I was a nanny. So I didn’t want to move back home, so I was a nanny so I could stay in Brooklyn.

Basically, craziness of the music industry is one night Rob, my mentor, was out with someone from Atlantic and they were like: “I’m super bummed out. We just fired our assistant.” And I got an email at like 11 o’clock at night that was like, “Send me your resume right now.” So I sent an email. Within like a week, I had walked through the door. I met with two different people that were going to become my bosses. The rest was history.

I started as a marketing assistant. I was doing marketing and brand partnerships. Did a lot of assistant stuff for a very long time and didn’t get to make a choice. And then eventually, they let me choose which route I wanted to go. Basically, I got the option to assist someone else. And they were like: “You can keep assisting one marketing person and one brand partnerships person. You can go all marketing or you can go all brand partnerships.”

I like marketing. I love the creative part of marketing, but I didn’t really like calendars and timelines. It’s not my thing. Again, it’s publicity with money to do brand partnerships. So that was always a fun…it kind of tapped into everything I’d already done in my life and also things I wanted to be doing aspirationally. I made the flip to all brand partnerships and then was an assistant for quite a few more years, all in brand partnerships. And then now have made my way out and I’m now here in the world. That’s my whole origin story.

Jesse Cannon: That’s a very good story. Was there something along the way, a skill philosophy or anything you learned before you got here that really helped out?

Mara Frankel: The lesson I’ve always learned is network, network, network. I learned in school, you should always be going out, which I don’t think school should be telling you to go out to concerts. They’re like, “Don’t drink, but go out and meet people.” But that was always a lesson I learned and I obviously did it through my internships.

But even now, doing brand partnerships, meeting people and going out and networking, it’s literally how the job gets done. I was just out last week at an event. We hosted our own brand event and we had some clients out. Someone had actually said to me, they’re like, “We can ask YOU for artist suggestions when we’re thinking of the campaign?” And I’m like, “Yes, that’s literally my job.” So sometimes it actually takes that face to face. I need to hang out with you so that you can see that we’re awesome and we need to talk more often. So, the in-person networking angle was always a thing of going out and meeting.

But now in my job, even I see that everything gets done by talking to people. Every part of the job is done. Even if you’re not just in brand partnerships. Not just my world, not even just pitch focus things. The way tours get booked, the way you match up things, the way you find merch designers, it’s all just talking to people, going out and connecting. Definitely that was the one thing that I’ve always heard that really stuck. That’s a real skill set. You have to be able to go out and meet people. Just talk, introduce yourself, have a conversation, and then be able to follow up with that and actually make the connection.

Jesse Cannon: What do you think you actually do that people don’t understand?

Mara Frankel: The best thing about the poker cards is that my mom took those and she literally was like, “Now whenever anyone asks what you do, I’ll give out the cards.” This is what she does. This isn’t quite the answer. But I think the thing that people don’t realize that we actually do is…we the brand partnerships team and any brand partnerships person is always working on behalf of the artist. I think something that gets really mixed up sometimes is people think we come into the conversation and either our hand is out looking for a check. A lot of people work strictly in promotional opportunities. There’s a lot of stuff out there that no money changes hands, it’s just marketing dollars. We totally see the value of that, but I think sometimes people forget that we’ve also all been doing this a very long time and understand the value of the artist.

So, when we’re coming into a conversation, particularly it’s always between an artist team and a brand and us, the label. And people I think forget or think that the label is being the bad guy or the person trying to say “no.” When really, we’re actually trying to just work on behalf of the artists so that the artist is getting what’s fair and what’s due based on the experience we have.

It’s interesting because especially now, there’s so many new artists with new teams, there are new brand people. It’s just interesting to see who are the players in the game and who are the quote, unquote, “experts” in the game. In general, people sometimes give major labels a bad knock, like we’re the man or whatever it is. In my experience, I’m also totally drinking the Atlantic Kool-Aid. I love my job, I love the artists we work with, and I’ve only ever seen the good intentions of everyone doing their jobs. But yeah, I think that’s the key thing, is I think people don’t realize that the label or the brand team, we’re on the artist’s team, we’re doing it because we’re cheerleading our artists.

People always come to us looking for stuff. We always talk to artists and obviously we talk to brands, and we’re looking to do campaigns and cool things. And then we’ll get notes being like, “Hey, do you have a relationship where we can get a new guitar?” And we’re like, “No.” Endorsement is awesome, and product and gifting is the coolest thing. We’re all for that and we’re all for artists getting that. But the thing people don’t realize about brand partnerships is we’re looking to tap into real marketing dollars. We’re looking for things that are actually doing marketing. We’re not just looking for smile and hold the soda and cash in.

