We were lucky to meet Jaz though an email she sent and are so glad to now know, and introduce her, to you! Jaz Wimbledon is the Director of Release Management and Stock Control at AWAL. AWAL is a unique alternative to the traditional record label, partnering with independent artists to tell stories that shape culture, offering a range of services without having to give up ownership or control. With local offices around the world, their services include global distribution and marketing, funding, A&R, playlist promotion, radio, PR, creative services, synch and brand partnerships, plus access to real-time comprehensive music data and insights. Amongst many other things, Jaz’s job is to get vinyl made for artists like Little Simz, Nick Cave, The Wombats and more. Formerly based in London she now works out of Stockholm, Sweden.
Jaz is an avid vinyl collector, and a drummer though says that was many years ago now. In her free time she likes watching movies and TV, “I love watching all kinds of shows, from serious documentaries to really bad reality shows”.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you to get into it?
I studied drums and played in bands for a few years when I left school, but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, other than I knew it had to involve music. I then did some internships at record labels and realized the business side was better suited to me.
I got an assistant job at a label called Border Community at the same time as getting onto a Music Business degree at BIMM (British Institute of Modern Music). From there I got particularly passionate about vinyl and worked in production / release management at another label. Eventually I joined AWAL and have been working there for around six years now.
What is a day in the life like?
We have been working from home like everyone else for the past two years, so it’s a bit different not being in the office and traveling back and forth to the UK. Most days start with a zoom call with the release management team, we catch up on what projects everyone is working on.
No two days are the exact same; but most days involve communicating with my roster of artist’s teams on timelines, artwork, and audio deliveries and label copy. Calls with our manufacturing brokers on the vinyl and CD orders we have in place and planning out the year. Communicating with our global distribution warehouses ensuring they have the stock they need for all of our releases and meetings with our marketing teams on the upcoming release plans.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
There have been so many! Working on Nick Cave albums is always an honor, because of who he is as an artist and also because of the sheer scale of his physical market. His fans are very passionate about vinyl and it’s always a huge project.
I have also really enjoyed working with girl in red, as a fellow queer woman it is nice to work on something that I relate to a lot. Marie has a very clear vision and helping her achieve that with her vinyl releases has been really fun. We made a really cool 7” for her song ‘we fell in love in october’, which included a real autumn leaf, recycled board and a really beautiful three color disc which I am particularly proud of.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
The last two years the global supply chain issues due to factors of covid and supply shortages has been a real challenge. At the moment we are having to plan vinyl releases so far in advance and hitting a lot of manufacturing issues due to the plants being so overwhelmed, so this has been very difficult. Trying to get physical products ready for release date globally is always a challenge and especially now, but it’s so rewarding when it all comes together.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Definitely get internships, I learnt a lot by doing internships at music companies and met a lot of amazing people who are all now leaders in the industry. Be willing and enthusiastic about admin! All job roles will involve spreadsheets and data entry, so you need to embrace it in order to get to do the fun stuff.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Then when I got into working in music I started building my own collection and my girlfriend also works in music so building a collection together is cool. I love having something tangible of an album you love.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about?
I am excited about the ways in which the industry is looking into more environmentally friendly ways to make vinyl. I have had a lot of artists lately come to me wanting to be environmentally conscious. We have been using more recycled board for sleeves and eco mix vinyl, which is where they use the cuttings from other pressings to make new vinyl. The cool thing about eco mix is not only is it less wasteful but every copy is a unique color blend.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Buy vinyl! And CDs and cassettes. It’s a great way to support the artist, especially during a time when it’s difficult for them to tour.
Anything else you want to share? If not, tell me what you’re listening to:
We work with a really great Australian band called Spacey Jane, I would recommend checking them out.