Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael van der Roest.
Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Some of my fondest memories while growing up were shuffling through my parent’s old cassette tapes and vinyl. Each tape held a new surprise, a new glorious experience. I remember shoving in a Jimmy Hendrix cassette, quickly listening to a section, and then swapping it out with Stevie Ray Vaughan to hear the differences/similarities. I never knew what to expect before hitting “play,” especially at the age of 7. Each tape was like hearing music for the first time.
It’s safe to say that music has always played a major role in my life. I even jammed out to Michael McDonald while my mom was pregnant with me (a slight head bang). Starting at a young age, I took piano lessons and played the guitar. I even started my high school’s radio station. I began working on the business side in my late teens/early 20s by managing local producers and artists. I helped book and promote at the Detroit Bar (where Steve Aoki, Cold War Kids, Modest Mouse, Young The Giant, Capital Cities and Shiny Toy Guns got their start), Yost Theater and Sutra (Now Time) which were some of the iconic venues in OC. As my network expanded, I joined forces with Till Dawn Group where I booked and promoted talent in Orange County, LA and Las Vegas.
Simultaneously, I became the Business Development Manager for fotoShout, a marketing/promotional photography solution that dramatically improves post-event ROI, brand awareness and sponsor funding for corporate, music and sporting events. I continued to work in the corporate technology industry with TK Carsites and Cadence9 where I lead content marketing and SEO related initiatives.
I eventually hit a moment of realization in 2012 that couldn’t be ignored – music. I didn’t want it to just be a side hustle. There was always an instilled passion that I was not capitalizing on or pursuing to my fullest potential. I continuously pushed things off because of economic factors and shear hesitation. It’s terrifying to jump into an industry where most people fail and many hold out just to scrape by.
It required a new mindset and determination to really jump into uncharted waters. There was so much uncertainty about diving head first into an industry that gobbles up and spits out so many. I’d personally seen this with friends and family. But this uncertainty drove even more desire. It’s exhilarating to take chances. You aren’t living if you don’t drive fast and take chances! I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. You already fail if you don’t try at all.
With my newfound focus, I decided to go back to school to complete my bachelors in Business Marketing at Chapman University in Orange, California. Upon graduating, my attention turned directly toward LA and to climb into a career that could capitalize on my passion.
The door eventually opened to join Angry Mob Music Publishing in LA where I helped administer copywrites, catalog metadata, registrations, marketing and sync/licensing opportunities. Songwriters/creatives on the Angry Mob’s roster included Jamiroquai, Pepper, Ben Browning (Cut Copy), Mat Zo, Matt Lange, The Expendables, Knox Hamilton, Kid Wave, Chaos Chaos, dePresno, Simon Shackleton, Stanton Warriors and many more.
During this time, I was always looking for new ways to offer organic value to emerging and developed artists. I also knew that I wanted to harness my entrepreneurial drive to make this happen on my own terms.
The opportunity eventually presented itself after building a friendship with Mark Allen. We connected through Ben Browning (who Mark manages) from Cut Copy. We met and spoke about the state of the industry and areas of growth. We both brought different backgrounds to the table and knew we would be able to drive real value by providing marketing and custom release campaigns. Blossom Agency was born in January 2017 and now provides PR, management, influencer marketing and creative services.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Let’s be honest… cashflow, scaling services and adapting to change are major challenges.
Cashflow – Starting any company from scratch will create cashflow issues. We didn’t have any investors, nor were we trust fund babies. It was make or break for us…no fallback. We eat what we kill and it is what we make of things. Luckily, in this day and age, we just need a phone, internet and laptop to make an impact. I couldn’t have been happier when we locked in our first single and music video release campaign. It was just the start. Now, a good challenge to have is managing cashflow.
Scaling services – After some initial success, there was a point where we hit a plateau. We were creating completely custom marketing and release campaigns. This was a huge benefit to our clients since we generated results to almost every touch point – content creation, social media, digital press, paid ads, bios, EPKs, newsletters, etc. However, it placed Blossom in a difficult position to grow. We understood that each artist is unique, with different goals and initiatives, but we were not able to duplicate this formula for each client while being able to scale our business. While we truly care about the success of each and every campaign, it was equally important for us to not hinder results by spreading ourselves too thin. To provide real value for our clients, we needed to have focus. We eventually narrowed down our services to the areas we were strongest. Ultimately, scaling our services didn’t take away from the personalization/customization that we started out with. It actually allowed us to improve our campaigns and optimize results.
Adapting to change – The majority of us don’t like change, but there’s nothing more powerful than embracing it. The industry changes every day and it’s up to Blossom to keep a constant pulse on things. We’re always paying attention to emerging technologies, distribution, royalties, brand sponsorships, influencer marketing, streaming platforms, social media, VR and new ways to create original content. We’ve had to make many shifts in the way we conduct business by being agile. It’s important to not get too attached to certain processes. There’s nothing worse than being a dinosaur in 2018.
Blossom Agency – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m the Co-founder of Blossom Agency – an entertainment agency with departments dedicated to publicity, artist management, influencer marketing and creatives. Our boutique agency has been able to develop custom campaigns that fit the specific needs and goals for each client. Our relationships with tastemakers, journalists, labels, agents, managers, agencies and brands have allowed us to open doors and extend new opportunities for our roster and clients.
