Ken Steorts, president of Visible Music College, has announced the promotion of Visible Music College alum Crystal Bergman to the position of Operations Manager at the college’s innovative record label, Madison Line Records.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Crystal heading up Madison Line Records,” says Steorts, whose own illustrious music industry pedigree includes being one of the original founding members of the award-winning, Double Platinum-selling Christian rock band Skillet.
“While it is certainly noteworthy to have a young female leader running the record label,” continues Steorts, “I can’t think of anyone more qualified and passionate about our mission than Crystal Bergman.”
Bergman grew up in the small mountain town of Idyllwild in Southern California, which she credits as the birthplace of her love for music. “I was spoiled with great teachers and amazing opportunities in my youth that deeply embedded my love for music at an early age, and it has stayed with me,” she recalls. “Idyllwild has a beautiful community full of the arts, music and film, and I was always involved in something musical.” Bergman’s family relocated in her high school years to another small town, Morro Bay, located on the Central Coast of California. After graduating from Morro Bay High School, she continued her vocal studies at Cuesta College. It was then that her administrative business skills began to surface.
“I started working for an event management company called Show Management, based out of Cayucos, California. It was my first real job,” Bergman says. “I started from the bottom; I did data entry, made exhibitor binders, took ticket orders, and was the mail lady. We coordinated two large industry trade shows a year–one in Las Vegas and one in Orlando. I learned from the ground up, every little detail that went into pulling off an event that eventually grew into 46,000 attendees in Las Vegas and 16,000 in Orlando. In hindsight, it was such a great experience, because I gained a wealth of knowledge. I didn’t think being involved in the trade show industry had anything to do with music, but when I got to Visible Music College in 2007, I realized that God never wastes anything. There was so much from my previous career that applied to my current career in music. At Visible Music College, I found it–the “it” that everyone looks for in life, the thing you are created to do. Everything in my life had prepared me for Visible Music College. It captured my heart and ruined me in the best of ways.”
Bergman, who now oversees all aspects of Madison Line Records’ operations, including artist development, publishing, music production, promotions, events, and sales/merch, has a long history with Visible Music College, where she worked in the Office of the President as the assistant to Steorts while a student at the college from 2007 to 2012. Since then, Bergman has worked in every area of both the college and Madison Line Records, learning the skills required for label management from the ground up. After a brief hiatus to settle her growing family (which included the birth of twins), Bergman returned to Visible Music College in 2017 to help establish a new campus in San Luis Obispo County, California.
“I’m the connection point between student artists and Student Managers,” continues Bergman, who directs operations at each of the Madison Line Records offices–in Memphis, Dallas, Chicago, and San Luis Obispo County. “Each campus has an adult staffer that provides accountability. Big picture stuff comes from college President Ken Steorts, and filters down to me to implement with the students. As we grow, it is imperative that each campus site does business the same way. We do that through our proprietary Constant Attention™ artist management platform. Everyone–whether they are Student Managers, recording artists, or workers–is a part of the system. It dictates who we are as a record label.”
Bergman notes that while Madison Line filters everything through the traditional music industry areas of work, including finding new talent, hosting showcases, and developing relationships with local industry pros, there is a distinction between the upstart label and the old guard.
“Madison Line Records is committed to artist development,” she says. “We take the time to do the developmental work that most major labels just aren’t doing anymore. We teach our artists and Student Managers to be music entrepreneurs. It’s about putting in the work and taking ownership. It’s Life Skills 101. The consistent weekly move-the-needle-forward-everyday is a huge part of the creative process.”
Because Madison Line Records operates under the covering of Visible Music College, Bergman says she is often asked whether it is a “real” record label, to which she replies, “Absolutely. We do all the things a traditional record label does, but because of our relationship with Visible Music College, we do much more.”
Bergman points to a recent example–when the label teamed up with Memphis-based Ardent Records to integrate Visible Music College students into the nitty-gritty of the recording industry by assigning Student Managers from Madison Line Records to work on the day-to-day promotion of chart-topping, seven-time Dove Award-nominated recording artist Todd Agnew’s critically acclaimed project, From Grace to Glory: The Music of Todd Agnew.
The Student Managers were required to incorporate the project into Constant Attention™ and tend to the six broad, sequential areas of the music industry for artists (artist development, publishing, audio production, marketing, events, and sales). The Student Managers were responsible for running Agnew’s social media metrics, establishing and delivering communication protocols online, answering fan inquiries and booking opportunities, shooting video, doing interview prep, working with online marketing, interfacing with Ardent Records and other leaders in the Christian music industry, and tending Agnew’s peripheral marketing efforts and fan management. They quickly gained a reputation for representing the professionalism of Madison Line Records and the entire recording industry program at Visible Music College.
“Madison Line Records and Visible Music College are part of the seismic shift in the way both college music business programs and record labels operate,” says Bergman. “It’s exciting to be a part of an organization that is blazing a trail for artists to be mentored into the work life of the music industry.”
Source: McCain & Co. PR