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Top Music Entrepreneur Explains Social Media’s New Role in Marketing Music

October 20, 2011
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Steve Rifkind
Steve Rifkind, CEO and chairman of SRC Records

Well-known music entrepreneur Steve Rifkind, CEO and chairman of SRC Records, spoke to marketing students from the School of Business in September about entrepreneurship and the impact of unconventional marketing strategies in the entertainment industry. Rifkind has signed popular rap and hip-hop artists such as Akon, David Banner and Asher Roth, a 2009 MTV Video Music Award best new artist nominee, to his SRC label.

Roth, a breakthrough artist who gained popularity after the release of his hit single “I Love College” on MySpace, was also at the School to speak to students about why he chose to target a young audience through his music and how social media paved the way for his success.  

“Teenagers are impressionable, so I want to make an impact and send a positive message to them,” he said. “There are a lot of negative lyrics in rap songs, but we’re not about that.”

In addition to contemporary methods of marketing, Twitter is the primary way the label and its artists are reaching out to listeners, according to Rifkind. “You can reach 15,000 people with just one tweet,” he said. “It’s the best kind of promotion because it’s fast and incredibly expansive.”

Rifkind also spoke about personal branding and strategic expansions with other businesses. He is a part-owner of clothing line Silver Dagger, and recently partnered with the Hard Rock to create Silver Dagger premium vodka. The entrepreneur believes philanthropy is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job and has funded several projects to support various causes. He has been organizing the Think Pink Rocks concert since 2008 to raise awareness about breast cancer, an illness from which his father suffers. He also founded Camp Excel in 1996, a week-long, overnight camp for underprivileged children.

“We need to help kids execute their creativity because this generation is the future of our industry,” he said.

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