Britnee Foreman on the Influence of Jazz and Janet Jackson
Britnee Foreman is a multi-hyphenate music executive and data strategist with a passion for helping artists and creators make a living doing what they love. Currently, she's head of data strategy and digital operations at Exceleration Music, where she scales labels and music catalogs using data, as well as works across company verticals such as royalty collection, marketing, development and discovery. Her career spans 10+ at the intersection of music, tech, and data analytics at companies such as Downtown Music Holdings and the Pandora-acquired company Next Big Sound.
Foreman also held various positions at Temple Music Investments, Universal Music Republic Group and SPIN Magazine. She has been a sound engineer, artist manager, written for blogs and spoken at numerous conferences. She's also the global co-chair for membership at Women in Music, an organization committed to advancing equality, visibility and opportunities for women in the musical arts through education, support, empowerment and recognition.
We caught up with Britnee for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.
Britnee, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in SoCal, and I live here now with about a 20-year window of not living here in between.
Your earliest musical memory.
The Playboy Jazz Festival when I was about 4 years old at the Hollywood Bowl.
Your first concert and what you remember about it.
Technically the above is my first concert, but I think the first one I chose on my own was Evanescence. Be still my emo heart. I remember it was in the nose bleed equivalent at House of Blues Anaheim if I remember correctly. I remember looking down from a balcony and at 17/18, it wasn’t VIP. It was great, I went with some friends and had an amazing time!
Your favorite band/musician.
Ooh, that's like picking a favorite child. I think a lot of my music taste currently is heavily influenced by the great jazz singers: Ella, Billie, Sarah. I collect jazz vinyl, so I think their tone just sounds great through the speakers. Also Nina Simone, because her storytelling, piano playing and voice are just amazing.
How you get your music these days.
I trust the algorithm. I seed it enough with thumbs up, likes, hearts, whatever the platform needs and let it surface some music depending on mood. I'm stuck on my Spotify daily mixes right now.
Your favorite place to see a concert.
I really like outdoor park venues like Zilker Park, Central Park, or Commodore Barry Park. There is something sublime about being immersed in nature while jamming out to an amazing band. And the food tends to be better for these venues since they're usually festivals.
Your favorite music video, if you have one.
Most of Janet Jackson's visuals, but no single one over the others.
Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.
This is going to sound lame, but I don't really watch TV or listen to podcasts. I may Netflix once in a blue moon. I do, however, have lots of semi-dry music non-fiction books and memoirs like "Please K*ll Me" or the ever important "All You Need to Know About the Music Business."
A recent project you're proud of.
Getting analytics visible to my team. It's still kind of a work in progress, but so important to not be flying blind and have something to instigate deeper questions when we see bonkers activity. I'm a huge data nerd and I always want to empower my team and my colleagues with the best, most up to date information available. It's vital to strategy and making good decisions.
Someone else’s project that you admired recently.
I'm in constant awe of my friends that are both IRL and only on the internet in this industry. The "See You Next Year" partnership with Pigeons and Planes by my buddies at ADA. The IMG Agency partnership with SoHo House by Anastasia Wright that produced talks, events, and even a party with Janet Jackson (clearly, there's a theme). Nick Maile with jump.global, Olivia Shalhoup with Amethyst Collab. All of these are high level executions of what were originally big, complicated ideas and pulled off amazingly.
How musicians should approach working with brands.
It is essentially a partnership, so creators should make sure it's a brand they like and are aligned with and not just dependent on what number is on the check. The brand is leveraging the music creator for their audience base. It's easier if the creator understands what the product is and likes it because it's easier to relay that info to its audience. Also, going in with an understanding of how large and engaged the audience is gives the artist a lot of control. If your audience demographically aligns with a brand, it tends to be a more natural fit for the artist and brand to partner.
How brands should approach working with musicians.
Obviously the reverse of the above, but making sure the musician is fully equipped to be a brand ambassador and educate the audience to the perks, benefits, etc. especially of anything that is very new to the market.
What music can do that nothing else can.
It can transcend all things, it can communicate emotion across language barriers.
What you’d be doing if you weren't in the music world.
I'd probably go back to fashion or art. I have a deep rooted need to be around creative people.
Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.