Interview With

Sam Alpert

Paradigm Talent Agency


Sam Alpert

Senior Vice President of Marketing

Paradigm Talent Agency

University of Vermont

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

(concentration in marketing)

Columbia College Chicago

Masters in Arts Management

(concentration in music business)


After college, I started by interning at Burlington, VT, music venues Higher Ground and Nectars. I also interned at a boutique music agency, The Booking Agency.


The Paradigm tour marketing department has handled urban tours like we do with any other genre of tour.  First things first, we work with the artist team to identify what their overall goals are and build a strategy to help them achieve those goals on a specific tour.  Those goals can range from radio, selling albums, collecting data, maximizing revenue to just simply selling tickets.

80% of the time a management team will answer, “just sell the tour out,” so we build strategies that focus on that.  In other cases, it’s about leveraging the tour to get a top 5 album and/or increase radio airplay in conjunction with selling tickets.  From there, we’ll work closely with artist teams, the label and promoters to build a plan that helps achieve that.

For rap & hip-hop specific campaigns, we found the most traction in 3 different areas:  digital, radio, and engaging influencers on a national and local level. Like any campaign, digital campaigns are very much focused on where the audience lives and doing research on affinity artists and interests, creating look-a-likes, collecting data to leverage throughout the campaign and timing our spends.  

Great content is key to maximize your digital strategy.  If the content isn’t up to par with what the audience expects from the artist, it is very hard to engage that audience. 

Depending on the type of urban artist, radio can be a very big component to reach the target audience.  We work closely with label and radio promo teams to identify the right station(s) in each market, help manage the politics involved with multiple stations in the market and work closely with promoters to figure out packages to get them involved right from the beginning

With influencers, and in some cases sub-promoters, we try to find ways to leverage their audiences -- both digitally and physically -- in the market to hit an audience we may not be hitting with our other marketing.

As urban music flourishes, the urban live business is only going to follow suit.  The agents at Paradigm and our promoter partners have done an amazing job of creating a hard ticket business and creating value for our urban leaning clients:  hard ticket value creates opportunities with festivals, brand partnerships, soft ticket plays and more.


Significantly and we find it changes every 6-8 months.  Anyone trying to reach an artist’s audience must have a digital and social media strategy. Social media and digital platforms are constantly changing their objectives to effectively reach that audience, so our team must be on top of those changes on a consistent basis.  Collecting data and the rules to be able to leverage that data has changed. In order for our team to continue to succeed, we have to stay on top of how our digital environment is evolving and know when to take advantage of new and existing platforms.  I really challenge my team and myself to stay on top of that.


With respect to tour marketing and selling tickets, not too much.  Some artists are very much streaming artists and have built their careers off of that.  When it comes to selling tickets though, the number of streams does not necessarily equal the number of tickets we are going to sell in any given market.  

A stream is a low commitment to a consumer, but a concert ticket ranges between $10-$65 or more with fees.  Our goal is to develop marketing strategies that excite consumers to spend their disposable income on our artists.  I think where we benefit are platforms like Spotify that offer pre-sales to their super fans. Being able to plug into that has shown significant value in raising awareness of what the artist has going on.  


The managers and the artists.  Artists can distribute their records directly and control their imaging online, and with the right content, a little bit of luck, and the right strategy, artists have an opportunity to build an audience and demand without relying on a label infrastructure.  With that said, a infrastructure, like a label or marketing company, can provide the resources, relationships and expertise to help build a strategy and execute that strategy.

Spotify is very much in the driver’s seat as well.  Playlists have become the new radio for many artists and getting onto the right playlist can be key to reach a mass audience.  Those gatekeepers in certain genres very much hold the cards. As I noted before, in most cases, it is what you do after you reach that audience to build a business.


Building the tour marketing department at Paradigm. In 4 years, we’ve grown to a 12 person team across the New York, LA and Nashville offices and I can confidently say we are competing with the best.  We also did it our way, hiring and training the right people for the job, establishing our standard, and providing a value service to the agency that will live from now on. I’m so proud of what we’re going right now.  And it’s not me, it’s our tour marketing team. They really work their ass off, they are motivated and excited to be doing tour marketing. They deserve all the credit.