Publicity – Music/artist campaigns range from singles, EPs, LPs, tour press, music videos and Spotify playlisting. We also provide our marketing/PR services for fashion brands and companies in almost every industry, who are looking to extend their brand awareness. Whether it’s a new startup, product launch or event, we’re able to deliver a custom and holistic approach to PR. We craft your story and identity to become news-worthy. We have an extensive network of press contacts and taste-makers to secure publicity for your latest project through digital, print, radio and TV outlets.
Past/Present Management and PR Campaigns include – Omar LinX, Malia, Jacob Lee, Omar Apollo, Night Drive, Knightfall (Members of Strange Talk), Strapped MFG, Mahalo, Sam Sparro, Satin jackets, Bag Raiders, Evan Blum, Sean Gast, Intergalactix (Members of Earth, Wind & Fire, Jason Mraz and Sugar Ray), Shuhandz, Flo Chase, Sugar High Podcast, Luv Drunk, Philly K, Angelina Lavo, Understated Records, Black Marble Collective, Kareen Lomax, Dimez, DJ RAP, Cara Frew, Yoyo Nosa and more.
Influencer Marketing – We catapult brand reach and ROI by partnering with brands and our roster of Influencers. Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing avenues for brand awareness. It is the ideal way to combine word-of-mouth recommendations with a measurable return on investment. People no longer trust traditional advertising. Influencers have a built in audience with real relationships and established trust. It’s all about finding the right fit between brand and influencer who share the same values. Messaging is everything, so it’s imperative that a brand partnership or integration aligns with both the influencer’s and brand’s identity. We have over 20 influencers on our roster that combine for a social reach of approximately 30 million.
Creative – We pride ourselves on crafting compelling, unique, and newsworthy stories. It is in that same spirit that we provide an array of creative talent to execute your artistic vision. We represent a variety of handpicked photographers, videographers and artists that develop high quality content that reflects your authentic brand and identity. Our creative roster works with musicians and brands to develop original and eye-catching content. Past projects include Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Gucci, Blink 182, and Panic! At The Disco, Comedy Central, BMW and the NFL. We now have 11 people on our creative roster. More Here – https://www.theblossomagency.com/creative-services/
Proud about / sets us apart – I’m proud of the fact that we have successfully created a symbiotic ecosystem within Blossom. Everything we’re doing – PR, management, brand partnerships, influencer marketing and creative content services – all work together as one. Even though they’re completely different services, each one feeds into the other.
There’s also no better feeling than knowing that Blossom was able to add value. At the end of the day, we only succeed if our clients succeed. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love and while working with such talented people.
We went from a 2 man team in 2017 to a team of 8 in 2018.
We are architects of buzz and masters of counsel who help guide your craft. We help you be heard.
More about Mark Allen:
With a passion for helping artists achieve their unique creative vision and success, Mark Allen brings some no-nonsense New York flavor to the music industry in Los Angeles. In his early days, he worked as a concert lighting designer at the Knitting Factory, an assistant at Noise Problem Booking, a marketing assistant at Webster Hall, and a publicist for Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. He shifted gears and lived abroad in Berlin, Germany for two years working with Boys Noize Records and Yellow Year Records. In the summer 2014 he made his way to Los Angeles to team up with Vitalic Noise and his roster for management including Beacon, Ben Browning (of Cut Copy), Sam Sparro, Craig Williams, and more recently Brian Justin Crum, TWINKIDS, and Handsome Ghost. For Publicity he has worked with notable artists such as Bag Raiders, Guy Sebastian, Malia, Omar Linx, Night Drive, and the Pa’l Norte Festival in Monterrey, Mexico while co-founded the Blossom Agency alongside business partner Michael van der Roest. He currently owns and operates DEVISE Magazine and his talk radio show Creators Studio airs every Wednesday on Dash Talk Radio.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For Blossom, it’s imperative to set goals, KPIs and ROI measurements. We frequently set short-term and long-term goals for the company – profit, revenue, number of campaigns, artist signings and partnerships.
As for the artist, influencers, brands, and creatives, they are each so different. Sometimes we’re looking at social impressions and conversions for brands. Streams and hard ticket sales are a huge factor in measuring success with artists. Influencers need to be able to have continued social growth and engagement. Creatives need to quickly understand and produce badass content that reflects the client’s vision (with few revisions). However, it starts with creating expectations. We won’t know what success looks like for each scenario unless we set goals/KPIs.
The measurement of personal success is completely subjective. I feel like there are specific wins that reflect progress through relationships, overcoming internal struggles, family, business, health, mind and soul. But as I continue to grow and hit specific goals, the expectations increase. There’s always a sense of having a glass half empty instead of looking from the perspective of half full. We may always be incontinent, reaching for more or pursuing the next best thing. I never want to settle but I’m truly happy with where I am now and what’s yet to come…more.
If you’re comfortable with where you are and what you’re doing, make a change. Ruffle some feathers. Get out there and take chances. Most importantly, we can’t please everyone. We all have a built in compass that’s different than anyone else. Follow your gut but remember your reputation is everything. It takes a lifetime to build and a moment to come crashing down.
- Website: https://www.theblossomagency.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blossomagencyla/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlossomAgencyLA/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlossomAgencyLA