Courtesy of Interscope Records
When David Nieman started ten years ago in a newly created job at Interscope Geffen A&M around film and TV sports and sports, “it was all about the ESPN synch, putting the music in.” He’s crazy, and that’s where I focused,” he says. “And over the years, we’ve realized there’s more to do.” Since then, Nieman has transitioned his role from just another voice in the music industry to the head of the first dedicated department at a major company focused on sports and music. In doing so, they expanded the concept of what the brand could embody and what the brand could offer – not just to artists, but to athletes, teams and sportspeople across the country.
“We’ve upgraded the way we work with athletes and artists to enhance what we’re bringing to our fans,” he says. “We are trying to look after the athletes with the things we have and if they are interested in music, we will put them in the best place. But with the fans, it’s ‘How do we have so much stuff, with vinyls, jerseys, merchandise?’ “
Over the past 10 years, Nieman has achieved these goals in many ways. He has overseen events that are traditional yet ambitious: Kendrick Lamar becoming the first College Football Playoff halftime performer in 2018; the NBA All-Star halftime show by J. Cole in 2019 at Cole’s in North Carolina, where 1,000 brave fans were invited to court, then brought to the halftime venue where Cole and his Dreamville Record artists performed; and Super Bowl halftime performances by Lady Gaga (2017), Maroon 5 (2019) and Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Lamar, Mary J. Blige and Eminem (2022).
Nieman and his team have also worked on unusual occasions, such as working with MLB to produce 30 songs for The Rolling Stones’ 2023, Hackney Diamondsrepresenting any team in the league or taking advantage of athlete-artist relationships (6LACK and Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Rob49 and Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase) for videos that not only felt authentic, but honest.
In the past year, Nieman’s team has strengthened the alliance of professional athletes. Interscope held a listening session with the Los Angeles Chargers and several artists when the group came to the studio to hear unreleased songs, a few players joined the recording studio themselves. This led to the idea that became NFL Career Day: Interscope invited 20 current and former players – legends like Harry Holt and current stars like Derwin James and Darren Waller – to its offices to spend a day in the life of the music industry, building. and develop relationships between the players, the brand and its artists. An EP was released, featuring a collaboration between five NFL players and five Interscope artists and was co-produced by the players. Madden NFL video games, and his music appeared He’s crazy also.
“A lot of times we think about halftime shows and synchs and who likes which team, and there’s a lot of other components,” Nieman says. “Music and sports and pop culture, it’s the news of the future. I’ve learned the power it has to turn heads and create conversation. And really, the more we do, the more we can get into the culture and become the artists we’ve been planning to be at Interscope.”
This article will be available in Feb. 10, 2024, of Billboard.