Who is Jaime Bilotti?
“When applying to colleges, I learned how expensive college was, so although I got into a lot of amazing music programs, they were extremely expensive. So, I ended up going to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Hell’s Kitchen, and I got my undergrad in pre-law, which was amazing.”
Her college experience gave her a lot of opportunities to meet people from different paths of life. She worked diligently networking, which got her in the door at Atlantic Records, where she helped call the success of Lizzo’s hit “Truth Hurts.”
Her personal music taste is varied. Jaime notes that she “loves the Jonas Brothers and One Direction.”
“I’m taking my five-year-old niece to her first concert to see Justin Bieber in a few weeks. Really my family is everything.”
What is mutuals agency?
Jaime explains that her idea for mutuals agency came from working at different music labels.
She shares, “I never understood how someone could misrepresent an audience because for me, especially for audiences that I was a part of that I just so happened to be working on the projects [for], I knew some of these ideas didn’t fit the audience.”
Jaime quickly realized, “We weren’t looking through the same lens, and I noticed that age, gender, and location, those traditional demographics, are so important, but they don’t fully paint the picture of who is in the audience.”
Other factors like other music the person listens to, where they listen to music, and much more are just as valuable. She shares that she started holding focus groups with fans, which has now expanded into over 30 countries, to gain a better perspective of audiences.
Using technology to scale your business and understand an audience is crucial, but Jaime notes that the human perspective can’t be underestimated.
In her words, she describes mutuals agency’s mission as “We invest in people, and we do so by helping them understand their audience in a way that makes a good campaign. We do so by taking those traditional demographics and expanding them, helping us do focus groups, and impact reports.”
She notes that mutuals agency works “with an artist to define who they feel their target audience [is] and then cross-pollinate them [the audience] with some other audiences that might make sense. So, we are a fan engagement agency that helps artists truly understand their audience.”
What is Fan Engagement?
Jaime shares that fan engagement was never discussed before the pandemic, primarily because of the massive stigma surrounding fans, especially women in the music industry.
“Fans, specifically fangirls, are seen as hysterical that they can’t be both fans and professionals… The pandemic took the stigma of online friends and threw it out the window because we all became online friends.”
This changing view allowed individuals who understood online culture and fans to accelerate and grow the music industry in all-new ways. Jaime shares that she credits the music industry’s survival during the pandemic to fans working in the music industry.
She defines fan marketing and engagement as completely different than digital marketing.
“My definition [of fan engagement] is when you understand an audience outside of those traditional demographics to really work alongside an audience in a campaign that caters to them, rather than throwing ideas to the wall and praying it sticks.”
The Focus Group Process
When asked about the focus group process, Jaime gives the example of a Justin Bieber focus group comparing his songs “Ghost” and “Love You Different.” The process started by getting Justin Bieber fans’ perspectives from individuals who had been fans for varying amounts of time.
During the process, they asked questions about what the fans loved about the music, why they loved it, which song they preferred, and much more. All the information asked is kept confidential.
The focus group results showed a clear preference for “Ghost,” so using this information, the single was pushed everywhere. It earned many awards, with Justin Bieber even performing the song at the VMAs.
Jaime shares, “It was amazing to see that they [the fans] felt seen and heard.”
Each focus group also allows the fans to share anything that they want, whether it’s relevant to the particular study or not.
Monetizing Being a Fan
“I would say that there are fans that are celebrities within themselves these days from gaining a following from being a fan of somebody else.”
Fan influencers may make money through brand partnerships, promotional PR boxes, and much more.
However, Jaime shares that becoming an influencer can be hard to navigate, especially when they blow up overnight.
“It’s hard to navigate the space. You know, how much should you be paid? What should be in your contract? What suffices as a brand partner deal besides free promotion and these fans are going through that same thing… but we’re here helping them navigate that space as well.”
Future Plans & Goals
Jaimes shares that one of her biggest goals for mutuals agency is to “invest our time into audiences that we know will make a difference.”
She shares that mutuals want to find artists with a vision, then they can use their tools to amplify their reach and success by creating audiences that people want to be part of.
“We’re looking for people who are unique and who cut through or want to get to that space and in terms of the market research, we are currently in the process of building technology that will help us expand our databases in ways that no other company is doing.”
Part of this includes new update accounts, which are usually covered by three to four people so that all the time zones are covered.
Jaime shares that mutuals recognizes update accounts as “celebrities within themselves, and we want to make sure that they’re properly represented, so we are launching that program this month as well.”
She also wants to shout out Fan to Band.
“Mutuals would not be possible without the leadership that came on to Fan to Band in the past three months. We wanted to make sure that the companies were differentiated and had their own goals, their own set of guidelines, their own team… I just wanted to say that I would not be able to do what I do every day without them and without the mutual’s team.”
The mutuals agency provides services alongside artists with market research and handles the management of clients and trainers. In contrast, Fan to Band helps students get their start in the music industry by providing online content through their social media accounts and their blog.