BE Next Talks to the Minds Behind

How did you reach them in 2006 and how will you reach them in 2012?

Gentles: Prior to launching Singersroom, we promoted showcases so once the portal launched, we had a decent email list to promote the product to. In addition, we used our relationships at record labels to secure exclusive content. In 2012, we have several new products we plan to take to market, which will help us increase our consumer brand penetration and diversify our audience. We are launching the MLE Network, which will include more sites outside of Singersroom as well as investing more dollars in higher yielding concert events.

SR is a relatively new voice in entertainment media, was it difficult for SR to wrangle celebrities and get content at first?

Omisore: Our approach was not to focus only on highly visible artists but highlight the diverse community of artist within R&B, Soul, Pop and Gospel. By not pigeonholing our content to just megastars we developed a strong following of urban music fans. Once you have the consumers [then] artists will come [to you] because that’s their target audience.

Deyior: Before I came on board, I was always around these guys so I understood everything from the beginning was built upon grassroots and strong relationships. I understood who supported us and focused on those artists that were hungry for success like us. Artists have to start from the beginning and it seems we have a knack for catching them at that crucial point. Our Artist Watch program is a perfect example of how we give a platform to rising icons like Miguel and Bridget Kelly.

Gentles: Not to brag, but we interviewed Trey Songz, Chris Brown and Yolanda Adams during our initial inception [and early in their careers] so I don’t think it was ever difficult because we had great relationships. We also didn’t come out the gate thinking we could interview Beyonce… [laughs] Everything we did was very strategic.

How do you all measure success?

Gary Gentles: Me personally, success is measured by several pieces. This includes, growing revenue, helping to break artists, empowering our consumers, development innovative products, amongst other things.

Dunbar: In regards to business, I would have to agree with Gary. Additionally, I believe that our success has been credited to creating a community and redefining the culture of R&B. Success is also being able to work with a great team and see the fruits of our labor paying off through the love of our viewers and patrons.

At what point did you realize that you all had a successful endeavor on your hands?

Gary Gentles: I think we realized from our inception that this product would be successful due to its demand. Our user retention rate was over 70% and record labels (small to major) saw us as a great marketing tool for their roster. Like  Adeniyi said, being recognized by Soul Train was a huge stepping-stone for our brand but our success really came down to proper implementation.

Deyior: I would also have to agree with Gary and Adeniyi Omisore. The Soul Train Award for ‘Best Soul Site’ was a pivotal moment. My parents actually realized “Wow, this is not just a hobby for these guys. Real people are acknowledging them for their work.” If you can make hardworking parents from Liberia (Deyior), Nigeria (Omisore) and Jamaica (Gentles) take notice; I think you’re doing something right.

What can we expect from SR in 2012?

Osimore: Singersroom is just one piece of the puzzle for our parent company MLE Group. Singersroom in 2012 means more exclusives, bigger programs and events, possible TV deals, you have to watch us move…

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