Plus One: Atlantic Records’ Brian Dackowski on Breaking New Artists
Plus One: Brian Dackowski
Title: VP of Marketing at Atlantic Records
Words Miranda Johnson
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of XXL Magazine featuring our 2015 XXL Freshman Class. Check out everything from our Freshman issue right here.
Brian “Busy” Dackowski made connections in college that he’s built an entire career from. The current VP of Marketing at Atlantic Records and co-head of the label’s The Shop division, Dackowski joined the behemoth company back in 2004 upon graduation from New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce College, after making a bit of a name for himself via his college radio show. The New York native would get exclusive hip-hop records while visiting home and play them on his show, later adding interviews to his spiel.
As the VP of Marketing at Atlantic, Dackowski, 33, is involved with everything from promo runs to digital marketing to cover art and has worked with artists including Jay Z, Diddy, T.I., Trey Songz, Action Bronson and more. Now with The Shop, a division of Atlantic that takes lesser-known talent and builds up their fanbases, Dackowski is heavily involved in artist development, and has been mostly recently focused on releases from Ty Dolla $ign, Kap G, O.T. Genasis and more.
XXL caught up with Dackowski to talk about his journey and how to help guide rappers’ careers.
ON BREAKING NEW ARTISTS
Brian Dackowski: A lot of artists will come to me and they’ll have a great body of work and they’re like, “Let’s hold this for my album.” I’m always like, “If you’re a good artist, you should be able to put out like 10 of those. Let’s put it out now.” Everyone is relying on the Internet to break new artists, but I still think there’s a lot of importance that’s done outside of that. It’s definitely important to still pay attention to radio stations and stuff on the street level. You can never really hold back; take advantage of every opportunity.
ON STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE
I think it’s important to stay on top of everything that’s going on in music. [Knowing] what’s going on with your favorite artist or the groundbreaking stuff that’s going on with all these streaming services. When I was a young kid, my favorite part of not only listening to my favorite album, was reading the credits. That’s where I really got an understanding of how a record label really works. There’s all these different things. I feel that that’s important for a person to understand early on, to make you a threat to stand out from the rest.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING MUSIC EXECS
Try not to stay pigeonholed into one thing. I’m in a very unique situation where I touch all the different departments. I think that helps me understand and educate my artists. I let them know about all the different things they need to do and be aware of. I think you should always strive for more.