So an easy example, the comparison is like…so Ugg, the shearling lined slippers and shoes. They’re trying to do a whole pivot and they actually started working with hip-hop artists. So last year they did Vic Mensa and this year they worked with KYLE. So that was a deal that I helped do. So we have KYLE, SUPERDUPERKYLE.

Normally, someone would think like, “Ugg. Did they give him shoes?” And it’s like, “No, not at all.” That’s not at all what we did. Instead, it turned into this…it’s a whole campaign. Ugg was looking to kind of do this rebranding, they’re looking to tap into someone cool. But meanwhile we’re looking to promote KYLE as a lifestyle figure.

So, the deal ended up being KYLE gets paid, of course, and everyone gets paid involved in that. But the deal ended up being a photo shoot campaign with him and a couple different of the shoes and a couple different setups. But then what they did is they took all those images, they made a little flyer thing and they hosted a party. So, it was really more about having a lifestyle moment of throwing the party and having KYLE there as the face. And yes, there are images and yes, there’s a photo shoot, which was used as part of a big press push that they were running. So literally in Union Square in the Footaction, I think the Footaction, there was a giant picture of KYLE hanging wearing the shoes. So, it’s a great look for us because everyone walking by sees him in the store. It’s still attached to the brand, but it’s also the placement as part of the store. It’s part of that partnership of tying into Ugg’s connection to Footaction. It’s the other piece of the big press push that went along with it.

There was a big editorial play. So they partnered with Complex. They did an activation at ComplexCon that had a robot spray painting and it was Ugg branded, but it was just an art thing that was happening. So something like that. It’s not just shoes. It’s not just about shoes. And it wasn’t even about just KYLE being the face of the shoes, but it’s the photo shoot, and the event, and the stuff in store, and the press push, and the way it all comes together. KYLE did social posts. So, the way it kind of all comes together is tapping into multiple things. That it’s not only helping the brand who are doing their own campaign of this thing, but it’s also helping KYLE because he’s out there and visible. And now there’s a party that got thrown for him and a booth at ComplexCon with his name on it that he didn’t have to…it’s put up for him, essentially. So those are the deals we look to do more of.

Jesse Cannon: Can you tell me how this makes a difference in an artist’s career?

Mara Frankel: Now streaming changed everything. If we had this conversation like two years ago, I would’ve said: “Well, brand partnerships is key because it’s how we push music in an environment where people aren’t buying music. It’s how we push music to a non-music audience.” So, it’s the way you get the music out there in a way when music wasn’t selling.

Now that is obviously totally changed. So, it’s always kind of is still a way to just get your music out to an audience that isn’t necessarily listening to it. We deal with brands all the time that are not tuned in pop culturally, and I think doing campaigns like that helps you get out to just a whole other world.

It’s even the amplification you see of… it helps you push in things…we might not necessarily have the budget to do some huge social spend campaign, but if you’re tapping in with a brand who’s doing that for you, you’re now part of something that they’re doing. It always just kind of helps get out there.

Not every artist does it. We don’t sit here and say like, “Every artist should do brand partnerships.” There are some artists who never touch it. There are some artists who don’t want to hold the soda, but they’ll use their music in licensing and do commercials. There’s all different levels of the ways you do brand partnerships. We don’t turn down anything on the artist’s behalf. We bring everything to the team. We don’t ever push for anything.

So it helps if you want to do it. I don’t think it’s a crucial thing you need to do. It’s definitely right for the artists that are trying to make it commercially. Especially on the commercial sync side, licensing a song for a commercial can literally make or break a career. Never-ending case study we used to use is Fun., “We Are Young” got that Super Bowl spot. That was a moment. So again, you don’t need to do brand partnerships, but when things like that happen, it can genuinely change your career because all of a sudden, millions of people have heard your song and are like, “What is that? How do I find that?”

We do a lot of branded editorial partners, so we do a lot of campaigns with Shazam and Pandora. Even though, again it’s just an amplification of the ways we’re already trying to promote our artists, we like to think of brand partnerships as almost just another box to check in the lane of trying to hit certain people. You don’t necessarily have to do it if you don’t want to tap it, but some people want to tap those audiences. So it’s just exposure. Also, exposure in a way that still puts money in your pocket.

Jesse Cannon: What does your job look like on a day to day basis? Is it chained to emails? What are you really doing on a day to day basis?

Mara Frankel: It is different every day. I feel like everyone always is like, “My job is so different every day,” but it really is. That’s the thing. We do so much. Literally later on, I’m running out to an event and I’m going to be on set for like six hours. I was on an artist shoot last week. It’s everything from sending emails back and forth and just knocking out stuff, to dealing with new flags that come up, whether it’s a new project that flares up and we need to make something to send out. A lot of calls. Usually a lot of cold calling. A lot of just reaching out to new brands and being like: “Hi, I’m Mara from Atlantic. Would love to figure out what you’re doing.” So a lot of constant outreach.

Then like again, everything kind of changes because the deals are all so different. I’ve never done the same deal twice and I’ve never done the same type of deal. Every program is different. Every brand has a different idea of what their marketing campaign is. Even two ambassador programs can look entirely different just because things change. Social media changes, everything changes that one year to the next, things kind of look different and just every deal is different.

It’s kind of wearing a lot of hats of: “Am I trying to place an artist in something? Is it a campaign that already exists and they’re just looking for talent, and I’m just making suggestions? Or am I trying to fully concept a content strategy for a brand?” We do everything from simple pitching to full marketing strategy concepting for brands that want to do things in music but don’t know where to start. We’re ideating for them.

And then we’re also getting emails from internally that are like, “We are shooting a video and we need $20,000 by tomorrow. Who do you have?” So, it’s sending a lot of 911 emails out to brands being like, “Here’s the videos. Do you want to put your product in it? It’s $10,000.”

Every day is different. I’d say even on the emailing front it’s a lot of mix of outgoing pitches, incoming requests for information, things we want to happen, things brands want to happen. We love working with…developing artists are great because they’re always actively looking for things. But then there’s always the brands that want to work with artists that are either too big for it. There’s that negotiation of the fun negotiation of like, “We’re going to get there and this is going to be amazing.” Then there’s the negotiation of trying to make it happen even though you know an artist might not want to fully do it, and trying to navigate that world. Because again, you don’t want to force artists to do things either. So that’s a whole other…you’re managing a lot of expectations.

On a given day I’m definitely managing expectations all day from all different people. But that’s about the only consistency. Everything else is kind of different, just because it’s always changing.

Jesse Cannon: So, if a student was in college now and they’re listening to this interview and they’re like, “Oh my God, I want to be just like her,” what do you tell them to focus on that they might not think to focus on?

Mara Frankel: Honestly, it’s hard to do it. So, it’s hard to give this advice and then be like, “Go do it.” But finding a mentor and connecting with someone specifically. It’s not sending emails to everybody. It’s making a genuine connection with someone that you can really lean on for experience. For people listening, that could be me. That’s if you meet me out somewhere, you can ask me.

It’s not always the people you’re necessarily interning for or the people you’re working with as you’re trying to break into the industry. I think for me, that was the thing that helped me, is I made a genuine connection with someone who genuinely wanted to help me and genuinely did help me and really helped me see my career to this point. It’s hard for that to be an advice tip, but yeah, meeting people that are genuinely in your corner.

I just learned about the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor is someone that will teach you and you can learn from them. But a sponsor is someone who will actively advocate on your behalf. So, I actually learned I had a sponsor in college. But yeah, they say you want to find more sponsors than mentors. It’s good to have mentors. You’re not going to ask the chairman of your company to be your sponsor, but you can ask them to be your mentor. So there are lines, but finding someone that will really champion you.

In the music industry, that is super hard. It’s such an emotional business we’re in that I feel like there are so many people that genuinely want to help. And especially because so many people made it because they had someone who helped them, they have to want to continue that thing.

So yeah, finding people that are in your corner. Not necessarily in your job or your internship or in your field, but just in the industry that you can learn from and who will help you kind of figure it out.

Jesse Cannon: What’s something you think is really making a difference in breaking artists that wasn’t the case maybe 5 to 10 years ago?

Mara Frankel: Well streaming, obviously. So streaming breaks everything. Honestly, that’s the thing, streaming has really changed everything because I feel like with Spotify, like Discover Weekly even, it’s like stuff’s getting dropped in that I would’ve never ever found.

I’m not a good discoverer of new things, or I used to not be. I’m good at determining what is good music. I have, what I like to think are good ears. I’m not good at finding new things and keeping up. I get stuff sent to me. But with streaming and with Spotify and the way music is now presented to you, I got into Jorja Smith right before she got really big. That was because I just happened to be more in touch with that world. So I’d say obviously, just what’s happening in playlisting is completely changing the game for developing artists and what’s breaking.

