National Geographic Music
Jeffrey B. Clyburn, VP
Jeff B. Clyburn is the Vice President of Music for National Geographic Global Media. He overseas National Geographic Music, a full-service independent record label that features the best in modern global sounds, including Grammy Award winning Grupo Fantasma, Balkan Beat Box, Bedouin Soundclash, Palenke SoulTribe, and more. The label spotlights music and artists from around the world.
WHEN DID NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FORM A LABEL?
The record label was founded in 2010 as part of the National Geographic brand. It’s a full-service label with worldwide distribution. Our focus is on global music. We recently won our first Grammy Award with Grupo Fantasma, a Latin funk orchestra from Austin, TX. We believe we’re in a sweet spot right now because geographical and cultural boundaries are currently crumbling —especially in music. Just look at “Gangman Style,” a Korean artist (PSY) who became a global star.
WHAT TYPE OF ARTISTS DO YOU SIGN?
We like acts that collaborate across musical and cultural boundaries. We also look for artists that suit our mission statement, so they should be familiar with National Geographic and what we do.
HOW ACCOMPLISHED DO ACTS NEED TO BE?
It varies. But, in general, we prefer acts that have released albums and gotten some results. We look for indicators that make us want to do business with them, like sales, touring and social media exposure. The more they’ve accomplished, the better their chances.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY?
It’s absolutely important. It’s about fan engagement today. If artists don’t relate with their fans, they won’t have much of a career. In fact, social media can be a major part of marketing and promotions. We like to see acts that use social networks in a smart and effective way.
WHAT KIND OF DEALS DO YOU OFFER?
Most of our deals are 50/50 net receipt, across all income streams. In the indie world, that’s the only way you can generate income. And, we service most areas, including marketing, promotions, PR, video and touring.
HOW HAS THE MUSIC BUSINESS CHANGED?
The providers of music no longer dictate how fans should consume music. As a result, there will be some people that feel they don’t have to own music. They can hear whatever they want with a streaming service like Spotify. That’s a challenge for record labels and artists that is only going to get more difficult. What we need to do is provide them with something they value, whether it’s a show, a video, or a product.
Artists can contact us and send links to their websites and music at firstname.lastname@example.org.