Dennis Gelbaum named Chief Operating Officer & Chief Marketing Officer at The Septien Entertainment Group
It has been almost a 7-month search for the right Chief Operating Officer to take my place in operating our growing Septien Entertainment Group. To find someone who has a mix of marketing and operations to run a company of 500 singers/musicians ALL working for a career in …..music is a daunting task. And for me to let go to allow someone else to run our company so that I could develop some key projects was even harder! Because of the power of our 25-year history as well as the number of successful artists, SEG has attracted a number of key players ask-ing for partnerships. It seems everyone wants content (singers) and because of the number of singers we have, our reputation, and our alumni in California that are hooking us up with some great opportunities, the SEPTIEN ENTERTAINMENT GROUP is expanding by adding alliances that will grow into a full blown record label and distribution center.
It was becoming tougher for me to both direct all of our growing programs and implement strategic partnerships, as it takes much research to weed out the ones that don’t seek the same missions as Septien. I have seen too many not so good things and know the bad endings to too many stories. Even if a client doesn’t agree with me, I have many clients return to say thank you after all is said and done. Many companies do not have the best interest of minors as well as adult singers. This music business is a tough business and demands feet on the ground implanting seeds for emerging artists i.e. the price is hefty.
I have been presented with some really interesting opportunities that I resisted simply because I was trying to remain as a boutique company and knew if I made the next step I would have to live in Hollyweird most of the time. But then I had to ask myself what my reason was for having an entertainment company in the first place. Was it to help people reach their dreams? Why did SEG develop all these relationships and then not offer them to our artists? Why not just teach lessons and that’s it? Why teach social media, pay for someone to do EPK’s, train in expert stage presence or continue to hone the Internet every night for the latest greatest in every app?
I realized that all my years way back I started so small with only 40 artists and just taught them to sing. Then I felt the urge to teach them how to write, and then perform. then introduce them to the world of fans, labels, attorneys, managers, and great songwriters. But why? 16,000 students/clients later, Seg HAS developed great relationships, but more importantly we have learned what not to do….how to develop artists by speaking truth and not by making them believe they are more than they are at the present time. They MUST know the road ahead whether it is popular or not. This industry is hard and the artist must be prepared to take the coarseness of what the music industry will hand to them. There are but a few that can withstand it.
When social media stepped in, it changed the music world. The medium became as important as the product itself. And that is what caused me to step back. I didn’t want to admit that social media was the branding of today, monetization was how we now made our money and that just having a hit tune wasn’t enough, having a great voice was not enough, having the cute factor was only a brief passing moment. And for my older artists who have 100’s of songs? Unless their songs got on a TV program, Grey’s Anatomy, a gaming program, or on Spotify as a top hit, they weren’t going anywhere. But I knew the truth…They get paid less than a small percent of 1 cent for any streaming song. Should I teach that?
So, in January of this year I had to decide to step up or step back. Our company was growing in spite of my desire to hold on to the leashes. My dilemma was my younger artists. My heart is torn between pushing them to have a very dedicated, artist life at an early age, or enjoy a simple paced life with friends and actual holidays that they don’t have to perform in!
As a mother myself, I UNDERSTAND the heart of a child and my first dilemma in doing what I do was whether SEG should push them toward the excellence needed to gain branding at an early age or just let them take lessons and go to regular school. I still don’t have the answer, but I DO know there are just some tween and teen singers that need more. They are our entertainers and they thrive under more pressure, more challenge and more goals. When I was growing up, I would have LOVED to have had the opportunities that these artists have had. I did teach both my boys to understand to love people first but to be savvy in their quests.
With the many changes that occur daily in the entertainment world, true artist development companies need the same amount of employees that Major labels need! You cannot run a company with less than a team of individuals constantly keeping up with today’s market. Our 60+ hours per employee per week can’t even cover it! I know why record companies are seeking us out for help as they cannot employ and manage the artist’s development phase any longer. Just to have a simple A.D. company like ours it requires, a social media expert, a full time booking director, full time graphics and video, sales person, schedulers, accountants, camp directors and CEO and CMO! And our recent addition of MISS TEXAS who REALLY UNDERSTANDS INTERVIEWS and addressing a crowd (she was also the runner up for Miss America) is the person we have been looking for, for many years. We also needed an expert voice over person that could help our artists to make money with their voices……Our already amazing teachers presently who all represent a different art are the finest to me in the world. We are happy to add our voice over specialist, Katie, to our team as well.
