The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Universal Music Enterprises, Sujata Murthy
We are honored to feature today’s Front & Center subject and 2016 She Rocks Award recipient, Sujata Murthy Senior Vice President, Public Relations, at Universal Music Enterprises (UME).
Leading her team, she is responsible for creating, as well as spearheading, media campaigns across traditional and emerging platforms across UMe’s repertoire. UMe has been recognized as the top Catalog label for 2012, 2013 and 2014, based on performance according to Billboard Magazine.
UMe is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for Universal Music Group. Representing some of the most influential and legendary recording artists of the last 100 years, UMG has the most extensive catalog of music in the industry including: ABBA, Louis Armstrong, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Patsy Cline, John Coltrane, The Commodores, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Peggy Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, Nirvana, The Police, Smokey Robinson, Rolling Stones, Rush, Frank Sinatra, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, The Supremes, The Temptations, U2, Muddy Waters, Barry White, Hank Williams, The Who, and Amy Winehouse.
Learn more at www.universalmusicenterprises.com.
WiMN: Can you walk us through the steps of overseeing and developing a media campaign for a UMe artist?
SM: Media campaigns for our artists are viewed with a global perspective. We coordinate with our territories around the world to schedule everything in a highly synchronized manner – from when we break information, to where an artist will be on street week/release week. We first have a conversation with the artist and their team to understand their vision and goals for the artist and the project. We then work collaboratively to develop a long-range plan that will achieve the greatest success for both the artist and label.
WiMN: What have been some of the most exciting campaigns you’ve ever worked on?
SM: I have had the honor and privilege of personally working with artists that are known as the “originals” of the great American songbook, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andrews Sisters, Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Mercer Ellington, Nancy Wilson, George Shearing, Margaret Whiting, Kay Starr, Jo Stafford, Ella Mae Morse, Keely Smith, John Raitt, Paul Weston, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Just a few of the amazing artists that I’ve worked with over the years from the rock, pop, country, and R&B genre include The Beatles, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Megadeth, KISS, Cat Stevens/Yusuf, Supertramp, Chuck Berry, BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Heart, Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd, Who, Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys, Beach Boys, The Band, Elton John, Richard Marx, The Police, Radiohead, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn, Glenn Campbell, Garth Brooks, Andy Griffith, Stan Freberg, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Hammer, Rick James, Mary Wilson, Four Tops, Temptations, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, and Motley Crüe.
WiMN: What do you think is the biggest key to success in the field of public relations?
SM: I believe the key to success in PR or any field is adaptability. Things are always changing direction – sometimes simple like last-minute schedule revisions. More complex scenarios include introducing and working with emerging technology and new media.
WiMN: What is one of your biggest career milestones?
SM: My artist opening the Grammys.
WiMN: Have you ever faced adversity in the music industry simply for being a woman? If so, how did you overcome it?
SM: Women are a minority in the music industry. I had to work twice as hard to be noticed and did not give up until I achieved my goals. I have been an active mentor to others and, I hope, forged a path for other women to follow.
WiMN: What is a little-known fact about you?
SM: I’m a Texas girl – I grew up in Houston. When I’m relaxing with family and friends, I speak with a slight Texas accent. This also probably explains my love of George Strait. And there is nothing like good BBQ or a Friday Night Lights marathon.
WiMN: Do you have advice for young women who might be considering a career in the music industry?
SM: My advice is to explore all the possibilities. A music industry job is not limited to a label, management or agency. Music can be a part of almost anything. Like the talent you work with, be creative!
WiMN: What does it mean to you to receive a She Rocks Award?
SM: It’s an honor to be recognized by WIMN. They have created a much-needed organization to connect women in the industry and create a powerful network of strength and support. I’m humbled to be in the company of Chaka Khan, Leslie Ann Jones and the other past and current recipients.
WiMN: What one piece of advice would you give to young aspiring female musicians looking to make it big in the music business?
SM: You are responsible for your success. Let the experts do their part for your career, but oversee all aspects and be comfortable with your choices and direction. Learn as much as you can about all aspects – from radio to touring to advertising and more – as this will give you a better understanding of the overall business.