Jesse Cannon: What advice do you have for musicians who’d want to be on Atlantic one day?

Mara Frankel: Please stop emailing people that don’t work in A&R. No. That’s the thing is I always used to say that when I get unsolicited phone calls is I used to be like, “Build your audience and we’ll find you.” But that’s really true. If you want to be signed in general…and I could be wrong, but I don’t know anyone that’s gotten signed by emailing the right person and being like, “Hey, here’s my music.” And then they’re like, “Yeah, let’s give you a record deal.” I’ve never seen that be the way that this happens. It’s always about building a touring audience, building a real fan base.

We always talk about in brand partnerships, the key to the best deals are the ones that are organic. Fans can see right through your BS and they can tell if it’s not real. Labels can see when something is happening, whether… now, again, if it’s happening on Spotify, if you’re trending on the viral charts or if it’s happening in the live world and you’re building a real touring fan base, labels really have their finger to the pulse and they see what’s real and what’s happening.

So, the best way to get signed is to actually just keep doing what you’re doing. Your job as a musician is not to be reaching out and trying to conduct business deals. I think that’s the thing, your job as a musician is to be making music and to be doing that. If you’re doing it in the right way and if you’re making something that’s good enough and is meaningful, the buzz gets out there and it makes its way to the labels. It makes its way to us. So genuinely grinding it out is how you get found. If you do the work, and if you’re making the music that matters, and if you’re playing the right shows or doing the right work and streaming, you’ll get found. So that’s definitely the big key.

Jesse Cannon: Is there something that you’re interested in outside of music that’s ever helped you in this job?

Mara Frankel: Well, like I said, I did theater. That is genuinely…I’m not saying everyone needs to take a theater class or an improv class or an acting class. But having done theater genuinely helped me in my job because so much of what we do is social. Like I said, the thing I love most about my job is closing a deal and making it happen and locking it down. The way that happens is by talking to people. And usually hanging out with people and being able to have fun in that hang.

I’ve never treated any of my meetings as business transactions. It’s always just like, “We’re going to hang out with this person.” It’s always kind of been that vibe in the music industry. If you’re going to hang out with that person, for me, being able to take true enjoyment. I like socializing, which I feel like is a very theatrical thing. I don’t want to compare that to theater. But I feel like just being comfortable around people is really what it is. That has just been a key piece of helping me be in my career because so much of it is just being able to hang out, and some people can’t hang out. In music industry 101, you got to be able to hang out.

Jesse Cannon: Is there a music style or a group you wish would come back into popularity?

Mara Frankel: Oh man, it’s funny because I always really liked very theatrical, dramatic alternative rock. I feel bad because everyone’s going to listen to this and just think I’m exclusively a scene kid and I’m really not. I just feel like again, dramatic stuff is having a resurgence now too. I feel like this has been the past…the past like two or three years has been the time of the concept album, which is something I love. I’m really into a whole body of work. I like songs, I like hits, I like bops, all of that. If you give me an album where from track 1 to 10 it means something and the whole thing comes together.

That’s why I can’t wish anything would come back because Kendrick ”DAMN.” exists. I remember hearing the rumor that if you play it backwards, it’s a second album. I remember being like, “This is the most amazing thing.” And then he confirmed it and I was like, “It’s real. It’s all happening.”

So that is something I’m glad has come back. It’s just the full body of work. It’s important to have songs that are hits and to have singles and to do all of that. I’m not knocking any of it, but I just love a beginning-to-end piece, a thoughtful piece of work. So I’m glad that’s back. I’m glad it didn’t leave or it did leave, but now there’s a lot more of them.

Jesse Cannon: How about is there any artists alive or dead that you really wish you could work with?

Mara Frankel: I would want to work with an ABBA. Especially from a label perspective, there’s something so cool about a perfect pop thing. What they did was so cool. Yeah, like ABBA. That is not a good answer, but I’m sorry.

Jesse Cannon: You want to know what’s funny? This has been the answer twice though.

Mara Frankel: Did someone else say ABBA? Oh my gosh. Yeah, ABBA. That’s the thing, is they’re a label dream. I just feel like that’s a perfect marketing scenario. Just from what it was in that moment in time, it’s just a whole other…I’m also intrigued by…I really love…I feel like someone else would probably have said The Beatles. I’m actually very intrigued by The Beatles, but from an early boy band perspective. Very beginning “Meet The Beatles” stuff. I would love to go back and start with them early on, knowing what I know now. I think it’s just a fascinating experiment.

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Today’s music is courtesy of KYLE.