– MMF-US 20th Anniversary 1993-2013 –

 Industry Spotlight

Industry Spotlight - Christen Greene

Posted by MMF on Jul 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Christen Greene is the General Manager and Head of A&R at Onto Entertainment and owner of Faux Pas Productions.  She curates and is in charge of a diverse roster of independent artists in many genres including indie rock, folk/singer-songwriter and even a slam poet.  In the last 8 years, she has signed Hey Marseilles, The Lumineers, PHOX, Chris Pureka and Andrea Gibson to management deals and led them all to subsequent record deals and releases and tours worldwide.  She currently resides in Seattle, Wa but used to call Brooklyn, NY  and before that Washington, DC home.  In 2013 she was nominated and graciously accepted a position on the Pacific Northwest Board of Governors for the GRAMMY organization where she is also a voting member.  She really hates cold calls but really loves swimming in lakes.

 

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

Well, I wanted to be the person who, “found bands and made them big” and I didn’t know what “A&R” was when I was a kid.  I got more involved in the music industry scene while finishing college and my documentary film thesis was a juxtaposition of independent artists vs. major label acts.  I needed live footage of one of my indie subjects and she didn’t have any shows on the books.  So I booked her a few from contacts I had made while going to shows.  I made a press kit and got the bug.  Never finished that documentary, but I booked her a ton of shows, moved to Western Mass signed another act (Chris Pureka) and developed her, booked her tours, and so it began.  I also really liked the idea of wearing jeans and going to shows for a living – so, you know, it all worked out. J

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

I was a jack of all trades at Merriweather Post Pavilion in the DC/Baltimore area in High School.  I took tickets when Pearl Jam was fighting Ticketmaster that was pretty cool.   I cleaned up after shows, I worked security, green room, etc… where ever I was needed.  I got it because my sister was working there and they needed hands one summer.  It was great.  Ozzy Osbourne shot me with a water cannon once.  I also worked as a Street Team Coordinator at The Iron Horse Music Group (Northampton, MA) when I finished school and was getting my management company off the ground.  That company and those people -- I can’t say enough positive things about them.  Smart, smart folks up there. Taught me a lot about music, buying, booking and promo.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

I have to love the music first and foremost.  The kind of love where I listen to it endlessly, nothing but that for months.  I usually end up listening to it so much that my friends start to hate me for it.  All of my clients have that in common. J   But after that I want a work ethic.  The artist has to be the hardest working member of the team until they’re big enough where they have a team who works for them.   Bottom line:  they have to want it and work for it.

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

In this order:

Great product/songs/albums – it all comes back to the art.  After that:

Great work ethic – on stage and off

Timely, relevant releases

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Truthfully?  Staying focused on conference calls where more than 4 people are involved. J  But on a more serious note our company is juggling a lot right now and is expanding.  We have small arena and shed tours going out and mid-size club tours going out – we have bands in development and going into the studio – and juggling all of that, and all of the people involved in that is challenging.  We’re steering a lot of ships and there are a lot of people involved.  Managing all of the people, the crews, the band members and our employees is a daily challenge.  I’m constantly working on communicating with all of them effectively, efficiently and with patience so that all pistons are firing the most effectively.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

It’s grown a lot with the success of The Lumineers of course.  We have a small staff now, which is great.  We have junior managers signing bands and starting to make waves which is a great environment to be around and to foster.  It’s been A LOT of fun these last few years, that’s for sure.  I moved to Seattle from NYC 4 years ago and partnered up with some cool people and we’re making things happen out here in our little corner on a worldwide level.  That feels really good.  I’ve definitely moved into more of an “upper management” world, where most of my day is no longer routing club tours, but looking at spreadsheets, marketing plans and big picture stuff.  That’s new and different.

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?

Well, I hope the dust settles soon and we all stop saying, “…the business is upside down,” that’s for sure.  But seriously, who knows – it seems we’re moving into all streaming everywhere which is changing revenue streams for a lot of people.  It’ll be interesting to see who does it best.  I also feel like we’ll see the indies thrive more in the vein of the Macklemore’s and The Lumineers: hand-picked teams, around projects rather than packaged label staffs with long terms.  I think we’ll see some good reunion tours and I think we’ll see the output from bands being more multi-media and not just recordings.

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something.  Ask questions.  Listen more, talk less.   People want to tell you their stories.  Learn from them.  And consider the source!

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Well, if you’re working with un-established acts, you’ll need to learn how to book small club tours. Know the guys and gals who book those rooms.  They will help you develop the acts, you’ll work with them for years.  Go on tour, meet them.  See the rooms.  Know where you’ll be asking your bands to perform.  See and work in sides of the business so that you know how you’d like them to run when it’s your turn to hire people for those positions.  Smile more.  Go to more shows.  Support and root for your local scene and its bands to their core and help develop and build the community.

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will

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Industry Spotlight - Steve Hutton

Posted by MMF on Apr 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

After graduating law school Stephen Hutton started Uppercut Management. His first client was Kid Rock. During their time together they sold over 14 million records and received a Grammy nomination. Other clients have included Big Kenny, Better Than Ezra, All That Remains, The Heavy, Jonny Pierce (the Drums), RX Bandits, etc. Stephen also manages songwriters and currently has three songs in the Rock Top 40. Stephen recently joined Primary Wave Music where he serves as Head of the Rock Management Division.

