On the Job

Minnesotan Music Moguls in the Making

Heidi Campbell Pflaum ’91
Marketing Director, Innova Records
St. Paul, Minnesota

Pflaum and Campbell in studio

After Sarah Lawrence, I had a folk-rock band in Nashville. We toured all over the US, played Lilith Fair, that sort of life. It was fun, but we weren’t making money, so I started selling my songs to film and TV. Then I set up a licensing company for independent artists, and it grew to where I was actually representing a couple of labels. So I got an MBA to beef up my business skills. When I moved to Minnesota, I wanted to get involved in the music business up here, and that’s when I got wind of Innova. I started working as their marketing director about four years ago.

Working in office

I tailor my work to every artist. My main guerilla warfare technique is to find niche opportunities. For example, we have one artist who happens to be a vegetarian. I wrote to Vegetarian Times, and she got a feature in the magazine. We don’t have a lot of money to throw at ads, and a feature sells a lot more than getting written up in Billboard. I try to find offbeat outlets and be innovative with marketing on a small budget.

Chris Campbell ’02
Operations Manager, Innova Records
St. Paul, Minnesota

In school, I was a full-time composer doing ‘new music,’ which is, you just sit in your room for seven hours staring at paper. I got tired of the isolation. When I came to Minnesota, I wanted to be in the marketplace getting this music out to people. I found Innova and I said, “Oh, a lot of my heroes are here. They have Harry Partch. They have Anthony Braxton.” I started interning because they didn’t have any money. Finally, they said, “It looks like we’re going to have to start paying you, because you’re not going away.” I listen to new submissions and I deal with artists. Right now we have about 370 artists on the roster so a lot of my day is spent helping them. Each artist is so unique, and it’s really gratifying helping them actualize their vision. I also handle distribution and work in tandem with Heidi, and am still composing and making video art at every turn.




Headphone tangle

Photos by Andrew Lichtenstein ’88

Learn more about Innova’s music, unconventional business model, and new releases by Steve Reich and Henry Brant at www.innova.mu.