Nikki Marshall: Sync Licensing Manager at Warner Chappell Music
Introduce yourself to us! What do you do in the industry? Where are you from?
My name is Nikki Marshall. I’m from Atlanta, GA. I work in Sync Licensing, coordinating and negotiating music uses in film, television, and promos.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been in the industry since my first internship in the summer of 1999. I worked alongside DeeDee Murray learning about publishing and sync for Organized Noize Productions.
How much would you say your academic background in Marketing prepared you for working in the industry? Between your first experiences working in music and your coursework, which would you say empowered you the most, or was it both?
My academic background has been helpful in helping me understand demographics
and marketing data. My first experiences within the industry have been the most impactful and empowering.
What initially drew you to music publishing?
When I began my internship, Organized Noize had just become self-published and had several songs on an upcoming OutKast album. I was intrigued from there.
What is the sync placement you are most proud of?
The placement I am most proud of has not yet aired. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share later in the year.
What is your process when it comes to finding artists and deciding if they are a good fit for sync? I work with songwriters signed to our publishing company. I typically confer with our A&R team to get an idea of which writers have an interest in sync. Then, I usually review their music and have a meeting with them to drill down on some of the details related to sync.
Do you have any favorite projects that you have worked on?
I have worked on a lot of great projects. My absolute favorite to date was a sync camp for an upcoming Jamie Foxx Netflix film, They Cloned Tyrone.
When did you know being in the business is what you wanted to do? Was there a specific moment where you were like “wow, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
I don’t know that I have ever decided this is what I want to do for the rest
of my life. I stay in this because there is still so much to learn and it continues to be interesting.
Is there anything you struggled with (or even still do struggle with) being in the industry? I sometimes struggle with work/life balance. The past 18 months have helped a lot in pushing me to enact boundaries around work.
What is the best part of your job? Why? The best part of my job is helping artists continue to make a living from their art. It feels good to be a part of fostering a strong creative economy. The world needs artists and artists need to be able to pay their bills.
Is there someone who you consider as your mentor in the industry? I have many mentors: DeeDee Murray, Pat Woods, Carianne Marshall, and Steve Corbin to name a few.
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry? Just do it. You’re a human… give yourself grace and permission to try and fail (many times). Remember there’s no 'one size fits all' route to get started and to continue. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Have you ever been turned down or not taken seriously because you were a female in the industry? What did you do when put into that position? I don’t know if I was ever turned down because I’m a woman. For the most part, I’ve felt supported in all stages of my career by men, women, and non-binary folks. I also strongly believe if someone tells you “no” you’re entitled to ask “why?”
What is the biggest challenge that you have faced on the job and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is imposter syndrome. I still deal with it from time to time. Consistent therapy and radical self-acceptance have done wonders in that area.
What are some of your other hobbies? What do you do in your free time (which we know can be very hard to find)? I like to hike, read, go to live shows. I love spending time with friends and family.
Who is your all-time favorite artist? It depends on the day and my mood. Today: it’s OutKast. They’ve been on my mind a lot.
What is something you can't live without? I can’t live without my phone... I’m bonded with that thing in the most unhealthy of ways LOL
Tea or Coffee? Depends on the day or mood... LOL. Sometimes I’m a mint matcha latte lady. Today, I made a lavender latte with some great Jamaican Blue Mountain beans. *Always with oat milk
The first concert you went to? Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation Tour
What’s something that you always have on you? I always have jewelry on and with me. I’m a Leo... I love adornment.
What does a typical day at work look like for you? Post pandemic once I’ve walked my dog and had some breakfast I’ll sit down to answer emails. I may have calls with our internal teams to listen to music or with external clients for clearer pictures of their requests. If needed, I’ll visit a songwriter/producer at the studio to be sure we’re creating work aligned with our sync needs.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself living a bi-coastal life and creating some memorable music moments.
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years? I’d like to see the C-Suites and Senior Management positions better reflect the demographic makeup of the U.S.
Lastly, what saying do you live by? Each one teach one.