The music annotation website once known as Rap Genius has expanded radically since three Yale alums launched it in 2009.
Today, the re-branded Genius.com hosts crowdsourced annotations of a wide variety of written materials, including song lyrics, news stories, Shakespeare plays, and even the internet itself. But the site's recent expansion into video and other media platforms has produced some of its most compelling content yet.
Far from its humble beginnings as a lyrics site, Genius now regularly attracts high-profile artists for guest annotations and new projects. The site's artist relations team, Rob Markman and Brian Hernandez, works to facilitate inventive multimedia features with some of the biggest names in music. That means a typical day of work might mean meeting with top artists like Lil Wayne and Christina Aguilera, hanging out at recording studios, and getting backstage access to concerts.
Business Insider shadowed Markman, Genius' head of artist relations and a veteran music journalist, as he and his team produced the first installment of their brand new "IRL" video series, featuring an epic interview with producer and rap mogul DJ Khaled.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at Markman's incredible job at Genius:
Markman joined the site in August 2015 from MTV News, where he was a senior hip-hop editor.
With an extensive list of industry contacts from a prominent career in music journalism, Markman now works with record labels and publicists to bring high-profile artists to Genius. His focus is to find innovative ways for artists to discuss their music and the stories behind it.
"What I try to do when I talk with labels and publicists and different reps about artists is to find the one really good idea," he said. "What's the really good conversation that we can have that will be impactful. I always look at it like a Rubik's Cube. With every artist there's that really good idea, and it's trying to unlock it and find it."
At the offices of Genius in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, nearly 60 employees keep the website and its many projects running.
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