Alt Power 100 Music List Features Kobalt Product Manager Helen Barrass
International Women’s Day was on March 8th, which lined up perfectly with the announcement of The Alternative Power 100 Music List. The list was compiled by a humble community of powerful, active, and professional female executives in the music industry, otherwise known as shesaid.so. The group’s mission is to foster an environment that encourages collaboration, creativity, and positive values, for all its members. The list spotlights a diverse group of women whose important roles in their given fields might have otherwise gone without recognition, given the saturation of the market.
We couldn’t be more proud to learn that Kobalt’s very own product manager Helen Barrass, was included on this renowned list, joining the ranks of fellow heavy hitters like Erykah Badu, Bjork, Kelly Chappel (VP Touring, Europe, Live Nation), and Rochelle King (VP Product Design & Insights, Spotify). Helen was introduced to shesaid.so in 2014 by Shirin Foroutan, Global Managing Director of Mute, who went to the first meeting and described the group to Helen as an “authentic and honest space for women in music.” Helen said that at the time of shesaid.so’s conception, it felt like there were not many spaces where women could gather to discuss daily experiences as females in the music industry. That discourse has changed a lot in recent years, with topics being more openly discussed in the name of transparency and education, while the group’s international community of diverse women from all sectors of the industry continue to contribute to and lead that conversation in a big way.
Helen’s work at Kobalt involves overseeing the planning and marketing of album releases in the UK, which includes developing the global plan, timeline, and budget for a release. She hires and manages UK press, radio, regional TV, and online promotional teams, and coordinates advertising (from outdoor to print and digital). Additionally, Helen sets targets and coordinates releases with UK physical distribution and digital sales teams, and manages relationships with artist clients, making sure they have the information needed to make decisions on approvals and running campaigns. Some of the artists she’s worked with include Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Laura Marling, Todd Terje, Ray BLK, Nicolas Jaar, Chip, Die Antwoord, among others.
One of Helen’s biggest accomplishments with Kobalt in the last year was the Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree campaign, released in September of 2016. Helen and her team were tasked with building a marketing campaign for the album without the traditional tools of music servicing and artist promotion. The album was launched with an accompanying film, One More Time With Feeling, premiering the day before album release in 1000+ cinemas globally, thus fulfilling Nick’s vision for the cinema screenings to be the first time anyone heard the album. The campaign was a huge success globally, with Skeleton Tree charting No.2 in the UK (Nick’s highest UK chart position) and hitting No.1 in 8 countries, with a further 11 Top 3s globally.
Kobalt is obviously lucky to have Helen and her talents as part of the family, and the feeling seems to be mutual.
“I was attracted to Kobalt because it’s a company like no other. It’s the future of music, and the disruptive nature is certainly changing the music industry as a whole for the better. One of the unique things with working at Kobalt is that every campaign we work on is tailor made to the artist – there is no ‘one size fits all,’ and so we can be flexible in our approach. The company is based on honesty and transparency, and this is a really great platform to work from, as it means our team can work collaboratively with our clients and be open about where we are at with budgets, marketing, and the creative process. The portal and app have been been a fantastic tool for myself and the rest of the team, its insights invaluable in understanding our artists audience and implementing this knowledge in our marketing strategies. It’s also a great thing to discuss with the clients, and helps them feel very much in control of their art too.”
We’re always looking to recognize the talent at our company, and will continue to highlight their accomplishments. It’s extra special to us when members of our community are not only recognized by us, but by others in the industry, as well. Congratulations to Helen for being included on the Alternative Power 100 Music List!