Many can talk but few can back it up and this man is one of those backing his talk as he continues to flourish, create stars and grow his empire. Mark Spratley AKA “SpratFool” or “Sprat” has paved his own lane within the industry, obtaining success throughout multiple facets from his own label, management, PR, publicity, marketing, event curation, social media, A&R work and plenty more all while creating his own brand and influence. Expanding on with this influence, Sprat has turned into quite an entrepreneur entering the tobacco world, dabbling into real estate and starting his own car rental company.
Turning nothing into something, Sprat has built a prolific profile while developing a few very successful businesses and changing the lives of countless artists or brands. A well known name within the industry that has continued to let his work speak for itself. It’s a good chance that at least once a year he is responsible for one of your favorite new artists getting to the forefront. Becoming a free spirit in the industry, Sprat has created this audience on his own as he spearheads his self ran label Starting Five and chooses to stay independent with his own marketing agency.It is always a sight to see when you can observe one of the next big industry moguls navigate his way throughout music and life.
Mark Spratley is one of those moguls to watch, as in just under 7 years, the New Jersey native has created a resume, influence and business that many take a lifetime to pursue or obtain. We have our eye on the young mogul as he continues to set trends, knock down doors, pop off artists and make a significant impact on the industry and plenty of lives.We took some time out to sit down with him as we talked about music, business, artists and more below.
How long have you been in the music industry?
Crazy but it’s going on 7 years right now. I’ve probably been going at it 24/7 for 5-6 years. That’s literally the last time I ever had to clock in to a “job”.
Being independent while coming up off your own name and work is always a marathon. That marathon doesn’t always have all the bells and whistles like a label position would provide you. Whether it’s politics, opportunities, press or acknowledgement, the independent machine seems to catch the tail end at times. Why do you choose to stay independent and build your own label/agency in Starting Five?
I’m a free agent.
I built this all off my own name and work from the ground up. No internships, no family relationships, no college degree, no label behind me, outlet or a powerful name that I could drop. I built this and everything that came with it. To me that is more gratifying than anything else.
Of course you have clients at a label, the label has signed acts lol. Does working at a label or a major outlet help people get their foot in the door or keep them relevant? Yes. But what happens when your time is up at that place? That juice is gone huh? Some work it right and build their own name while up in these buildings, some don’t. I like the path I chose and would never regret it. I built this.
If a situation presents itself that makes sense I’m all ears. At this point in time I do very damn well by myself with my own label/agency. Is that to say I wouldn’t entertain a situation? No, not at all but they would have to present the right position. I’m not taking any position under any one I’ve run circles around, respectfully haha. My resume is proven, the results are consistent, my machine is evident, my influence is strong. That position has to be of power. I bring plenty to the table.
I have something here though. My machine is what these labels are offering to others if not larger. A team that would allow me to do more of what I do best and multiply does make sense right now. My ear would be beneficial to any label.
I’m sure “Moonwalking In Calabasas” and it’s success was not only a huge moment for DDG but the entire team. Talk to us about the record, what was your involvement?
That’s my first plaque, platinum possibly double platinum at that. To have played a pivotal role in the record is even more gratifying, especially to see everything come to life and what has come to fruition since for DDG and the entire team. That’s the best part of it all.
But to spearhead the marketing and roll out behind the entire record/remix and for it to go platinum is a blessing. I put my foot in that record for sure. I think it was just another example of when I really want to press the button, the sky’s the limit for my machine, especially with quality music. DDG slid, Blueface slid and we made something of it. It was a perfect moment to capture the fact that Blueface was” rapping on beat” which literally catapulted the record to go viral off a few tweets from my account. Clearly it was a successful marketing strategy as Blueface team used it for their next single haha.
From the marketing, publicity, press, influence and campaign behind the record and artist, I was all the way in. We really stepped it up and demanded respect. DDG is up right now.
An XXL Freshman, Top 100 Billboard charting, platinum and gold selling recording artist, undefeated PPV boxer, social media star and Youtube sensation. That sounds crazy and it’s only the beginning for him.
DDG is one of the hottest artists in the game right now. Was his success in the music industry overnight? How long have you been working with DDG?
Actual facts!DDG came into the music industry with his Youtube influence but getting the music and respect to where it is currently at wasn’t overnight. That man put in the work, the entire team put in the work, now we are here with so much more to do. Over the past 4 years working with DDG, whenever he puts his mind to something, he makes it happen.
One of the only Youtubers to make a successful transition into the music world. HE DID THAT. It’s pretty dope to say that I contributed and played a large role in that transition.
Our whole first campaign was the “Take Me Serious” campaign from introducing him to the industry, the right people, powering up the sound, demanding respect and solidifying the foundation. Mission complete.
