Q&A with Cameron Lutz ’11, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Music, Facebook & Instagram
There is no doubt that the music industry has been transforming rapidly over the last few years. Long before the extra complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic (cancellation of concerts, stay at home directives, etc.), the industry had already shifted into the digital age.
In his work leading strategic partnerships with artists, festivals, and tentpole music moments at Facebook and Instagram, Cameron Lutz ‘11 has been instrumental (pun intended) in guiding artists in maximizing their fanbase. Lutz’s efforts help artists and the wider music community bring their creative vision to life across the Facebook family of apps as a means of developing their fan bases and driving meaningful business goals. His passion for music started at Webb and was further cultivated during his time at the University of Southern California where he studied Business and Songwriting.
While Lutz actively works with artists across many different genres of music, he was recently recognized as one of Billboard’s 2020 Country Music Power Players for his efforts in country music. Since starting at Facebook in 2015, Lutz has worked with Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Luke Combs, Midland and countless other artists. He also leads the company’s efforts for country music’s biggest events, including Stagecoach Country Music Festival, CMA Festival, and the CMA Awards.
In 2019, Lutz spearheaded the inception of the first ever Facebook & Instagram Women of Nashville Brunch to highlight women in Nashville’s music community, working closely with Kelsea Ballerini and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman to cohost the event and share a message of strength and mutual support. The event was developed with the intention of giving female artists and industry leaders a platform to champion for one another and was attended by over 200 rising female country artists as well as women working in Nashville’s music business.
Q: How has the interruption of touring during the pandemic affected your work?
Lutz: When touring stopped, artists leaned heavily into digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram to engage with their fans. We’ve seen a significant increase in both the production and engagement with video and live broadcasts during quarantine. Whether it’s Brad Paisley taking song requests on Facebook Live, Ashley McBryde performing live to raise money for music relief efforts, Garth Brooks doing at-home Facebook Live concerts as part of his Studio G series, or Keith Urban kicking off his own home studio performance series, the Facebook family of apps offer unique solutions for artists to authentically interact with their fans during this time.
Q: How can the country music community participate in moving the nation forward in response to the ongoing unrest?
Lutz: Country artists have fostered an incredible sense of community with their fans, one that manifests itself very clearly on Facebook and Instagram every day. Given the significance of their collective voice, country artists have a unique opportunity to continue advocating against structural racism and unequal treatment. It’s been amazing to see artists already putting this into practice as we’ve seen with Lady A changing their name, and with the messages of solidarity being shared by some of country music’s biggest names. This must be a sustained and collaborative effort with full participation from our industry. With this, we can build the systems of accountability needed to ensure equity and meaningfully help move the nation forward.
Q: What changes brought on by the pandemic do you think will become permanent?
Lutz: There’s no doubt that artists will continue to connect with their fans via digital platforms and that this will be a permanent part of the music industry moving forward. During quarantine, we’ve seen such incredible artist-fan moments which I hope, for the fans, will continue to thrive.
Q: Are there any favorite Webb memories that stand out to you now?
Lutz: To this day, I look back on my time at Webb and reminisce on the opportunities I had to develop my love for music. Although I wasn’t directly involved in music-specific courses, the combination of opportunities I had to perform at KWEB events on campus, countless walks up Gym Hill listening to music before football or basketball practice, and the eclectic mix of artists and songs I discovered thanks to friends from all over the world, truly helped me develop my passion for music.
I also want to give a special shoutout to Doc Lofgren and Dr. Farke – my time spent studying in the Alf Museum and going on summer field trips to Utah were some of the fondest memories I have from my time at Webb. To this day, my peers in music are completely caught off guard when they hear that I studied paleontology during high school.