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Q&A Interview with Jon Albert: Founder & CEO

Q: In 39 years, what changes have you seen, and
john albert
                 Jon Albert
where are things going?

A: I have watched creative trends come and go, have gone from FAX to email and from print to Internet and beyond... but what has remained constant is the advertiser and ad agency need for fast, accurate information and insightful strategy. Our clients need immediate answers, estimates, quotes, and information that will not cause them problems later on, but will lead to successful campaigns. And they need us to 'make things happen', and not tell then why something is "impossible, too expensive or too complex". They need strategies and delivery, not empty promises.

Q: Talk about music licensing for a minute.

A: Music licensing is 1/2 of The Albert Company business. The broad use of popular music in advertising is evident. And for good reason... it appeals to listeners and viewers... creates moods... evokes images instantly.

Q: How does The Albert Company fit into the picture as far as obtaining music rights is concerned?

A: We are able to provide quotes and availabilities accurately, in minutes... information which would normally take days or weeks for ad agency personnel to obtain inaccurately. And, unlike some of the smaller A to Z 'rights' or 'clearance' companies, our 'markup' is a percentage, not an 'hourly rate' which often contains hidden markups of 20 or 30%, or more. And, the other rights and clearance people are unable to provide valuable consultation and input about every songwriter and music publisher in existence, only available from The Albert Company.  Also, we are able to license very complex properties, from Beatle's and Stones' music, to hip-hop with enbedded samples and complex multi-level deals with current recording artists, their record labels, and other rights holders..

Q: Unlike other sources, you charge no fees when someone inquires. Why is that?

A: We encourage inquiries at initial creative stages. We have clients who call us almost weekly for input on projects. The percentage we charge when a deal is actually completed is enough to compensate for the inquiries that will not lead to deals being made. And, a policy I set years ago still remains, namely, that we do not 'follow-up' on inquiries. Clients are not embarrassed or annoyed by being called by us to 'find out if anything is new' on any inquiry. That makes it convenient and pleasant to inquire as often as they wish.

Also, a major part of inquiries is providing pertinent information and consultation of value to our ad agency clients. Clients appreciate the input provided to them about specific talent, songs, publishers, pricing, standards, suggestions, industry 'insider' insights, etc, which they would never hear from a talent agent, manager or music publisher.

Q: Is The Albert Company limited to celebrity spokesperson and music licensing deals only?

A: We are involved in many other areas as well. We arrange Personal Appearances each year, including corporate appearance by well-known musical groups, singers, comedians, etc. We negotiate multi-year tour sponsorships, such as Shakira for Nokia Cellular. If it involves celebrities or intellectual property, we are the leader.

Q: Where is The Albert Company 'going'?

A: We brought on Barbara Gans Russo in New York to better serve our NYC clientele. New Yorkers know that Barbara was formerly Executive Director of Broadcast Production at Publicis, and therefore brings an enormous understanding of agency and production sensibilities to the table. 

Karen Miller is now President of Albertco's Music Division. Her years of Albert Company experience combined with her previous high-level position in licensing at EMI Music assures advertisers of the lowest possible prices and most advantageous music licensing agreements.  And she has contacts and relationships unmatched, by anyone.

Q:  Is it just the big, major agencies that call you?

A: Not at all. Yes, we do major national campaigns and have for over 3 decades.  But, a great portion of the business remains counseling and servicing agencies and advertisers with billings primarily of 5 to a few hundred million per year, while still servicing the majors billing several billion per year.  So, we can negotiate and coordinate Randy Bachman's' "Taking Care if Business" for Office Depot, get approvals on creative daily from Mick Jagger, and on the same day get a license for a small hospital advertiser to use "Heart & Soul" at a great price, and close 2 talent deals for advertisers that same week.  We are blessed with a small staff of experts who are all 'user-friendly' with one goal, to best serve clients.  And, I am involved in strategizing every deal we work on, without exception.