You helped ‘Moonwalking In Calabasas’ and countless other records go viral. How does it actually feel to be the key behind making some popular records or artists go viral? Does your social media presence play a part in helping an artist go viral?
This is stuff you dream of as a kid. Of course I wanted to be a pro athlete and in some league but to be the power that I am, as young as I am, it feels amazing.
To get a plaque, live this lifestyle and do what I am doing on a consistent basis is surreal. I’m enjoying life. Don’t get it twisted, I work my a** off.
To actually make a record click or an artist buzz is what fuels me. Through all the BS or potential time wasted with some artists or clients, it is still something that I am heavily passionate about. Of course I can go work with plenty of major acts or any label but I enjoy the development process, I enjoy connecting dots, finding talent, aligning stars, curating and providing everything an artist needs to become a superstar. Creating something from just an idea is something special.
I’m here before the label knows of the artist or puts the “machine” behind them. I am the machine that helps bring the artist to the forefront, get known by the label, fans, athletes, artists, influencers, the industry and the masses. I help create the foundation, the following, multiply the fan base and bring an artist to the limelight. I help power up the sound, curate, advise and anything you can possibly think of to take everything to the next level. I bring in the bag and secure it. Each artist or brand is different and needs to be catered to differently. If I become passionate about something and the artist or brand is on the same page as me, there is no limit to what we can doOf course my social media presence helps. I don’t even have a 100 thousand on one platform or all of this “clout”, but the power behind the following I have and the influence that I bring to the table is massive. The respect was earned. The foundation was built. The people and my followers listen and I can’t thank them enough for that. My Twitter is what you can catch me on the most and it is certainly the platform that I make a whole lot go viral on. I definitely talk my sh*t over there haha.
Social media has been a game shark. It’s literally a cheat code. Utilize it.
Your role in many artists’ careers tends to be behind the scenes. You’ve developed artists, aligned stars and shifted the careers of plenty with your machine and ability to “press the button”. Being a respected name within the industry, is being behind the scenes something you are comfortable with? Will we get to see Sprat come to the forefront?
I’m here to win. If an artist wins, I win, if one of my peers wins, I win. I know who I am and what I bring to the table so as long as the respect is on the table I am willing to fill the void or role in any situation that makes sense. Any situation I enter I am still a boss. Whether it is behind the scenes or in the forefront, I’m going to get mine regardless.
To date, I’ve been a firm believer in letting my work speak for itself. Although at this point, It can only help to capitalize on both. The larger I become and continue to make my brand, the easier it can be to continue what I do and take these artists, brands or companies to the next level. I tend to focus on others all the time rather than my brand but I believe there can be a balance for both.
On the other hand, my life is a movie and I get asked all the time why I don’t capture it. I’ve missed out on a lot of content. I think it’s definitely time I start capturing these moments I am a part of and show the public a deeper look at the industry through multiple lenses.
Expect to see a whole lot of me in the near future. You’ll just have to wait and see how.
SinceThe80s president, Barry Hefner created a post that made its way around the industry and was felt by many. It was a post that you recently reposted on social media. Can you talk to us about that?
LMAO, man these artists are crazy. I see it all the time, you would laugh over the BS I deal with. I can only imagine the BS some of my peers deal with as well. It was surprising at first but now it’s almost expected, like okay I know its going to happen but when lol.
I don’t like people wasting my time. Money or anything material you can always get back, I could care less about that, but time you can never get back. It’s goofy how uneducated some people can be when getting into a field they want to pursue. It shows who really was about their business growing up, educated, hustled, touched money etc.
People want the world from you. Granted some of us can give them that but that requires attention, time and plenty more that we have put blood and sweat in for and will have to do once again. People want you to commit to them, blow them up, give your time, relations, connections, knowledge and juice but aren’t willing to commit to you. It’s not even just artists, it goes across the board with a lot of different lanes in the entertainment/music industry. They’ve seen a few idiots complaining that didn’t READ their contracts or took the first deal that came their way from some no name that sold them on the world. Make your own educated decision. Execute.
At some point, when you are really moving, you will need a solid team to help multiply and handle your business operations so you can operate and do what you do best. Someone respectable and proven looking to come in on any situation from the ground up is not only an investment but a risk on their behalf. They invest not only their time but possibly money, connections, relations, energy and reputation.
People will be in the same position years later because they didn’t want to make the same commitment that they are asking of someone else.
Artists are getting a buzz and try to leave the same people that helped take them to the next level and literally ruin the upward motion they were on. Rarely realizing the machine that was behind them until it’s not there any more.
I understand at times because there is a lot of foolery out here in the industry, from BS managers, publicists and more. Understand who you are talking to, understand where you are at, do your research and educate yourself so you can make a proper business decision.
