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Meet Daniel Sena of Mad Tasty in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Sena.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In high school and college, I always wanted to be in the music industry, but never really knew how to get a foot in the door. So in college, I volunteered at the campus radio station, taught a class on cult rock n’ roll, etc. in the hopes that my resume would one day look appealing enough for a record label to give me a shot. My last summer at UC Berkeley, I was taking one more class before graduating, I saw a flyer posted on the community boards for an internship with Universal Music. I immediately called and was fortunate enough to get the internship. When I showed up for the first day, however, I saw that there were 20 other interns. Ugh. But I knew I had a foot in the door and that’s all I needed. So I said to myself: “I’m going to get here an hour before the first intern shows up and stays an hour after the last one leaves. Every day. Period.” And I did. So for six months, I interned while teaching math on weekends and weeknights to college bound high school students via the Princeton Review. The challenge at the time was Universal Music was going through a merger, so not only were they not hiring, but they were eliminating positions. There ended up being an opening at competitive company Sony Music and all of the Universal folks called them and said “you have to hire him” – something that almost never happens with competing companies. So I got my start at Sony Music in San Francisco.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Once I got into the industry it seemed like the bottom fell out. Napster and piracy decimated the record stores and for years, the industry struggled to find a viable business model. Every quarter there were layoffs and consolidations. There were periods where you wondered if recorded music would end up being an ultimate casualty of technology, ala the typewriter. A lot of talented people left the industry during that period – either voluntarily or through consolidation. I was fortunate in that through perseverance, I was able to stay at the forefront of the industry’s trends – transitioning from retail marketing to digital downloads and ultimately to strategic brand partnerships.

Interscope Records – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My role at Interscope is to put together strategic partnerships between our artists and brands. So this can range from anything like an artist being the face of a global campaign to music being used in a national TV commercial. When done correctly, there’s a really great value-add for both the artist and the brand: the artist can help drive affinity and cultural relevance to the brand and the brand is able to amplify visibility for the artist or their music through its heightened budgets or resources. I’m fortunate in that at Interscope I’m able to work with the best roster of artists on the planet. From superstars like Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, etc to the top breaking acts in music – Dermot Kennedy, Lil Mosey, Yungblud, Tierra Whack, Louis the Child, etc.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
In addition to partnering artists with brands, it’s rewarding to also help artists bring their own brands to life. One such example is Mad Tasty, founded by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. Ryan and I have known each other for years via various brand campaigns that we’ve done. But when he wanted to launch his own brand – a best in class sparkling water with no sugar and 20 mg of CBD, I was happy to help in that process. And the end result is amazing; the brand truly is the best sparkling water CBD in the market – from the beautiful packaging to the fantastic flavor profile. And on top of that, it has an incredible philanthropic one-for-one giveback in which it donates 12 ounces of clean drinking water to people and places in need for every 12 ounces sold. It does that through an organization called Drop4Drop, which builds clean water wells around the world. Seeing retailers around the country sell the product and consumers loving its taste and wellness benefits – all while helping address an important humanitarian issue – is particularly gratifying.

Pricing:

  • $30 for a 6-pack

Image Credit:
MAD TASTY

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