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: Reverb PR and Communications Manager, Heather Farr
by Myki Angeline
When it comes to media relations, Heather Farr truly excels. As the PR and Communications Manager for Reverb.com – the highly successful website for buying and selling new and used music gear – Farr goes that extra step to ensure the company is top notch in providing product information, advice, product quality, demonstrations, and pricing. Her background in music and journalism, along with her intense drive to succeed, are the traits that make Farr an ideal candidate for the WiMN’s Front and Center feature!
I had the honor of interviewing Heather Farr, and learned a great deal more about her road to success, and the other incredible projects she is involved with.
Visit the Reverb website here.
WiMN: How did you become interested in music as a child and what led you to a career in this industry?
HF: My dad is a huge music buff. Some of my earliest memories include listening to records with him and being quizzed on band names, album titles, and song lyrics. It was a huge part of my childhood. As I got older, I started to gravitate toward the jam band scene and eventually became completely obsessed with Relix, a music magazine out of New York City. There was a brief and slightly embarrassing period in high school when I wrote the editor every day, asking if I could be an intern. He eventually wrote me back and asked that I reach out when I am in college. So during my freshman year at Ohio University, I showed up to Relix’s NYC office with my resume in hand and got an internship for the following summer.
After that summer, I continued to freelance for Relix Magazine. Upon graduation, I got into the tech industry, but was able to keep my pulse on music through my freelance writing. When Reverb posted the opening for a PR/Communications Manager, it was the perfect opportunity to merge my experience in tech and my passion for music.
WiMN: Tell us about your title and responsibilities with Reverb, and a little about the company itself. What makes Reverb stand out as a company?
HF: Reverb.com is the online marketplace for buying, selling, and learning about new and used music gear. Since launching in 2013, Reverb has grown into the most popular music gear website in the world, with more than eight million monthly visitors perusing the site for everything from guitars, drums, and keyboards to DJ equipment, orchestra instruments, music software, and more.
As a marketplace, Reverb is different because it’s built for musicians by musicians. Each day, we use the platform and communicate with our users to figure out what features, tools, and services will make Reverb the easiest place to buy and sell music gear. For example, we have the Reverb Price Guide, which aggregates real-time transactional info to help users understand the value of the gear they’re buying and selling. We also create daily gear demos, artist interviews, industry news articles, tips and tricks videos, and more to help users learn about the instruments they’re buying and selling – and discover new gear they didn’t even know they wanted. Finally, our fees are lower than eBay and other alternatives, which means more money in sellers’ pockets and lower prices for buyers.
As PR and Communications Manager, I essentially help spread the word about all the great things we have going on within the company. I do that by keeping my ear to the ground at the office to uncover interesting stories and case studies, staying in close contact with the media and ensuring that reporters have everything they need to create compelling stories, drafting news releases, identifying awards and speaking opportunities to showcase our expertise, and more.
WiMN: What is it about public relations work that interests you?
HF: While public relations encompasses a lot of different areas, I particularly love media relations. To find success with the media, you have to dive deep into your organization (or into your clients) to uncover the most interesting information, stories, and people. It’s exciting because you are constantly learning new things. I actually have a degree in journalism and originally went to school to be a reporter. PR allows me to put on my journalist hat to determine the “why” of what we’re doing and saying.
WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been challenges?
HF: In both my position at Reverb and my side gig as a music freelance writer, my experience as a woman in the industry has been positive. I’ve been fortunate to have incredible bosses, mentors, and peers – both male and female – to look up to and help me navigate the waters. Of course, it is frustrating to look at the industry as a whole and not see quite as many female faces looking back at me, but the faces I do see are fierce.
WiMN: Tell us about some of your current projects you’re working on with Reverb.
HF: At NAMM, we announced the Beta launch of Reverb Sites – a service that helps sellers create their own website to better promote their music gear business online. The templates are beautiful and they’re insanely easy for small retailers or individual gear sellers to set up without wasting time and money. I had the opportunity to chat with some of our users at NAMM about the service and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into the tool as we look ahead to the official launch.
This year, I’m also looking forward to chatting with more of our users and helping them tell their stories – whether it’s the mom-and-pop shop that was able to create an entirely new revenue stream thanks to Reverb or the individual seller who started a Reverb shop and was eventually able to quit his job to sell music gear full-time. Our community houses some incredible stories. Along those same lines, we’ve got some fun artist shops in the works. In the past, we’ve helped everyone from Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy to Ray Lamontagne sell their gear, and looking forward, we have some exciting stuff in store.
WiMN: Describe a day in the life of Heather Farr.
HF: I start each day workday with a large to-do list and a larger cup of coffee and by the end of the day, only the latter gets finished. I think it’s safe to say that the chaos of PR attracts a certain type of person that secretly loves the unpredictability of it all. But in general, on any given day, you’ll find me doing lots of reading: About the industry, about competitors, about other people and businesses who are doing innovative things. I also do a lot of writing and brainstorming.
WiMN: What are some positive changes you aspire to make in the industry?
HF: Music has been such a positive force in my life and I’d love to help more young girls find strength, confidence, and happiness in it. I have six nieces who are lucky to have not only dance, piano, and other music-based activities in their lives, but also strong, positive female role models – and it pains me to think that’s not the case for every little girl. That’s why last month, I started as a volunteer marketing consultant at Girl’s Rock! Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering girls’ creative expression, self-esteem, and community awareness through music.
WiMN: Do you play any instruments? Who are some of your role models?
HF: I dabble in acoustic guitar and I just purchased a ukelele. I’ve been taking group and individual guitar lessons for more than a year and I am just now feeling confident enough to call myself a guitar player. My guitar teacher has been an incredible role model. She brings so much passion and excitement to class that you can’t help but fall in love with the learning process. She’s also insanely patient and patience is definitely something we could all practice more.
WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes…
HF: “Decide what to be and go be it.”