Promotions Man, Visionary
Ralph Tashjian’s [Tash-Gee-An] 30+ year career in the music business is the type many simply dream about but few get the chance to experience. The San Francisco native made a name for himself as a legendary record promotions man, both through senior executive positions at major record labels and as an innovative and hugely successful independent promoter.
Today, as the visionary and strategic partner behind BlastMusic, Tashjian doesn’t pull back any punches when dealing with the ever-changing industry. Drawing from his experience working with iconic artists who include Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre and Snoop, Tashjian fuels his latest venture with the same passion and tenacity that helped many of those artists reach the top.
Tashjian first got his feet wet as a local record promotion rep for MCA/Universal in 1972 and was quickly promoted to regional promotion in New York.
In 1974 Tashjian switched gears by becoming the Vice President of National Promotion for 20th Century Records, home to popular acts such as Barry White and Love Unlimited.
During his tutelage Tashjian broke Carl Douglas’ hit ”Kung Fu Fighting” which reached double-platinum status after its successful release in 1974. With his stock on the rise, Tashjian accepted the position of Vice President of Promotion for Motown Records in 1976 and subsequently helped revitalize the careers of two of the label’s more seasoned artists, Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson.
Tashjian was at the top of his game when he was offered the prestigious position as Island Records new Vice President of Promotion in 1978. Working closely with label owner Chris Blackwell, his biggest accomplishment during his time at Island was breaking Bob Marley’s remarkable hit “Ïs This Love” to U.S. radio.
The seventies proved fruitful for the promotion guru from San Francisco but the next two decades would prove to be his best yet. At the beginning of the eighties, Tashjian made the bold decision to leave Island Records in pursuit of establishing his own empire.
Never one to back down from a challenge, he created Modern Music Marketing. Over the next ten years, nearly every major record label knocked on Tashjian’s door in need of his “Midas touch,” proving to be a smart move on their part.
He worked with some of the biggest acts including Aerosmith, Madonna, Prince, Barry White and Stevie Wonder. The nineties saw the dawn of a new endeavor in Riot Records/Mangement and UTR. Through UTR, he guided the promotion of Chaka Khan’s acclaimed album Classikhan and neo-soul star Lalah Hathaway’s #1 Urban AC song “Forever, for Always, for Love” and her Mesa/Bluemoon album Outrun The Sky.
As the new century kicked into high gear, Tashjian created SMC Recordings, later SMC Entertainment. Tashjian took his brainchild from a regional-based company to an international brand in just a few short years and signed some of hip-hop’s most provocative acts including the legendary Rakim and the notorious East Coast duo Capone-N-Noreaga. While no small feat, it was Tashjian’s consummate professionalism coupled with his humble approach and love of music that drove SMC’s success.
Today, once again using his innate ability to find the hidden gem in a sea of noise, Tashjian has partnered with Kurt Heidolph to form Digital Music Universe. Tashjian serves as the visionary for DMU’s new venture and drawing on his past experience knows that the key to a great success is to offer something truly unique. Guiding the company’s label division he has brought numerous artists into the fold. Most notably Miguelito, the teenage Latin Pop and Reggaton star who is the youngest artist to win a Latin Grammy. With Tashjian’s dedicated guidance, DMU is successfully crossing Miguelito into the mainstream market with the cover hit “Suga Suga” featuring Shaw Stockman (Boyz II Men) and is currently charting in the top 20 in various radio markets. Tashjian is also the visionary behind BlastMusic’s remarkable online initiative, providing valuable input regarding features and needs for such a platform in the music industry. With his proven track record, Tashjian will undoubtedly add this current venture to his long list of successes.