New York Spotlight

By 
Arielle Schwalm

From the left: Britnie Stingelin, Mallory Zumbach, Josh Gruss, Michael Lau, and Neil Gillis.

From the left: Britnie Stingelin, Mallory Zumbach, Josh Gruss, Michael Lau, and Neil Gillis.

Round Hill Music is a boutique-size music publisher based in New York City that’s staffed with a team of people who are passionate about music. The members of the Round Hill team include four Berklee alumni: CEO and chairman Josh Gruss ’97, chief operating officer Michael Lau ’90, creative director of sync and licensing Mallory Zumbach ’05, and royalty administrator Britnie Stingelin ’09.

Among its services, Round Hill offers song placements, organization of co-written material, international development, creative sync and music licensing for all visual and interactive media, and music supervision. After 13 years in financial services, Gruss started the company. He’d always wanted to work in the music industry and found that the intersection between the finance and music industries led naturally to music publishing. Given his clear understanding of music business, Gruss has been able to invest in music catalogs of the utmost quality.

When asked to characterize the company, Gruss says that it’s a “place full of [Berklee] alumni that is not intimidating and is here to listen to songwriters and make deals in a client-friendly way.” Many publishing companies are much larger and do not offer the one-on-one attention that Round Hill provides to clients. This client experience makes it a diamond in the rough among music publishers.

Having a Berklee education gives these professionals knowledge of the industry and enables them to speak the same language as the artists they work with. The Round Hill staffers frequently offer their clients advice that will lead to better chances for them to place their songs. “It’s important to have positive lyrics when hoping to get song placements in advertising,” Zumbach told me when asked about the advice she gives. “Artists and songwriters need to be open minded,” adds Lau, “Don’t pigeonhole yourself; be open to trying new things. Write with everyone—even if you’re afraid. Go out there and learn everything.” Round Hill views music as a long-term investment as great songs are useful placements for years. Consequently, the company is always looking to grow but also to maintain its existing catalog.

Round Hill is also a great place for Berklee students to learn through internships. The company offers a solid learning environment where interns can hone their administrative and creative skills. When asked about the internship program, company president Neil Gillis revealed that they bring their interns into staff meetings so that they can gain a broad experience. 

While Round Hill Music is a small company, its staff is extremely dedicated to their business and the artists and writers with whom they work. For more information, visit www.roundhillmusic.com