If you’re a St. Louis local with an interest in the electronic music scene, there’s a good chance you’ve crossed paths with Brian Severino before. Severino is one of the powerhouses running Global Music Broadcasting (GMB), a company he created in 2012 while still in college at Saint Louis University. Yes, he just so happened to be a communication student – we’re all cool cats doing big things, but are you really surprised? If you’re wondering how this guy juggled school while running a company, how he handles social media for GMB, what life after college looks like for this SLU graduate, and what we can expect from GMB in the future, plus plenty of other fun facts – you’re in the right place.
GET TO KNOW BRIAN SEVERINO AND GLOBAL MUSIC BROADCASTING
Q: In a sentence, how would you describe Global Music Broadcasting to a stranger?
A: We bring premier electronic music talent to a city near you.
“Global Music Broadcasting is a multifaceted talent agency dedicated to representing some of the hottest names in electronic music, while simultaneously hosting some of the hottest shows in St. Louis, Missouri.” You can learn more about how it all got started here.
Q: What would you say your job title is with GMB?
A: President, owner, king of the castle – I wear a lot of hats! I’m an agent, event organizer and we do artist management so I’m a manager for our artists too. I organize the events that we put together in St. Louis and we’re also expanding into Montreal this year for our big show, so I’ve been handling that too.
DIGGING INTO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A NICHE MUSIC MARKET
Q: You know I’ve got to throw some social media questions your way. What platforms do you use regularly for GMB?
A: GMB has a Twitter, but I don’t really use it that much. I actually have someone running that account for us along with Instagram. Those two platforms don’t seem to be huge for GMB as far as helping us reach our goals. Facebook is a big one for us though, especially with how you can create artist pages and events. We can reach a lot of people and target specific demographics too.
Q: Do you personally handle the posting through Facebook?
A: We just brought on a marketing guy, Frank! He does all of our Facebook advertisements now and really helps figure out how to market our artists and specific shows. He knows what gets the most attention on Facebook for us. That used to be me, but now I can focus on bigger picture stuff for GMB.
Q: You still use your personal Facebook for promoting a lot of GMB content though – what’s the thought process behind that?
A: A big reason I do that is because even with our GMB Facebook page reach, depending on how much we’re paying, our stuff still won’t always hit huge numbers. I don’t have that kind of restriction on my personal page and it’s another way to reach even more people. Sometimes I can make a status on the GMB Facebook page and it might reach 100 out of the 4,000+ people who like us depending on the day and time and stuff, but a status on my personal page can reach even more people and a lot of my Facebook friends fall into our audience. Unless you want to spend a lot of money, Facebook marketing can be tough.
Q: Do you have a budget in regards to social media?
A: It really depends on what we have going on. We’ll spend a lot on Facebook advertisements for our big shows like Jingle the Bass. If I just have an artist who put down a new track though it makes more sense to put down $10-$20 on Facebook advertising for 24 hours just to get that immediate push instead of throwing tons of money into a long, expensive campaign.
Q: How do you handle monitoring and analytics to see what type of social media practices are working, or not working, for GMB?
A: Yeah, that’s mostly Frank now thankfully. Just from trial and error though I know that for GMB posts on Facebook, 10 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. are usually the time frames where we get the best social media reach. I don’t know exactly why, but from my experience those are our best times to post on Facebook usually.
Q: Just out of curiosity, do you have a LinkedIn page that you use regularly?
A: I do have a LinkedIn but I pretty much never use it. The music scene is a lot of connections made through events and the people I’m working with aren’t really on that platform. That type of networking isn’t the best fit for what I do, but it does work well for other people in the industry – just not me personally.
Q: Have you ever had to deal with haters on social media, or any type of trolling?
A: All the time! People love to complain about anything and everything. Someone went on our Jingle the Bass page once and complained about the price even though we had huge artists in the lineup and a ticket to see one of those artists at an individual show would have been even more expensive than our show ticket to see a bunch of them at once. Comments like that always pop up and I’ve realized you can’t please everyone and you can’t take criticizers personally. A few years ago I would have responded but I’ve gotten better at it and the best response now is just no response. Sometimes there is a way to respond but usually I leave the comments there.
Q: Wrapping up on social media, any bits of advice you’d want to pass along to the world?
A: Find a Frank like I did! Seriously though I just wear a lot of hats and social media is a full-time job that really impacts GMB. I know it’s important so finding someone who actually knows what they’re doing with advertisements was huge. It’s a lot of strategic thinking and it’s more than just knowing the best times to post. For GMB it comes down to actually finding people that are interested in our events and are actually going to spend their money, not just people seeing our stuff on Facebook.
