Director of Digital Marketing
Years with Company: Since May 2022
Address: 6320 Canoga Avenue, Suite 1300, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Email: [email protected]
Clients: DC the Don, Lou Phelps, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, My Favorite Color, Brevin Kim, Rich the Kid
Few people go as far in the music industry as Jacob Passick. Even fewer do so at his tender age. His career began with an Instagram account, Real_NBAMemes, that he ultimately parlayed into a position at Roc Nation, a job he started while still a student at Cornell University. Recently, he moved to Rostrum Records, where he continues his work as a digital marketing strategist.
Finding a Way in and Knowing Your Worth
I used that Instagram account [Real_NBAMemes] to kind of pitch myself within the industry and get into events. When you have an Instagram with a large following, it’s much easier to get in contact with certain people. I was always trying to find a way to get into events for free. And that was my way in. It was my way of hustling.
Mark Cuban tried to buy my account. His team low-balled me. They were trying to convince me that selling to Cuban was [valuable in itself.] My response was, “Why don’t I say I didn’t sell it to Mark Cuban because he low-balled me?” I feel that is the much better headline. I ended up selling it for about five times what they offered. From that, it was easy to convince Billboard to hire me to work on their social media team.
I booked [rapper] Sheck Wes to do a show at Cornell. And it was a success. This was the year after I worked at Billboard Music, where I was managing their music festival page. I was also in charge of Billboard HipHop at the time. I grew their following by 60% in two months.
Sheck Wes’s manager is Bizzy Bilal Joseph, who’s an executive at Columbia Records. He’s also one of Travis Scott’s managers and business partners. I always knew about Bizzy, but I never had a way to connect with him. When I booked Sheck, it was easy.
Making a Mentor
I knew I had to find a way to create a larger relationship with Bizzy. A few weeks after the show, I reached out. I sent him a huge essay about why I want to work for him, how I’m hungry and eager. He was responsive and wanted to meet.
Sheck Wes was doing a show at the Barclays Center during halftime for an Adidas event. This was during finals at Cornell, but I knew it was my only way to get in touch with Bizzy, so I DMed the event on my NBAMemes account. I was able to get photo and press passes. I had full access the night of the event. I ended up seeing him as he walked by and the rest is history.
Seeking In-Roads and Crafting Connections
The industry is hard to get into when you’re applying online and thousands of resumes are coming in. My suggestion is to go out and get it. If there’s an artist you like, find out who manages that artist. Find out who the tour manager is. Find a way in and create a relationship.
A Brief Stint in A&R
In between Billboard and [working at] Cactus Jack [Records], I was at Island Records doing A&R. I went on LinkedIn and found out some of the assistants in the company. At the time, Darcus Beese was the president of Island. I was able to get a 30-minute meeting with him. Two days later, Island offered me a job for the summer. So I was able to learn A&R, as well.
I was bored one day and saw an open position for a director role. A 21-year-old still in college has no business applying for a director role, but I applied anyway. A few weeks later, I see an email from Roc Nation. It took about two months of interviews and projects, and they hired me. They believed in me and saw my hunger.
Becoming Part of Rostrum
Someone reached out to me about [the position at Rostrum]. My friend sent it [to me], and I’m a huge fan of Mac Miller, so I started talking to the Rostrum team. I emailed Colby [Silon], who is the head of marketing. We met for a chat. And then I met up with Benjy [Grinberg], who’s the president and founder of Rostrum, along with Jonathan [Partch], who is the GM. And they offered me a job right after, literally 15 minutes later. Most of the team lives in LA, but I’ll be staying in New York.
It was very fluid, natural, and easy. They made it clear that they believe in me, want me, trust me, and support me. I’ve wanted to lead a team doing digital marketing and thought this opportunity would be great for me.
A Holistic Job
While I was at Roc, I was only with specific clients. I wasn’t overseeing the entire digital marketing team or strategy. [This is] more of a leadership role. I still develop and execute digital marketing and content distribution strategies. I still pitch to key partners. I produce and post digital content to help with our clients’ marketing plans. And I also focus on a bunch of our catalog. I'm continually the person to set up meetings with digital platforms and creative agencies to hear about how we can work with different types of developing digital companies. [It’s] a step forward and a more holistic view and approach to things.
I’m excited to see our acts develop. My Favorite Color, he’s releasing a song tomorrow. He’s so artistic and smart and has so many ideas, from creative direction to scripts to writing all his music. He’s an amazing live performer, as well, and an amazing actor who writes his own skits. He did the cover art for his next single. I’m also honored to continue the legacy of Mac Miller and everything that holds for him.
I get to work from home, which is awesome. It definitely fits my life better. Being able to work from anywhere is very rewarding. I’m not stuck to a desk or an office. I get to be outside. I get to meet with creators and people throughout the industry without restriction. I’m able to have this open-ended work atmosphere, which is very beneficial.
No Office Politics
What’s cool about independent labels is you are away from all the politics. Sometimes, less is more. I’ve worked at labels where there’ve been 45 people on a call, and it’s not productive.
And with a smaller, dedicated team at Rostrum, there’s not any bullshit. There’s not any company politics. It’s just a special group of people trying to break artists, which is clearly something Rostrum is good at.
Track Record and Innovation
We have a specific, dedicated team that knows what they’re doing and cares deeply about artists. It’s a great place to be for an artist that needs attention, love and guidance.
We just want to break artists, push boundaries and do things that have never been done before. A big part of why I’m hopping on the team is to continue that process in the digital space. We want to be innovative. We want to do things that haven’t been done before. And we want to be the case study for others to see how we’re able to break artists and push tracks.