Tamara Hrivnak: Facebook Exec Talks MusiCares, Mentors & '80s Music
In many ways, MusiCares relies on word of mouth in terms of reaching clients. Along those lines, sometimes it's word of mouth that can be a catalyst in attracting potential Board of Directors representatives. At least, that's the story for Tamara Hrivnak, Facebook's head of music business development and partnerships.
"My dear friend Susan Genco, a former fellow Board member [and president of Azoff MSG Entertainment], shared the important and impactful work that MusiCares does for music people in need," says Hrivnak. "I was immediately drawn to MusiCares' mission."
A self-professed "child of the '80s," Hrivnak's connection with the power of music goes back to her childhood.
"As a kid growing up in Canada, we worshipped the Tragically Hip. 'Fiddler's Green' takes me back to Toronto and Kingston and a deep love of Canadian music," she says. "Everything Madonna and Cyndi Lauper beckons the '80s, sisterhood and being bold and unique — like 'Express Yourself.'"
Hrivnak's affinity for music is something that has shadowed her career journey. She got her start as a corporate lawyer focusing on technology transactions and intellectual property with New York firms Shearman & Sterling and Morrison & Foerster. She soon gravitated to all of the dynamic change and complexity in music and copyright.
"I found my way to working with and advising the Harry Fox Agency, the NMPA, EMI Publishing, and Warner Music in digital deal-making, among others, and I've never looked back."
Of course, behind a successful executive there typically is a story of a person who played a key role in helping to shape their career. Hrivnak cites former Warner/Chappell Music CEO David Johnson as one of her "special" mentors.
"He placed a big bet on me early in my career. He helped me to see a path for cranking in my professional life and being a devoted working mom," says Hrivnak. [David] is the single best teacher on negotiation strategy. He taught me that bringing humanity and goodness into the workplace is a baseline and that courageous bets and risk of failure are necessary in order to succeed."
In January 2017, Hrivnak embarked on a new chapter in her career in joining Facebook, where she spearheads commercial relationships with labels, music publishers and societies around the globe.
"Facebook is all about making the world more open and connected — music can play an important role," she says. "We're at the very beginning of that journey and we're excited to expand upon our relationship with artists, labels, writers, music publishers, and other key industry stakeholders.
"In my time here, I've built a team of leading music veterans to partner more deeply with the music industry. We have created first of kind commercial partnerships with major players in the music industry, such as our recently announced worldwide deal with Universal Music and another with Sony/ATV.
"I'm incredibly grateful to have amazingly talented leaders join Facebook's mission in music — foundational team members include Michael King, who leads global label business development; Anjali Southward, who leads international music publishing business development; and Scott Sellwood, who leads commercial music publishing partnerships. The common denominator among our music leadership team is a deep love of music, compassion and experience in building innovative music partnerships."
As a member of MusiCares' Board, Hrivnak believes that there is a strategic opportunity for tech companies, in particular, to play an integral role in spreading the charity's mission.
"As technology companies like Facebook continue to grow and foster their relationship with the music community, we have an opportunity to help MusiCares grow awareness and support in new markets," she says. "This also extends to MusiCares reaching new communities on our platforms. I'm committed to bringing technology and music closer together and my support of MusiCares is an important part of that effort.
"Organic donate tools on Facebook and other platforms to connect people and artists is a great way to expand MusiCares’ reach."
"It is such a special year for the GRAMMYs and MusiCares — bringing the GRAMMYs and Person of the Year to New York after15 years is exciting," says Hrivnak. "My favorite part of GRAMMY week each year is celebrating standout music, artists and writers, as well as the power of music, the community of music as a whole. Person of the Year is a key part of that celebration."