We caught up with Kjersti Espe to hear about her career and what she does in one of Scandinavias leading independent metal and hard rock labels. She has been working for Indie Recordings since 2011, after she finished her bachelor’s degree in music management. During all these years she has had numerous titles, but her main task now is taking care of digital sales and distribution.
Working at Indie is not enough for Espe, as she also is the Label Manager for the Norwegian office of Believe Digital, where she also does digital sales. In addition, she is a board member of Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy) and can sometimes be spotted selling tickets at Riksscenen in Oslo.
What has been on your to do list lately, and what takes most of your time?
Digital sales. That is my main focus these days – both for Indie Recordings and labels distributed via Believe Digital. A good placement on digital services can make a big difference in streaming numbers early on for releases of small or niche acts and increase their audience on a global scale (to greater or lesser extent).
I also spend time creating good pitches and release-planning, and going through the bands visibility online on social media but mostly for profiles on digital streaming and download services. I’m always trying to analyze the profiles and sites in the perspective of the listener so that the fans can find all the info they might be looking for in an easy way. Basically creating an as good as possible experience of the band digitally for the fans.
The most important piece of advice you have ever received?
Hmm this was a hard question as I don’t think that there is a ‘most important’ piece of advice for me. It’s more all experiences and advice from everyone I’ve met down the line – the total of this has been the most important advice and learning for me. But maybe some of the most important things is to be friendly and polite with everyone you meet. After all, we work in a very social industry where even the products we sell are people. Communicating across languages, a huge variation of people with different knowledge of the business makes up most of the days. Being patient is also a good quality to have in this industry, knowing when you should postpone a release instead of rushing things out because you feel it has to happen now. Building a good release and career can take time.
“Some of the most important things is to be friendly and polite with everyone you meet.”
Any helpful tips and tricks for a way around the industry?
Learning by doing is maybe the best teacher here actually. Test out new tools and ways to do things, ask others and share experiences with people in similar situations. And remember that every band and its audience is different from each other, so you can never do the exact same thing each time and expect the exact same results. And never forget to keep the end users in mind.
Why Norway, why now? Where are we going?
Speaking from a rock and metal perspective, Norway is an interesting country both when it comes to new and old bands, festivals and labels. Norwegian metal festivals are some of the best I know, where you can find Inferno, Beyond The Gates, Midgardsblot, Tons Of Rock and by:Larm Black; I always return to these! Most of my network and some of the most exciting band discoveries I’ve made, were at these festivals. They also seem to have good growth and attract fans and industry from all over the world. As a label we are going towards/already in a time with more digital-focused release schedules, more direct-to-fans communication strategies and a higher focus on content creation.
Who in the Norwegian music industry deserves a high five?
The team at Indie Recordings <3 <3 (Yes, I did the heart thing. That is how awesome they are.) When working in an industry where every day is filled with deadlines, sudden change in plans, delays, time-sensitive e-mails and the never-ending chasing of results, you need to have good people around you. Everyone at Indie is a great member to the family, so high 10 to my colleagues!