Search Google, check out the peoples resumes and the evidence that supports it. Who have they popped off? Who have they popped off recently? What was their actual role? What do they do? What have they done? You know there are a lot of people that just like to ride the wave.
At the end of the day would you rather make 70-90% of 1 million dollars or 100% of nothing? I don’t know about you but I know what I’m choosing.
Sprat, you do a whole lot within the industry and entertainment world. It’s to the point where people know your name, know your resume and you have actually created an avid base of fans and supporters. Since you do so much, some may not know all that you do or the extent of what you do. Can you talk to us briefly about you and your machine?
My network and relations are vast. I do a bit of everything so it all pretty much runs full circle. The fact that I do everything and do it on another level helps me even more while allowing me to keep a lot in house.
A lot of people ask what I do, I tend to do what I want haha. Some know me for my events, social media, popping off an artist, putting them on to an artist, marketing, PR/publicity, blogging, my Times Square NYC billboards, brand activations and plenty more.
I have my own label, had success in the management world, one of the premiere marketers and publicists in the game, a digital media guru, marketing genius, curator, former journalist/writer, consult, A&R, I throw massive events and mansions across the country while also having some tours under my belt. Just off rip with those my network is ridiculous. Add in the fact that I am successful at each and everyone of those, it only helps propel me and any artist I work with. I have the tools and machine to help any artist function, get to a bag and create an audience.
I am a one stop shop.
As I’ve stated before, “I’m here before the label knows of the artist or puts the “machine” behind them. I am the machine that helps bring the artist to the forefront, get known by the label, press, fans, athletes, artists, influencers, the industry and the masses. I help create the foundation, the following, structure, multiply the fan base, get you in the mix and bring an artist to the limelight. I help power up the sound, curate, create the narrative, A&R, brand, advise and anything you can possibly think of to take everything to the next level. Each artist or brand is different and needs to be catered to differently. If I become passionate about something and the artist or brand is on the same page as me, there is no limit to what we can do.”
You haven’t thrown any events since COVID truly began. Is that something you are looking to get back into? Can we expect you at SXSW 2022?
For sure. Events are always a space I’ll be in. COVID definitely had me put my events on the back burner but I’ve been itching to get back into it. There is a lot on my table right now but you will see more events, mansion parties and some other creative ideas I have in the near future.
I threw an exclusive mansion event a month or so ago to test a new idea I have out. Let’s just say it was a success and I plan on bringing that monthly to LA.
SXSW 2022 I’ll be there if the world permits. It’s been 2 years and my levels have only increased. Prior to COVID the plan was an ATX takeover with Antonio Brown as we were going to flood mansion parties and more with countless major acts. For the return, expect me to curate and take over the whole week.
I think it’s time for SXSW and I to do something as well, so SXSW, Brian, if you’re reading this, let’s make it make sense!
Can we ever expect a Sprat x 40oz Van x YesJulz collaborative event again?People always bring up the events we threw. We made some memorable moments. It’s crazy because I was just with 24HRS the other week and he was talking about the very first 40oz Bounce that 40 and I brought to Austin, Texas (SXSW). It was a movie. The floor was literally caving in. I don’t think people will ever forget those moments. A lot went down that night.Van knows every single time we connect we get a bag and run up a vibe. That is nothing but a conversation.
I’m not even sure if events are what Julz is on right now to be real. She is going crazy with YesJuice and enjoying life. If you haven’t, go check out YesJuice in Florida.
When the time is right an event or party is something that can always be done or discussed. I think the next step would have to be a festival though.
5 Projects in your rotation right now?
5 projects? Sheesh not a lot of people are making full solid projects, I can definitely list some singles with speed. But hmmm projects…
Meek Mill – Expensive PainSleepy Hallow – Still Sleep (Deluxe)I’m still bumping A Boogie – Artist 2.0 (Deluxe), I think that was slept onEither Matching Rolexes or Still Stone On Ocean from Curren$y
I can’t even give you a solid 5th projectd
5 Lowkey records that are on your playlist right now?
Kodi – Hold Me Down3Breezy – Love HurtsBandmanrill – SpeakSuavve Porter x Curly Savv – Stayed DownQrunitup – 2020K
Kiddo Marv snapped on that “Casamigos” record too
We saw you just opened up the official headquarters for Starting Five? A major accomplishment, congrats.
Yeah man, in Downtown LA to! I haven’t had my own studio since the Jersey City days so this is huge. I should have it fully operating by the end of November. It’s going to serve as the headquarters for now. 2 recording studios, production space, office and much more.
It’s definitely an open space for powers and creatives to get busy. I’m going to have that place moving for sure. The idea is to still get the compound but I wanted something solid in the meantime. This place is going to facilitate a whole lot and it will definitely allow me to get back in the studio more and focus on creating.