Work Diaries: Artist Partnerships Lead who develops and delivers opportunities for artists
We’re peeling back the curtains with our series, Work Diaries, where you can experience inner workings of YouTube. How do decisions get made? What goes into a product, feature or policy? We’re asking YouTube employees to give us the low-down during a five-day period.
9:45 a.m. - My at-home coffee recipe is Chemex drip with coconut creamer. This morning I’m also drinking water with electrolyte mix, a WFH-era fav that helps me avoid headaches. I’m coming back from a week out of office and spend some time swimming through my inbox.
1:00 p.m. - Monday check-in with Joanna, the talent booker for our weekly YouTube Originals show, RELEASED, which recently started its second season. This week’s episode is with J Balvin and Khalid. We make plans to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month on the show in May, review data on artist leads, and update our booking spreadsheet. We will touch base approximately 100 more times this week, to keep offers moving and teams aligned.
2:15 p.m. - Interview a candidate for a role on our Music Solutions team. Considering others fairly is a significant responsibility and privilege; I ask each candidate the same set of questions and take detailed notes.
4:30 p.m. - Sync with Kevin from our Culture & Trends team. We stay connected so that programs and bookings I work on reflect the trends Kevin’s team researches. We watch a video that’s blowing up this week, and predict that Artist On The Rise alum Rod Wave will go No. 1. (Spoiler alert, he does.)
Today’s song: L'Rain - Two Face (Official Video)
10:00 a.m. - Catch up with Viv, who heads all things artists at YouTube. There’s a lot to cover.
11:30 a.m. - Call with the agency partner for our artist grants programs in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. We’re preparing to kick off a new round of Foundry, a program for independent artists. We talk about what being “independent” means these days, as the industry evolves. (TLDR: “Independent” as a position in the music industry may not be a fixed quantity, but some aspects of independence feel more sturdy to me: Independent artists value learning and community. They strive for leverage so they can make the things they want to make, and define success in a way that’s sustainable for them.)
12:11 p.m. - Text the manager of one of the artists from the #YouTubeBlack Voices class of 2021 to wish them a good shoot day! Three artists from our BVF class are filming performances today for an upcoming YouTube event. Music and videos from all 21 of the class’s artists are going to be featured in a highlight spot, too.
6:35 p.m. - Resolve some final comments in the statement of work for an agency partner who supports artist programs in the Americas and Asia. Then walk over to Mr. Mango, a grocery store-slash-neighborhood hub, to pick up stuff for dinner. I got my first vaccine shot a couple days ago, and vaccine eligibility is accelerating around the U.S. There’s a vibe of relief in the air and I’m happy, but I don’t ever want to forget this past year, or the people it affected most.
Today’s song: WizKid - Essence (Official Video) ft. Tems
9:00 a.m. - Mini online yoga class in the usually-sunny part of my living room that I’ve started calling “the beach.”
3:30 p.m. - Talk through upcoming Pride activations with some music partnerships folks. Whenever we’re narrowing down a list of artist leads, we’re thinking about hitting the right notes and also how they harmonize. Choices should be evidence-backed, and no market or community should be left behind.
4:30 p.m. - Weekly sync with the YouTube Originals development team. We discuss casting updates and focus on creative for in-development and potential projects.
6:45 p.m. - A ticket I’m trying to submit for a campaign promotion request gets eaten. I start over, complete the ticket, then close every tab. There are more tasks I’d like to finish right now, but it’s time to stand up 🌱. I write out my list of most-crucial items to tackle in the morning and tap out to make dinner.
Today’s song: Ethel Cain - Crush (Official Audio)
10:30 a.m. - Sync with the Brazil music team about our 2022 #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund strategy, and ways we can reach more artists in Brazil as part of the next BVF grants cycle.
2:30 p.m. - Artist pipeline with Lyor, YouTube’s Global Head of Music. This is where we bring campaign pitches for approval and hear honest feedback.
5:30 p.m. - Quick sesh with Brittany, from the artist team, to close out a budget slide that needs work before an upcoming exec review. Brittany and I have logged a lot of video call hours together this year, and I’m thankful for her every single day.
Today’s song: Pink Pantheress - break it off
10:30 a.m. - Have sidewalk breakfast in Bed Stuy with Nazuk, from the artist development team. We used to work together at a magazine. The music business moves at the speed of relationships, and I owe a lot to the people who’ve become life colleagues, regardless of where they work.
12:27 p.m. - Official reports confirm that DMX has died. It’s sunny in Brooklyn; all day, cars passing by outside play DMX songs, and online, fans are mourning. I think about a story I helped edit, where DMX spoke about how he had dared to believe in himself, and felt vindicated when he became a definitive artist. I spend time with stories and tributes people share over the course of day and weekend. Energy never dies.
2:00 p.m - This year’s Foundry application will open in two weeks, and me and my main co-pilot Ashraf, from the artist development team, have set aside a block to wrap up some loose ends. I start a design reference deck for our brand creative team, fine comb our comms doc, and make a presentation we’ll use to update everyone in upcoming team meetings. Ash makes sure invites have been sent for the brainstorm sessions we’re hosting next week across time zones: one for Europe, one for the Americas, one for Asia. We do these to create space for local music experts to share local intel, because data picks up trends, but ultimately people carry culture. It’s an extra step, but it’s always worth it.
Today’s song: DMX - How's It Goin' Down (Official Video)