Music Industry Advice: Music Publishing - The New Breed

coopergatlin3Kim Nieva
Company: Deep Well Records
Songwriters and Artists: Adam Anders, Nikki Anders, Shane Harper, Cooper & Gatlin, Caitlin Crosby

Since the 2011 launch of Deep Well Records, the Capitol Music Group label imprint has acted both as an independent talent incubator and as a label that specializes in developing original music-driven content. Co-founded by producer Adam Anders (best known for producing music for Glee) and Nikki Anders, a songwriter, artist and producer, the company has both a record and a publishing division. Kim Nieva, Vice President of Operations, oversees all administration and creative, deal structures with artist/writers, album agreements as well as setting up co-writing sessions for all talent signed to both the label and publishing company. She also oversees music supervision for all AMI Productions, as well as soundtracks, social and digital media coverage, and Deep Well’s co-publishing partnerships.

How are strategic alliances part of the Deep Well equation?
We have the label through Capitol Music Group and publishing with Kobalt, both of whom have been great collaborators so far.

Given Adam’s success with Glee, it would seem a natural step to continue in the television area.
Our model is music and media, and media as a main conduit to present music. And Kobalt has such a strong sync team—they understand the importance of delivering music through media. We’re doing a lot of new television programs as well. We just did The Passion with Fox, Dirty Dancing; all of that is our music, coming out of our label. We also have original programming through which we will be in partnership with Kobalt and Capitol Music Group. Kobalt’s sync team has such a great reputation already. I’ve had relationships with their creative team for years. Now that we’re signing writers and producers, it was an easy transition to send them our creative and they operate the wheel.

So music is ingrained in the television shows from the inception?
With our model, the soundtrack is built in sync. We have original music that we pitch out, but a lot of our content is already written into the story lines. It is made for the sync and the soundtrack —it covers both sides. The songs are written with the editorial in mind. It’s like the way that Justin Timberlake wrote specifically for Trolls, but without it being just a single song. It’s writing from scratch for the entire storyline. In 2017 we have a lot of shows coming out with that model, television shows, international content and the music will be built in.

Is artist development part of the scenario?
Artists are being developed within the show, rather than a regular development period. Adam is heavily involved in the casting because he is picking an artist. It’s a holistic method of media and artist and songwriter—almost like the Disney model of a triple threat. Sometimes it’s hard for an artist to break out of that model. We’re going to make sure that the artist has their artist persona as well as the character simultaneously.

Can you give us an example of how Deep Well defines an artist both as an individual and as a television character?
Our priory artist with Capitol has been Shane Harper—he’s been an actor for years and we’re sending out his mainstream pop video. Check out his video “Like I Did” that features Sarah Hyland from Modern Family. He’s 23, and he’s writing about adult relationships and heartbreak. It’s relatable, but it’s on an adult level.

How are songwriters brought into that mix?
We have a duo called Cooper & Gatlin out of Franklin, TN. They moved to Los Angeles and are super-talented at 19 and 21. We put them in the room with so many established writers already and they are really holding their own —they know melodies and lyrics, so right now we’re concentrating on their writing side, developing their sound, what their songs are, defining what’s going to be a song for their Cooper & Gatlin brand and what’s going to be a song that we could pitch out to different artists.

We note that Cooper & Gatlin wrote a hit for an artist in Indonesia. How did that transpire?
I did a songwriting camp in Bali for the last two years. I worked with the Invitational group and Michael Taylor from Universal Australia and Peter Coquillard from Milk and Honey Management. We’ve had Jason Derulo stuff cut, Nick Jonas, Bonnie McKee, Ke$ha, Hot Chelle Rae, all pop artists. Adam wants to bring that into the fold, so I do it on behalf of Deep Well. I met with one of the Indonesian pop stars over there. It’s spiritual, it’s creative, it’s bonding—a great set-up.

Nikki Anders also plays a principle role in the company, correct?
Yes, she vocal produces a lot of the content that we’re doing and she will be writing on upcoming projects. She and Adam are amazing people. They are super-hip too, which is fun. Deep Well is a family company. I think that’s why I was drawn to it. Yes, the creative energy inside the Capitol tower is palpable, it’s something I’ve always wanted, but being a woman in the industry, I’ve had to navigate my way through what I’m comfortable in. With Deep Well and Adam, it’s been very welcoming.

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