eOne Music's Vice President of Rock and Metal on Their Secret to Success
In our ongoing record label profile series, Noisecreep spoke with Scott Givens, eOne's VP of Rock and Metal, about his career trajectory, the company's recent successes and its future plans.
In the above photo: Carl Severson (Good Fight Entertainment), Steve Seabury (Project Manager), Scott Givens (VP of Rock and Metal), Chris Herche (Dir. of Online Marketing), Bill Meis (Publicity Manager), George Cappellini Jr. (Dir. of Rock Radio)
I remember when you worked at Combat Records back in the late '80s, and from your time managing Dark Angel, since I was such a huge fan of that band. Tell us a bit about your background.
Wow, you go back as far as I do! I broke in at Combat as label manager when I was 21-years-old working with Exodus, Death, and of course, Dark Angel. I left there to manage Dark Angel which I did for two years before going to Roadrunner for eight years starting in 1991. That was an amazing time at the company and in the business as a whole. At Roadrunner, I was VP of Artist Development and worked with Sepultura, Fear Factory, Coal Chamber, Slipknot and Type O Negative, which was awesome. Sharon Osbourne recruited me from to start Divine Recordings with her and I ran that for three three years. After that, I spent five years at RCA which was highlighted by working the first Velvet Revolver record. Since then, I have been here at eOne.
How did you land at eOne?
When I left RCA, eOne called me literally the next day and said, "We want to give you your own metal rock division and for you to make us a player in that world." I thought I was dreaming. Needless to say, I signed on about ten seconds later and have been here for 5+ years.
What's a typical day like for you when you're in the office?
I get up at 6:30am and check emails for anything urgent. I get to the office by 9:45am and check in with my crew to deal with any urgent matters. We look at radio tracking, re-orders, ship out figures, pre-order figures etc. Then I touch base with our newest partner in crime Carl Severson at Good Fight since he and I are working on a number of deals together. After that, the rest of the day is spent speaking with managers, working on current deals with business affairs and looking for new acts, both established and developing. I'm also always listening to mixes and working on the overall marketing/promotion of our current projects.
We've stayed aggressive on the signing side while others have spent too much time pondering their next moves. While they wait, we act. We've added staff to the metal/rock division each of the last three years which has allowed us to expand our roster and our reach as a label as a whole.
Yes, the music business is banged up right now and ever changing but hey, this is the business we are in so just adjust and move forward. Sure, accounts aren't taking as much product as they used too and the number of outlets for physical goods has shrunk but rather than complain, we work closely (me included) with our distribution sales reps and the buyers as a whole to make sure do things right for both sides. A perfect example is Jay Adelberg from Hot Topic. Jay's awesome and is the key account for our developing acts. We get together 2-3 times a year and regularly communicate via email or the phone on what is working for him and what isn't.
You balance your roster with new artists and groups that had been signed to other labels in the past. How do you decide how you're going to budget out each type of project? In other words, do acts like High on Fire and Overkill end up being costlier or cheaper since they already have big fan bases?
When you sign an act with an existing base it is easier to quantify how much because you can look at past sales. That said, when we signed acts like High on Fire and Overkill, we may have based our deals on past sales, but our plan was to help them grow their existing fan base. Just because a band has been around for a bit doesn't mean they can't grow in sales. Overkill sales have increased by 30% on both of their records since joining us. High on Fire had the best first weeks sales on their last two records they ever had since coming with us. It's the same thing with Crowbar.
When in under a two year period we signed, In Flames, Hatebreed, Black Label Society and High on Fire. Those acts choosing us put us on the map. In this day and age acts switch labels quickly but bringing those four on board in such a relatively short time and more importantly how early in the division's life we did it sent a message to the industry that we had arrived as a force. It opened doors for us and helped us get on the radar of people like the managers of Pop Evil who we signed within the next year.
On the flip side of that, what has been the biggest disappointment for the label? Any releases you think fell well under the radar that deserved more attention from the public?
I could list several but it's really not a lack of public attention, more just selling less than we had all hoped but that's the beast we are dealing with these days. The fans find out about what's good and buy it or not, they know what's up.
What's on the horizon for the next six months or so?
We've got our first records with The Chariot, This or the Apocalypse, Glamour of the Kill, and No Bragging Rights, all coming this year and I have 10-12 new signings in various states of getting finished right now. Early next year, we'll have new records from Crowbar, Dope, and Throwdown, plus 3-4 new signings including two from Good Fight.
Name one eOne album every Noisecreep reader should have in the collection right now.
Intrinsic from The Contortonist.
Can you track down Don Doty and make a Darkness Descends-era Dark Angel reunion happen?
You know I can't believe that some European festival promoter hasn't done that yet, to be honest with you. Gene's is still a close friend and seeing that he has played about every festival on the planet twice, I am surprised someone hasn't cornered him about it. I am not sure if he is in touch with the other guys or not. You make a good point. I'm going to suggest that to Scott Lee for next year's NEMHC Fest.
Head over to www.eonerock.com for information on the label and their upcoming releases.