Women's History Month Reflections: Breakr's Alicia Gooding
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
In honor of Women's History Month, we'd like to introduce you to Alicia Gooding, a ground-breaking music executive causing ripples in the music tech industry. This month is set aside in observance and celebration of women's contributions throughout history. This article will highlight her journey and provide some of the most important lessons she's learned throughout her professional career.
Alicia Gooding is currently the Head of Label Services for Breakr, a brand new platform where artists, creators, and brands can connect directly with influencers to create movements through compelling content. The app is due to release in the summer of 2022.
She is also the CEO and Founder of C.O.D.E., an agency that specializes in Brand Management, Event Marketing, and Public Relations.
Her firm has represented artists and athletes like Amber Rose, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Fatboy, Busta Rhymes, Safaree Samuels, Erica Mena, and more.
Alicia Gooding has been featured on BET's Hustle in Brooklyn, theatlantavoice.com, and mefeater.com.
What or who inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?
Honestly, I fell into this lane. I own an agency called C.O.D.E. We specialize in brand management, event marketing, PR, A&R work, etc.
I realized this the other day as I was talking to my sister. My area of expertise is people; how to amplify people and how to educate people in and around the entertainment and music space.
I initially went to school to be an English teacher. I was majoring in Education and minoring in English.
I realized at 17, I was making the same amount of money that I would make when I would receive my college degree.
I decided I wanted to go a different route so I dropped out after my sophomore year.
Meanwhile, I was doing event planning for different clubs in New Jersey and I had gotten my real estate license. Around that time, somebody tweeted me about a marketing internship. The position was for a field marketing intern for this agency that specialized in multi-cultural marketing in the experiential realm. It fascinated me.
They were based in New York and their offices were in the Viacom building so I was like, “Let’s go!”. So I applied, and maybe three months later they reached out, “We want you to come on. You will be working for free for 3-6 months."
Two weeks into the internship, the CEO hired me. While at this experiential agency, I realized how much money brands put into connecting with different communities and what sold products are the experiences around that product. How does it make someone feel? How does it help their life? Those are the things that really tie in. So, think about it. The brands that we shop for are the ones that make us feel connected. So I realized:
I wanted to do my own events and help amplify new artists with rollouts.
As I started to build relationships in the industry, I realized so many artists that I saw featured on music video countdowns or on different shows look like they have money rolling in—they were always waiting for their next check. They didn’t have a steady flow of income. I didn’t understand because I’m working with all these brands that are injecting money into the creative space. But especially in hip hop and R&B, artists aren’t being seen. So, that’s what inspired me to work in this realm.
I wanted to help artists be seen. I wanted them to know how to build a brand and a foundation around it.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is that I get to wake up every day and be me.
I get to wake up every day, listen to music, learn about new products, offer ideas, bring ideas to the table, and see them launching into successful campaigns for the artist.
My friends call me the "Google Queen" because if you talk to me about anything, I’m going to Google it. I won’t go to one TV show without Googling something. The things that I would naturally research are the things I actually get to work around and that’s what I love the most.
If you are not learning, you are not growing.
How did you land your current role?
I started Breakr in December of 2020. I was actually one of their first 1-2 employees.
I was getting emails saying, “Check out Breakr, This is a new influencer platform.” These emails were inviting me to make a profile as an influencer.
I decided to write them back and I gave them a run-down of all of the clients I was currently working with. I asked, "As far as artists' projects, what does your organization do?" The email was to the assistant to the CEO and she scheduled a call for me to speak with the CEO, Tony Brown. Tony and I had the call by the end of the call, he offered me a job.
“You are the music in Breakr! We are a black-owned tech startup." said Tony Brown, CEO of Music Breakr.
At the end of the day, they needed a music leader so they brought me in. My first project was building the brand department which is called Breakr Select. Many people ask, “What is Breakr?” Breakr to me is AirBnB for influencers, instead of renting their homes or apartment, they are renting their digital real estate, which is their TikTok, Twitter, Twitch, Triller, YouTube, Instagram, etc. They are setting a price for it. Brands or artists can reach out to influencers directly on their platforms. This cuts out the primitive, time-consuming process of DMing people, emailing back and forth, etc.—helping brands track leads more efficiently in real-time. You can go on our website and you can create either an influencer profile, an artist profile, or both. It is a free platform as far as setting up a profile and the only time you pay is during transactions.
If you’re an artist or brand, you can search for influencers by the marketplace.
So, if you want to search influencers with a following of at least 50k and pick only influencers that listen to salsa and reggaeton, or pick influencers who post OOTD (outfit of the day) by content, MusicBreakr facilitates that process for you. There is a multitude of filters you can use.
We have influencers in over 186 countries. You can narrow that down within Breakr.
Many brands want to find all information required for influencer marketing.
I was on the operations side building the platform out and realized we needed to figure out syncing and getting more new artists. Then, I thought, "Wait, what about the labels?" I come from working with artists, whether it be working with labels, myself, or through my own agency so I know when influencer marketing is being done wrong.
How can we serve them better?
What many people don’t know is that what used to work doesn’t work anymore. Everything shifts over time. That’s why we are here. It’s about being smart, intentional, and educational with how you move the artists’ song.
The Breakr app launches in the next 3 months and there are 60k creators so far. We are still technically in BETA meaning in website form, but we will be hitting the app store by the summer. Our 60k creators include: • 40k Artists • Over 18k Influencers
What is your advice to younger women, especially Black or Latinx professionals, who are interested in music and tech?
Anyone interested in the tech or music realm, I think this has been one of my most liberating experiences and a large part of that is because of what I could bring to the table.
Sometimes we hold ourselves back in certain things because we see that it is a male-dominated industry but with us being women, we can see things that others may not and we shouldn’t shy away from that.
I’m not saying fight and yell but figure out how to fight your fight. Maybe your fight is in building an amazing proposal or figuring out how to adjust to making it on a certain team or stepping into that door to see what this industry or any industry is about.
We can’t be afraid of who we are, what our foundation is.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month is a reminder that we are killing it every day. It is also a reminder that we didn’t have half of the opportunities that we have now, but we still have a long way to go. Women’s History Month reminds everybody else that women have made great strides.
Being a woman in this business, people always talk about women’s empowerment and hold related events. Not that I am against that at all, but we talk about it but don’t do the work.
To me, women's empowerment is everyday. For this month, it’s great that we are being highlighted, but the work should be done everyday.
Companies should be figuring out why they don’t have many women on their teams. If your team is only 5% women, you should be striving to include more qualified women in that field. That’s women’s empowerment.
That’s when a fellow woman in a leadership position helps bring another woman to the playing field. It's also about being a guide for that woman.
If I am in a leadership position, I know I can’t help everybody, but I am going to talk to my girls about how to get it done. I’ll tell them what is expected and educate my girls on how they need to show up to the table so they can succeed.
For Women’s History Month, companies need to do what they can to highlight women around them, in addition to those that are building and shaking things up because we are making history every day.