- Kiersten Sholly
Speaker Recap - Wes Davenport of 1824: Universal Music Group
Our first guest speaker of the school year was Wes Davenport of 1824, which is Universal Music Group’s creative solutions team that is focused on the connection of artists and brands directly to fans through storytelling and experiences. He spoke about where he started in his career, as a communications major in his undergrad, and then how he then went on to create his own agency. He said he loved running his own business, but when one of his mentors in the industry called him to offer him the position to spearhead Universal Music Group’s new team, he jumped at the opportunity.
Now, he is the Senior Culture Marketing Manager at 1824. At 1824, they work with some of the top musical artists in the country, as well as up and coming artists. When he first joined the company, Wes took the reins to create a PR team and to lead in targeting their ideal demographic, which is 18-24 year olds. That is where the name 1824 came from. Within 1824, there are different teams that focus on pitching and content for social media, print publication, and some podcasts.
He also explained how they adjusted their strategies to align with the ongoing pandemic. They began to hold press conferences through Zoom with artists so they could talk to people within the industry. This was a huge success, as they held conferences with many artists, including Katy Perry.
In the question and answer portion of the presentation, Wes explained that he has a lot of meetings through Zoom, in part because of the pandemic and also because he is constantly in touch with people on the West coast. He also explained that the public relations strategies they use are different for smaller artists versus bigger artists. The smaller artists just need to get their names out there, so they focus on pitching and getting their music to be better known. Bigger artists require less of that type of PR, because they are already well known and established. The PR for bigger artists includes working with radio stations or creating social media content for them.
Overall, this was a great way to kick off the school year and we all loved to hear the valuable insights that Wes shared with us. As a senior this year, I particularly enjoyed hearing all of the tips Wes shared and I will definitely remember his advice in my future PR career.
This blog post was written by Kiersten Sholly, Digitial Publications Editor