Be more open to ideas and people who cross your path. Maintain all relationships and take the upper hand by not taking things personally.

 

Brooke Wentz is the CEO of Seven Seas Music and an award-winning music producer and supervisor. For a decade, Wentz has led The Rights Workshop, a leading music licensing and supervision firm with film credits including “Bully,” “Melancholia,” “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” and “Bill Cunningham: New York.” In 2014, Wentz married her singular knowledge and passion for world music with edge-cutting technology to found Seven Seas Music, a web-based platform where media professionals can listen to, build lists and license – with a single click – curated sounds from an astounding array of emerging and established artists in more than 150 regions. Seven Seas employs its unique library of curated international music in many high-profile television and film productions, including “Parts Unknown,” “Criminal Minds,” “VICE,” “Legions,” “Snowfall,” “Homeland,” and “Altered Carbon.”

Wentz was one of the earliest Music Directors for ESPN and its networks, after working for years in the music business, as a radio host, world music producer and author. She is the author of Hey! That’s My Music: Music Supervision, Licensing and Content Acquisition, published by Hal Leonard, and received a Billboard Award for the top-selling world music recording of the decade. She has also served as Manager of A&R Administration at Arista Records and Music Supervisor for New York City’s Times Square Millennium Celebration. Through her business, The Rights Workshop, Wentz has licensed and supervised the soundtracks for scores of renowned documentaries and independent films.

Wentz graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. She currently lives in San Francisco, California with her daughter and continually advocates for artists rights. She continues her work as a music supervisor, consultant, publishing entity, author and speaker.

Where did the idea for Seven Seas Music come from?

I was a radio host in New York City for about eight years producing a new music show. After graduate school I decided to travel around parts of East and West Africa for a few months where I started to realize the actual ‘new music’ (rhythms, instruments, languages, etc.) was in other parts of the world. As a music director and supervisor, I’ve worked with many clients who have tremendous difficulty locating and licensing international music and yet the media has proliferated to include stories and content from around the world. Due to my previous producing work, I had access to numerous independent labels and artists who would relish the opportunity for their music to be exposed in the US market and otherwise; hence the development of Seven Seas Music.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I always start my day with a workout or swim, followed by Stumptown coffee with cream. As everyone does, I file though emails, answer many, file away the emails with links to music and focus on the objectives for the day. Our LA rep generally calls to tell me what requests are being asked of TV shows and we filter through the content to fulfill the request. Our team tends to have until the end of the day to locate the content, so I steer my colleagues to the right assets and away they go.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I love quiet time, or as some call it, meditation. The best ideas come when there is little distraction and quiet, contemplative time. Many times that happens when I’m traveling in-flight!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Blockchain….I’m still trying to figure it out.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Physically writing down objectives and goals, because as a multitasker I always forget something.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more open to ideas and people who cross your path. Maintain all relationships and take the upper hand by not taking things personally.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Streaming is devaluing music.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Love what you do and remain driven as to why you are doing it. Create a mission statement and make that your driving force.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

When we were raising money we were told we have little “traction,” so we went on a hiring spree to find someone who could take a lower paying salary with high commission. That person is still with us today and loves what he does.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There are many things one would wish to do again, or take the time to re-align according to how a company grows. I’ve brought advisors on our board that I’ve had to take off. Now my focus is on how to get to the next level; name or expertise alone is not enough.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Needlepoint custom belt buckles.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best money spent is those things you get for free. Spending $100 generally goes toward bills or obligations.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Slack — I get too many emails, and when you are handling a team of employees it’s a great way to communicate, outside of phone or in person, and not have so many back-and-forth emails.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Let my People Go Surfing” by Yves Chouinard. He runs a fantastic, people-oriented business, with class, style and quality. His employees love working at Patagonia and their lifestyle reflects the lifestyle of the brand. The key to longevity is quality; that’s what SSM hopes to achieve and what all lasting companies achieve.

What is your favorite quote?

If you’re going though hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

Key learnings:

  • Be conscious that your business is a reflection of you and who you are. Everything from the environment to demeanor to the handling of clients and work ethic. All must parallel your beliefs.
  • Get input from your team before implementing a policy or business change. It’s great to get thoughts from all ages of those who work with your product or service and how and why the new tangent may improve or steer clear of your companies mission.
  • Those involved in the company as employees and freelancers must all have the same long-view vision of the goals of the company. If there is someone you wouldn’t want to have lunch with, they are not a fit.

Connect:

https://www.sevenseasmusic.com
Seven Seas Music on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sevenseasmusicsf/
Seven Seas Music on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sevenseasmusic
Brooke Wentz on Twitter: https://twitter.com/brookeslist

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