Q: For communication students that are looking to work in social media, what career development advice would you give them? What caused you to want to hire Frank and make him part of the GMB family?
A: Frank had a lot of experience that was specific to what we were looking for in a marketing hire. He did all of the advertising stuff for The Blue Note in Columbia, MO and was responsible for all of that event organizing. Our workload is a bit lighter so I knew he could definitely handle our advertising and social media efforts along with other things we might need. He was really tied into specifically what GMB does and our music niche and his experience and success showed that very clearly.
Before Frank we seemed to be going through people left and right that didn’t seem to be able to really deliver results or didn’t communicate well. Frank is on the phone with me every day and I don’t have to worry about micromanaging and can actually focus on my stuff now. He actually knows what he’s talking about and has a background in it. Overall I’d tell any student that their experience is what speaks to employers and their ability to follow through and deliver on projects without having to be checked up on every day will make them really valuable. Plus don’t claim to know certain skills if you don’t know them – seriously.
JUGGLING COLLEGE, STARTING A COMPANY AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Q: I want to take a look at how GMB actually started, especially since I remember being in class with you at SLU and it’s crazy how you were starting a company while handling school assignments. What’s the background story on GMB?
A: I started GMB with my friend Jay and it was just us two making it happen. When I first started at SLU I was actually an accounting major so that’s pretty funny to think about. We started by throwing Jingle the Bass and then from there we needed to figure out a way to actually protect ourselves. The whole reason we actually started GMB was so we could become incorporated and have protection in case something happened at one of our events and someone tried to sue us.
Q: How complex was the process of becoming incorporated and really getting GMB up and running?
A: The legal part is actually pretty simple, we didn’t have any issues with it and we pretty much just pay a yearly fee. As far as building up an audience and customers, we had momentum from Jingle the Bass already. It’s a stacked show with so many headliners and after our first one, Mantis actually reached out to Jay and I about being part of the next show. So at that point we had artists starting to reach out to us and we were getting attention from people really interested in the electronic music scene around us.
Q: I have to ask, how much has your communication degree impacted your current job?
A: Some stuff that pops up with GMB definitely showed up in the classroom at SLU, but then there is always a lot of stuff hitting me that’s just trial and error. A lot of my learning has been from experience almost like what you get out of an internship. Honestly all the real lessons, painful lessons, that no classroom can teach – those are learned from experience. Sometimes I wonder why I got a degree, and other days I know exactly why it matters. My SLU teachers also knew what I was doing with GMB and I had some really great teachers that cared about me even though I wasn’t always the most engaged student. My experience is just different since this happened to me so early and that doesn’t always happen for everyone.
Q: Short-term, what have you been up to lately with GMB?
A: I just got back from going over details for Jingle the Bass. We went over stage setup, staffing, lighting and there’s definitely a lot of meetings I’ll be juggling for a while. A lot of our artists aren’t from around St. Louis so managing them takes a lot of day-to-day time too.
Q: Long-term, what’s in the future for GMB?
A: The plan is to cut down on the amount of shows we do and start focusing on larger caliber events. We’ve worked our way up and we’ve become relevant and solidified, so from here we’re building on that. Jingle the Bass will always be huge for us and we’re international now too, since we’re expanding into Montreal. We’re also planning on expanding further around the United States as well. Our claim to fame has always been St. Louis but artists don’t always jump to perform here, so we’ve focused on giving people something to look forward to in St. Louis in this music scene, while still being able to expand into other cities. My baby is growing up!
Q: On a final note, how can people connect with you and get involved with GMB?
A: I’ve got a personal Facebook of course and they can also show our GMB Facebook page or website some love too. Jingle the Bass is also happening pretty soon. It’s our biggest show so people should check it and see the talent GMB has brought to St. Louis this year!
If you’re interested in checking out GMB’s biggest production, Jingle the Bass is happening November 26, 2016 and tickets are available here. There’s also a Jingle the Bass Pre-Party happening on November 12, 2016 if patience isn’t a virtue you happen to have, and you’re ready to get funky sooner rather than later. As an added bonus, Brian will definitely be at both events, so if you have burning questions that weren’t addressed here today, these shows are great opportunities to meet the man himself and get the answers you’re seeking. Tell him I sent you – he will totally appreciate his new fan base.