Olivia Shalhoup on 'Rollout Roundup,' Her Weekly Critique of New Music Marketing

Plus, her musical journey from Lil Wayne to Beyoncé, and how brands and artists should work together

Raised in Southern California, the now bicoastal marketing executive Olivia Shalhoup flexes her West Coast creativity and East Coast hustle between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. 

An early believer in the power of social media for artists, Olivia currently serves as the digital lead for Trippie Redd, Kidd Lee and Igwe Aka among others. She began her journey in the music industry as an intern at Carpark Records in Washington, D.C., working with artists like Toro y Moi and Cloud Nothings. She cemented her passion for hip-hop music while working with artists like Pusha T and Nipsey Hussle at the Jay-Z and Diddy-founded nonprofit HipHop Caucus. 

Olivia honed her talents at Maverick Management subsidiary Jarjour Co, where she began as an A&R intern and quickly discovered her strength in creative marketing and social media. Olivia is now a digital lead with artists around the world. 

She is also the founder and director of Amethyst Collab, home of the music industry's first all-women digital panel series, where she moderates panels with high-profile women from all segments of the music industry. 

We caught up with Olivia 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.

Olivia, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Southern California and now live in Brooklyn. 

Your earliest musical memory.

Dancing to "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" by Lil Wayne with my sister, mom and uncle at his apartment in NYC.

Your first concert.

Lil Wayne, of course. During the "Free Weezy" era, I was definitely too young to be at that concert but it solidified my love for hip-hop forever. 

Your favorite bands/musicians.

Beyoncé, of course, I love her work ethic and creative direction. Then Pop Smoke—he really shook the table and brought Brooklyn drill mainstream. He had so much potential and versatility, as we saw in his posthumous album. 

How you get your music these days.

I pay a lot of attention to marketing rollouts. I'm constantly researching which artists have the most innovative and creative marketing, for both my own interest and my marketing critique column Rollout Roundup on Substack. I usually find the music is an afterthought for me now.

Your favorite place to see a concert.

The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. So many good memories there. 

Your favorite music video.

Music videos were my first love. When I was younger, my dream job was music video director. My favorite music video is "Brown Skin Girl" by Beyoncé. The creative direction, the attention to detail, the co-stars. It's a monumental video that brought happy tears to my eyes the first time I saw it. 

Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.

I love Empire. I think that stems from loving Glee as a kid.

A recent project you're proud of.

I am really, really proud of Rollout Roundup. I started a first-of-its-kind column on my own platform that critiques marketing rollouts of popular artists. I'm proud of the research and honesty that I put into that column, and I'm proud that we had over 10,000 unique readers in less than a week with no ads, sponsorships or inorganic promotion of any kind.

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

Lil Nas X's "Montero" release. That man knows how to get—and keep—people's attention. And when it comes to marketing, I love a good controversy. 

How musicians should approach working with brands.

Behind every brand partnership should be some real passion. If an artist likes smoking weed, they should partner with a cannabis brand. If an artist likes shoes, partner with Nike. Don't just do whatever is hot in the moment, but put some energy into researching brands of all sizes that you truly align with. The target audience will always sense when something inauthentic is being fed to them. 

How brands should approach working with musicians.

With your homework done! Come to an artist knowing their story, what they like and don't like, so you aren't pitching them something completely out of their wheelhouse.

What music can do that nothing else can.

Make you feel something new while simultaneously validating what you are already feeling. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.

Fashion designer. 

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.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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