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Community Spotlight: Zach Shefrin, Def Jam

Meet Zach Shefrin, Our Community Member of the Week

Meet Zach Shefrin, Our Community Member of the Week

Name: Zach Shefrin

Job: Digital Marketing Manager

Company: Def Jam

LinkedIn: Zach Shefrin


In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.

My name is Zach Shefrin and I’m a member of the Def Jam Recordings Digital Marketing team. I’ve been at Def Jam for a year and have had the pleasure of working with some phenomenal artists such as YG, 2 Chainz and YK Osiris.

What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?

The evolution and current state of “influencer marketing” is one thing I feel has been vastly oversaturated for the past few years. Since there are no tangible metrics of an influencer post for a song/artist campaign besides views, comments, and interactions, I sometimes have trouble evaluating the significance and value. While it’s often beneficial in growing an artist’s socials or online presence, there’s no way to know if those views and engagements translate to streams, merchandise purchases, or ticket sales.

How do you define engagement?

Engagement, in the eyes of a music industry digital marketer, is two-fold; the obvious being social media engagement-views, comments, likes, interactions, and follower growth. The second form of engagement, which is harder to obtain, is pulling the fan further down the marketing funnel beyond just social media interactions.

What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?

I’m most proud of the recent digital campaign our team ran for the 2 Chainz Rap Or Go To The League album release. With ample lead time, music to share with our partners ahead of time (which is rare), and an in-depth explanation of the album concept from the artist himself, we were able to secure top tier looks from nearly all of our partners. Working with the likes of YouTube, Bleacher Report, Genius, and Twitter, we created bespoke content, custom emojis, and more.

What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?

Right now I’m working closely on some developing acts; Def Jam signed roughly 20-30 new artists this past year, most of whom were packaged together on a compilation album called Undisputed. The second phase of the plan is to release these artists’ solo projects. I’m working with artists such as YK Osiris, TJ Porter, Nimic Revenue and YFL Kelvin. They all have unique and exciting stories that I’m excited to help tell. Outside of that, we have some cool things lined up with the NY Jets heading into the second year of our partnership.

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As a connected fan, what’s the most engaging piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?

While it was short and sweet, one of the best pieces of content I’ve seen recently was put together by the Atlanta Falcons when their schedule was released for the 2019/20 season. Shared via Bleacher Report, it was all over my Twitter feed and even mentioned on ESPN’s “Get Up.” The piece tied in Game of Thrones (extremely culturally relevant) and harped on the infamous missed Saints/Rams referee call that was widely scrutinized on social when it happened. I was a big fan of this content.

What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports and entertainment?

Working directly with some of our culture’s most impactful and relevant artists gives me a rush. There’s nothing like being on the inside of something that the world hasn’t heard or seen yet. As a fan of rap, working for a brand like Def Jam is a dream. The lows can sometimes be the hours and expectations; artists don’t work on a traditional Monday–Friday schedule. If they need you, you have to be ready to help.

What’s one element of the sports and entertainment industry that you’d like to see change?

I would love to see major music labels, like Def Jam, start taking on athlete management and sports projects in a more official capacity. We’re definitely making strides when it comes to our partnerships with the NY Jets, recent collaborations with AS Roma, and content with Bleacher Report, but there is a lot of audience overlap to exploit. Roc Nation has done a great job making itself a player in both sports and music and I think it’s only a matter of time that the majors (Warner, Sony, Universal) explore this angle.

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