Partisan MD Zena White on the search for normality in the coronavirus crisis

Partisan MD Zena White on the search for normality in the coronavirus crisis

Partisan Records MD Zena White has said that the label is focusing on using music to “reach people and bring them together at a time when it’s needed most”.

For our new edition, out now, Music Week has been talking to executives from all sectors of the industry about the impact of the coronavirus. Last week, we heard from Charli XCX in isolation in Los Angeles. While the situation is far bigger than the industry, everyone we’ve spoken so far to has underlined the power of music to play its part.

Here, Zena White gives an insight into what’s happening at Partisan, which has recently released a new album from Cigarettes After Sex and is planning new records from Laura Marling, Idles, Fontaines DC and more. Find the full story in the new issue of Music Week and look out for more interviews across the week.

How is coronavirus affecting Partisan, what changes have you made?

“Everyone has adapted quickly to working from home. We usually have a very inclusive, collaborative management style, so we've had to shift to a more directional approach as there are so many uncertainties and everyone needs leadership. Tours and festivals have now completely gone. Physical product is severely affected on both supply and demand – we're looking at distribution grinding to a halt in Italy and South Korea and seeing the writing on the wall for all markets. Digital is seemingly safe, but can’t assume that there won't be problems with that supply chain too. We have a huge responsibility to our artists to keep our lights on and get royalties paid through to them as much as possible.”

Can you say how long might the repercussions might last at this point?

“No one knows how long this will last. There is no doubt that the world as we know it won't be the same after this, however, humans have an unbelievable capacity to innovate. If people stick together, maybe some things can change for the better.”

There is no doubt that the world as we know it won't be the same after this

How is it affecting the label and your acts?

“Our artists are losing a lot of money on touring right now. That side of the business is in a far worse position than we are. However they are all tremendously optimistic about their role in this crisis as bringers of hope and healing. Music is medicine in times of great pain and completely aside from the personal impact, all of our artists are really stepping up to that responsibility. People can count on us to be putting out some incredible records in the coming months. It is not about the bottom line, it is about reaching people and bringing them together through music in a time when it is needed most.”

Are your campaigns changing?

“We're not counting on the traditional ways to reach mass numbers of people and instead are adapting to a more grassroots approach. Building a groundswell, digitally, from the ground up rather than using external ‘moments’ as we would normally. To be honest, right now we're just trying to find a new normal as media outlets and DSPs aren't necessarily focused on promoting new music. There's already an influx content hitting the web. The media are going to play an important role in funneling the best bits to fans so it can reach as many people as possible.”

For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to receive our daily Morning Briefing newsletter

subscribe link free-trial link

follow us...