Press Lives Matter: Adam Lerro, Owner of The Plug Society/A&R + Digital at Alamo Records
Written by Greg Harris
It’s been quite some time since we’ve done interviews and it’s only right we get right back to the mix with our signature interview series, “Press Lives Matter”. In this interview series, we like to focus on the different individuals that’s making an impact behind the scenes and making moves for artists and creatives in their respective space.
In this edition, we focus on Philadelphia’s own Adam Lerro, who’s one of the key pieces of the indie platform, The Plug Society and one of the rising players at Alamo Records. Given his in-depth social media experience, capability of running a brand and bringing it to the forefront, Adam has not only proved that he can put on artists but also put them in the spotlight for them to progress as time moves on.
We had the opportunity to speak to him about his upbringing, being tied to Alamo Records, starting The Plug Society, and more.
Check out the interview below.
How’s Your Modern Life?
My modern life is really hectic as of late. I'm going into my junior year of college while still trying to figure out where I fit within this industry so I feel like there's a lot going on.
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up in the morning ?
Check Twitter, play whatever song was stuck in my head from last night, and drink a glass of water.
How would you describe your upbringing?
As a kid growing up, I thought my upbringing was terrible and that my parents didn't understand anything. As I started to grow up, I realized that they worked tremendously hard to put me in a situation where I had a chance to succeed, and slowly grew to appreciate everything they'd done for me as a kid growing up. And I'll forever appreciate that.
I had a pretty normal suburban life, but no matter what I always felt like I had to be doing more. That drive lead me to trying tons of new things and getting heavily involved in the internet because it's the only place I could connect with people doing cool shit. There wasn't too much going on in my town.
Growing up, what were some defining moments that you knew you fell in love with music?
My Dad and I used to sit in the car and listen to some old rock songs and LL Cool J. Some specific albums that meant a lot to me growing up were "Because the Internet" by Childish Gambino, "Watching Movies With The Sound Off" & "Macadelic" by Mac Miller, "Channel Orange" by Frank Ocean, " MOTM" by Kid Cudi, "Tha Carter IV" by Lil Wayne, and "WOLF" by Tyler, The Creator. I was always a pretty emotional kid but hated looking for attention so I took to music as a way to connect with something.
Coming from a background where you may have multiple musical interests, how did that train your ear to be open to different types of music?
It's crazy to me because when I get in a room with some of my friends who know way more about music then I do, I still feel like my ear is terrible. Up until about 10th grade in High School, all I would listen to was pretty popular rap music. Around that time I made a new friend who was really into a lot of indie rock music and that changed my entire musical scope. After that moment I realized there was so much music that I'd never given a chance, and that's when I really dove deeper into everything. Currently I'm always listening to different types of music. In the mix of one day I'll play at least one song from at least 10 different time periods or genres.
I think it's important to realize that every genre or type of song has it's own time and place to be played.
Prior to creating The Plug Society, what were some defining moments in your life that led up to that?
In high school I used to make music, and always was looking for an outlet to try and reach more people but anytime I reached out to a blog they would just give me a price list. So I was kind of just like fuck it, I'll make my own and support kids that don't get support. I quickly learned that the business side of music was meant for me way more than making the music was, but making music in high school is a huge part of my life that I think I learned a ton from. Some defining moments that have kept me going with Plug Society though have been throwing my first show, and all the amazing people I've met through it. I owe my life to this thing.
Since creating this platform, you’re one of the leading sites that’s in the middle tier of modern music publications. What do you think The Plug Society has that allows it to standout in the midst of a sea other publications that people can read?
Honestly, I don't really know. I think part of it has to do with our vast writing staff that each specializes in a different genre of music. Where as some blogs focus heavily on one genre and don't give the others as much love, I feel like across the board we pretty much cover a little bit of everything. We're about to undergo a ton of changes over at Plug to try and revamp what isn't working and try some new things. My only regret is with everything else that's been going on as of late, I haven't been able to give my own project as much time as it deserves.
Given your experience of being a writer, that led to you diving in the music industry as well. What do you feel like you’ve been learning the most with your experience working at a label?
This summer I interned with Atlantic Records and I'm now moving over to Alamo Records in more of a full-time role, and I really have learned way more from it all than I originally thought I would. I think what I'm really learning the most though, is how the music industry is an actual business, and how vital it can be for artists and their teams to treat themselves like their own functioning business unit rather than just a kid who makes music. In addition to that, I'm learning how much I really don't know yet. I thought that I had a pretty good grasp on things coming from starting a blog, throwing shows, and working a bunch of odd jobs, but when it comes down to how things are actually run and all the intricacies of every song or project a label takes on, I realize that I don't know much at all. I've heard from different interviews and articles that right now is a gold mine in the music industry, as it's re-structuring around the digital age, and I particularly enjoy trying to figure out why a certain song popped off or what campaigns labels are running with their artists to pick up their socials. Right now I'm especially grateful to be working under such talented people as they're always willing to answer questions for me and pass down information.
From an inside point of view, you have the chance to see the level of change of what way the music industry is going to. Given your insight on the shift and position what direction the game is going to, what do you feel artists + music executives need to realize to stand ahead of the curve?
To stay ahead of the curve, I think everyone needs to realize that data is ruling every other industry, and it's only a matter of time until it completely takes over ours. With that being said, I believe that these data companies like Indify, Chartmetric, Sodatone, Crowdtangle, and countless others are going to be the real winners. They have such a big potential to change the way things in the music industry move, and as the data gets bigger and bigger, they'll be able to make more accurate predictions on what artist is going to be successful and countless other topics.
Throughout your journey, how do you feel like you’ve grow in your career?
I feel like I've grown a lot since I started being interested in this in high school. I realized I don't know much, and I realized that you need to play for the long game not the short game. I'm only 20 years old, and so much stuff is going to happen in the world before I'm 50. I need to be making decisions that impact 35 year old me, and not just thinking about 20 year old me.
In the near future, where do you feel like you want to be with your career?
Honestly, I don't know. I've always had very broad goals and just worked really hard until the next thing came along. With that being said, I'd love to say an artist I worked on blew up and became big. I'm headed to LA shortly with the artist I manage, Shraban, and we have a bunch of label meetings coming up. I'd also love to get more involved into the data side of the music industry, but I'm not technically advanced enough to do that currently.
What are three goals you want to accomplish?
I want to throw a dope ass concert with my favorite band Fidlar co-headlining with somebody like Ski Mask and having a bunch of smaller underground artists on the bill too.
I want to make the artists I work with much more successful then they currently are.
I want make the music industry a full time career and impact lives in a positive way daily.
When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a guy who didn't try and pretend to be anything he wasn't, and I want to be remembered as a guy who was always willing to lend a helping hand to someone willing to work.