Published on February 18th, 2022 | by Crystal Willis


Record Label Executive Reza Sarrafieh Drops Music Business Gems and Reflects on Working with Super Bowl LVI Halftime Legends

Music industry veteran Reza Sarrafieh has wisely navigated the ever-changing lane of radio and promotions since entering the industry in 2004. His wildly successful track record for breaking a number of almost-overlooked urban acts lends to a reputation which precedes him. He invested 13 years at Interscope Records where he rose to Vice President of Promotions. He then launched his own business, Pars Promotions, where he propelled a number of SoundCloud artists to the limelight; bringing them heavy radio rotation. Now, well-positioned for even more groundbreaking success, he proudly holds the esteemed title of Roc Nation’s National Director of Radio and Promotions; home to acts such as Snoh Aalegra, Buju Banton and Rapsody. However, it is Reza’s personal journey which makes his career progression all the more impressive. We asked him for his reaction to Super Bowl Halftime, and best music industry advice:

You’ve been recognized for your integral part in the successful careers of  Super Bowl LVI artists, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Mary J Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent. What was your experience like watching them perform the ‘Pepsi Halftime Show’?

Insane to see this in my life! I spent 14 years breaking EVERY one of these people on this stage at radio when I was at @interscope and now I’m at @rocnation who put them all on the world stage in one event! Feels like such a full circle moment.

When you got started in the music business, what’s a lesson you had to learn quickly to sink or swim? 

One of the best lessons I learned from my mentor was that “Closed mouths don’t get fed”. Essentially never be afraid to ask or aspire towards something, the worst that can happen is that you end up right where you started. 

How have you seen the radio business shift since moving into the digital age?

The radio business has gone from being the music breaker and gatekeeper of success to being the amplifier of hits. They (radio stations) have become safer and less aggressive with new music, but more important than ever to becoming a household name. It’s the only free medium that still exists in the USA. 

What advice would you give for independent artists without major budgets for getting on more playlists and radio? 

There has never been a better time for independent artists without a budget than now. In the past you needed a budget or a friend like me who knew all the radio guys and how to contact them, now all you need is social media and the willpower to search out the gatekeepers and put in the work. 

What’s the biggest mistake you see most indie artists making with regard to promotions?

Overlooking the value of all relationships, thinking they’re small or large social media reach equates to real life engagement. Your followers aren’t always your fans. The ones that invest in you are your real fans. 

What’s one thing that you strive to do differently now at this stage in your career?

Be more grounded. My work is done virtually and in person. It’s important to always stay grounded in both situations and maintain balance with family.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given to yourself back when you were aspiring to climb the ranks?

Bet on yourself more. I came from a corporate background and the mentality that hard work done in silence will pay off, that is not todays case. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from another industry professional? 

 Bring attention to yourself to build your personal brand. I dislike this aspect of our business, but it’s a vital necessity. 

What’s the best piece of advice you think you’ve ever given to one of the artists you helped break that they actually followed?

 Always perform like the room is full and always treat everyone like they are the most important person in the room. We are not too good for anyone. It’s not only advice I have given artists, but every rep that has ever worked for me. 

Keep up with Reza Sarrafieh on Instagram @rezasarrafieh
Featured Image: Roc Nation’s National Director of Promotion, Reza Sarrafieh; Photo Credit LP Media TV

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About the Author

Crystal Willis is an Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Entertainment Publicist and CEO of The Omni Firm. She is also a Transformational Life Coach and Founder of The Crysalis. Her personal story has been seen by millions of people on media outlets like Marie Claire Magazine, PBS, Blaze TV, Daily Signal and more.

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