In redirecting our company toward true artist development, we did have to move out to our New York, Miami and L.A. relationships. But I don’t say this to entice anyone. IN fact, I would rather discourage those that are on the fence. Unless you have an incredible work ethic, extremely talented because you have done your 10,000 hours as so adequately expressed in the book that featured our company, The Talent Code, and amazing ability to understand viral marketing and are willing to do this every single day for the rest of your life, it does no good to take lessons every day unless your goal is to sing in a choir or open mike nights. That’s just the truth. Cuz the real truth is Septien nor any company can do it for you. I can introduce you to the right people, but it does you NO good unless luck meets opportunity with a strong work ethic. And as parents we CANNOT be the work ethic for our children.
So when we decided to go forward with a true artist development company that hooks up artists with sponsors, artists with publishers and artists with the right A & R, we knew we would find only a few artists that could make the cut. There are not many with that understanding because too many are swallowed in drama of day to day silliness and the false hope that has been told to these young minds to ever know what it really takes to be a leader, star, and example. Sometimes we parents are far more preoccupied in what our children can do for our image in being a good parent rather than the healthiness of the singer. I struggled with this as well.
It is a tough tightrope but I decided I must speak out for the ones that are destined to be leaders to guide others to be their best. I see them every day and they are out there. They are not everyone..They are only a few.
So I had to find the right Chief Operating Officer who had the experience that could add to what we do have…I do think I found the right person to help take those singers who truly have all of the above. As I stated there are only a few….just a few who can understand the work needed to rise above the rest. Septien will always teach those who just want to learn to sing, but our goal is to help those who want to rise to the top whether through the world of entertainment or the top CEO of their company.
Dennis Gelbaum is an international award winning Creative Director, Producer, Director, Author, and Inventor. Dennis has worked with clients internationally, creating, producing and directing hundreds of TV commercials, music videos, live multimedia events (private and corporate events, concerts, tours, festivals, fairs), multimedia interactive presentations (meetings, product launches, in-store/mall promotions and museum exhibits), corporate awareness and fundraising films/videos and hours of long/short form programming and content for theatrical release, broadcast, web and mobile.
Dennis is the former Chief Operating Officer and Executive Creative Director of Tourdesign Creative Services (a multimedia creative and production resource company – a Live Nation company) where he worked with the biggest performing artists/tours, major record labels, top-market radio stations, broadcast networks, feature film producers/studios and hundreds of live event venues throughout the world and is acclaimed at selling more tickets to live events than any promoter.
Gelbaum was also the CEO/ECD of Ramp it Up Entertainment, a full service creative boutique, brand experience agency and multimedia production company where he produced brand funded content and live, interactive branding experiences to motivate, inspire and change how people talk, act, think and feel about brands.
Dennis’ credits include publishing a novel and a book of poetry, inventing one of the best selling pet products featured at The Sharper Image, managing the development of websites, ecommerce and social networks for performing artists, producing/directing music videos, launching the Nintendo Wii, (creating “Get Fit With Alyson”, a web based series starring Alyson Stoner – star of Cheaper By The Dozen, Camp Rock…), directing promos to launch City Folk-Animal Crossing, Guitar Hero, the #1 music video game in the world, launching Nintendo DSI, Wii Music, producing commercials for major toy brands, writing/directing a campaign to support Texas Special Olympics and relaunching Bazooka Bubble Gum –
Dennis will be focused on promoting Septien’s artist roster, developing merchandise/ecommerce platforms, creating unique partnerships, overseeing interactive multimedia marketing, promotional, global event programs and media (PR) efforts. With an emphasis on artist brand development and performance, social innovation and inbound digital marketing strategies, Dennis will be creating innovative strategies that will support our Septien Clients goals from journal to reality!