Dean Cramer is founder of the music site
Kings of A&R which disrupted the music industry and the traditional way of
finding artists. He has been featured on CNN, UK’s Financial Times, Billboard
Mag, & Spin Mag. The tastemaker music site that features upcoming artists
first gained popularity in 1999 with its first-in-kind entertainment blog and
industry newsletter. Kings of A&R is well known for setting tastes in
music, discovering unknown talent, and placing A-list artists on their blog
before rising to stardom. Some early mentions include Twenty One Pilots, The
Killers, The Fray, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga among others.
Kings of A&R was first created in 1999 says Dean Cramer. “It was the one of the first music blogs. I created the site when I was working for a music label in New York City. I wanted to see if I could pick the HITS and the upcoming artists. I found a web coder in Canada and created this one-page column site that I could edit myself. Mind you, I started the site before MYspace and social media existed. Billboard wasn’t even online. The internet was pretty much an empty canvas”.
“I started featuring artists and those artists began to attract interest. We profiled artists such as the Killers, The Fray, and One Republic. It got to the point when we featured an artist, they started packing out trendy hotspots around the world attracting entertainment execs looking for the next big artist. Then I started making friends with managers, producers, songwriters, and music label execs. Ironically, they were asking me for advice. They started sending me artists and wanted my opinion.
I’ll never forget when we were sent the band One Republic. We had the first recording of the mega-hit track Apologize. This was before they had any type of deal. I uploaded the mp3 to the site. A few days later the hosting company emailed me telling me I was overloading their server. I was a bit confused. I asked them what was slowing down their server and they pointed to an mp3 which was Apologize. It was being downloaded thousands of times. I wasn’t surprised that the song became a huge smash hit”.
“I was a friend of a band that had signed with A&M records. I met the manager of the band who became my mentor teaching me the ins and outs of the business. He made me tour manager of the band and I ended up traveling with the band overseas to Brazil and the Czech Republic.
My funniest moment? I was managing an artist who was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. I packed my suitcase and was off to NYC. The suitcase was big and filled with clothes because I was going on the road with the artist right after the award ceremony. The day of the music awards I lost my phone and the taxi cab driver drove off with my suitcase. I can laugh about it now. A truly memorable day”.
“Well, you have to tell an inspirational story. You want to be relatable since your fans are imagining themselves as you. You want to be suspenseful. Audiences love a good journey on an uneven pavement. Never be afraid to share your struggles. Having special songs precedes everything. I always want to be around hungry artists that want to win. Obviously artists that don’t fear failure. I mean, failure and set backs are part of winning. But artists that learn from failure are the ones who are more out to win. The key is to stay in the game and give yourself chances to win