Beth Krakower ’93 promotes Grammy nods
Beth Krakower ’93 is the founder of CineMedia Promotions, a publicity firm that represents film and television composers, film scores, soundtracks and cast album recordings. Krakower has represented soundtrack recordings for films such as “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), “Atonement” (2007), “Finding Nemo” (2003) and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004). She also represents composers such as Bear McCreary, composer for television series “The Walking Dead” and “Battlestar Galactica,” and Lalo Schifrin, composer for the “Mission: Impossible” series and the “Rush Hour” film trilogy.
How did you become interested in music and marketing?
BK: When my mother was growing up, she wanted to play violin, but her family didn’t have the money. She kind of pushed me into violin, but modern classical music drove me crazy. When I came to Dartmouth, I attended a special training session that the College radio station, Dartmouth Broadcasting, held for freshmen. Back then, 99 Rock was the number one station in the market. I fell in love with being a deejay and being on the air. While other Dartmouth students went on foreign study programs, I would take terms off, go to New York and juggle two or three different music industry internships. Because I could do these internships in the winter, when these outlets were dying to have interns, I had the chance to gain exposure to the business side of music, which I fell in love with.
How did you decide to start CineMedia Promotions?
BK: Well it was very easy — I got laid off [laughs]. This was November of 1997, and my father said, “I don’t want you to jump at the first job. I want you to think about what you want to do.” I had moved over from working in rock to working with movie soundtracks, and to credit Dartmouth, I was doing internet promotions for record labels before a lot of other labels even knew what that meant. I had three job offers, and they all wanted me to move from New York to Los Angeles. I thought, well, I could change my whole life around and move, but all of my family was in New York. I put some feelers out and asked, “What if I did this as a consultant instead of as a staff member, would you hire me to do that?” Two of the three firms said “yes,” so I started my own company.
How do you choose which soundtracks or cast albums to work with?
BK: When I work with albums, it is more about how they look on paper. I hardly ever hear the music beforehand. When I work with a composer, I have to be their cheerleader, so it has got to be somebody whose work I’ve heard throughout the years and whom I respect. If it is a new kid, it has to be somebody that I believe in, whose vision I understand and who is willing to work.
Do you have a favorite soundtrack or artist that you enjoyed working with?
BK: I would not be working with composers if it wasn’t for Bear McCreary. When television series “Battlestar Galactica” first aired in 2004, I was working the soundtrack for the record label. It was McCreary’s first project, he was the primary composer for the series, and he really wanted to learn a lot about publicity. I could tell he was a young kid with a lot of vision. He received his first Emmy this past year, and we at CineMedia were just so ecstatic. I’m probably the most proud of the work that I’ve done with Cliff Martinez. He’s a guy whom I idolize. I remember playing some of the first Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, when he was the group’s drummer. He’s a guy who’s been there, working in music and who has established himself as a film composer. Now he has trusted his career to me to manage.
How were you involved in the Grammys?
BK: I’ve done two things. The first is work that I have done for Whole Foods’s Whole Planet Foundation, which hosted a pre-Grammy, invitation-only party on Thursday. I ran the publicity for that with a colleague of mine. I also worked with two of the three nominees for cast album, which included taking ["Matilda: The Musical" actresses] down the red carpet on Sunday.
What does “taking them down the red carpet” entail?
BK: My job is to get there early when the press checks in and talk to reporters to find out who is interested in speaking with my clients. When my clients arrive, I walk with them to make sure that they pose for pictures and do interviews with all the reporters who have expressed interest. Should my clients win, I escort them to behind-the-scenes press interviews.
What else are you working on?
BK: This is the slowest time of year. Two of the five nominees nominated for best original score at the Oscars are my clients, meaning I am the publicist for those soundtracks. I’m managing a 50th anniversary “Doctor Who” album, which will come out soon. I’m also working with a couple of movies that are coming out, including clients that have films in the Santa Barbara Film Festival, a quiet, indie thing.
Any advice for students?
BK: My father always said, “When you work for yourself, you have the security of knowing you will always have work, but the insecurity of never knowing when your check will come.” As a freelancer, if you can make it, I think it’s the most rewarding career.
This interview was edited and condensed.
The article has been revised to reflect the following corrections:
Correction appended: January 27, 2014
A previous version of the story said that Krakower only represented nominees from "Matilda: The Musical" in the Grammy award for best cast album. She is the publicist for two nominees for the award. The story has been revised to correct the error.