 

 

 

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

Loving music and my desire to get deeper into it.

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

Working for I.R.S. Records as a radio rep based in Chicago.  Mike Lembo recommended me to the famous Mike Bone, IRS’s president.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

Everyone says this but it’s true – I have to start but loving the music.  I also have to like the artist – as a person and as a performer.  If I don’t get a buzz every time I see them play or speak with them – then it’s not for me.

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

When they’re singular.  Plenty of bands sound like other bands – I want an act that sounds like themselves.  And they have to write GREAT songs.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Same as it’s always been – finding a way to do the impossible.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

I recently partnered with Primary Wave to run their Rock Management division – so I went from a team of three to a team of 63!

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now? 

Constantly changing.

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Don’t work with an artist who you work harder then or care more about their music then they do.  

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Work with someone who has done it before – learn from them and then add your own creativity.

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will

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Industry Spotlight - Emily White

Posted by MMF on Nov 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Emily White is the co-founder of Whitesmith Entertainment, a music and comedy management & consulting firm based in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. In 2012, White launched Readymade Records & Publishing with Brendan Benson as a platform for Brendan's production projects after he produced over 6 albums in a year, including his own.  The team assembled around Readymae is commission based, which is a new model for how record labels are structured.  In addition to Benson, White manages GOLD MOTEL and Sydney Wayser in addition to consulting on Eric Burdon (of The Animals), Urge Overkill, and The Big Sleep.  White sits on the board of Direct to Fan music technology non-profit CASH Music.  In her early career, White was integral in developing The Dresden Dolls worldwide and worked directly with Imogen Heap, The Fiery Furnaces, Secret Machines, Paolo Nutini, Angelique Kidjo, Taj Mahal, Jonah Smith, and Zac Brown Band at companies ranging from Live Nation Artists to Madison House Inc.

 

Photo by BriAnna Olson attached.

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

My management career began in college when I was trying a variety of internships but always seemed to look at things from the artist’s point of view, as they are why we are here. I’ve always loved music and wanted to work closely with it. I love helping guide the source of music, and my father and grandfather are both great coaches, which certainly influenced my career path.

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

My first internship was for David Avery and Winifred Chane at Powderfinger Promotions in Boston, which came through my university, Northeastern. My first paid gigs were working at venues in Boston as well as tour managing The Dresden Dolls in college. I met the band when they played my school and asked if they needed help, and our relationship evolved from there. The local club / merch work came through an internship with the local promoter in Boston and through other artists in the city. My first full-time job was at Madison House in New York after I graduated.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

We of course look for talented artists whose output we admire, but we also look for people who work hard and treat others well. The latter traits seem basic but can make a big difference in the long term. It’s important for us to be on the same page with the artist and have a solid connection as well.

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

I think that emotion is hard to put into words. It’s art that you can’t live without, and/or live performance skills you go out of your way to see. We generally work with very multifaceted artists. Everyone on our management roster is a writer, performing artist, has recording skills, and they are generally multi-instrumentalists as well as vocalists. In addition, some are producers, actors, authors, screenwriters, and into various areas of fashion. That may just be the type of artist I am personally drawn to, but it certainly gives us a lot to work with and great ways to intertwine the individual or collective group’s talents into a larger picture career.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Unfortunately, sometimes I think artists can get in the way of themselves. But like a great coach working with a fragile athlete, a manager’s job is to support the artist and help them keep a level head. At the end of the day we will look for artists that we can work well with, so they know when to accept guidance knowing that we have their best interests at heart.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

Our business has evolved into a roster of extremely talented artists who are a pleasure to work with and have very self-sufficient yet growing careers. And I am certainly more interested in consulting than ever, as it is always interesting to work on projects that can affect larger groups or all artists from a broad perspective. Film technology is growing in a slew of ways, particularly with regard to production: my business partner Keri Smith has been on an executive producing and producing role with some pretty great projects coming out this fall. It is nice to have a balance of someone that works in the same field yet a parallel industry. Our comedy division will continue to grow, particularly in the area of books and recorded, the latter I'm particularly excited to get involved with.

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?

I'm so excited to see where our artists are at in 5 to 10 years! I love empowering people to find what they want to do and would love to grow a staff of likeminded people who understand our tactics and outlook on how to develop successful and sustainable careers. I also want to take on projects in the broader sphere of music as well as manage an Olympic swimmer. And I want a performance space on the roof J.

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as manager?

I was lucky to be schooled under great managers who kept a relatively level head and looked at things from a rational point of view. I think that if you stay the course and do great work it helps to consistently grow and move things forward.

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Get ready to work work work. More than ever, managers are involved in all areas of an artist's career. You're running someone else's business in addition to your own. It's a lot to take in. For me meditation and exercise are extremely important to helping me be as focused as possible. Finding outlets to balance a rather intense job in any field is the key to longevity. 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will

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Industry Spotlight - Ritch Esra

Posted by MMF on Sep 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Since 1992, Ritch Esra and Stephen Trumbull have been running the Music Business Registry which includes The A&R Registry, The Publisher Registry, The Music Business Attorney Registry, The Record Producer Directory and The Film and Television Music Guide.

"The directories give everyone vital, accurate and the most up to date information they need to contact the entire A&R, music, publishing, legal and film/TV music communities," says Ritch. "Each directory tells you how to reach these industry veterans by regular mail, E-mail (including web sites), direct dial telephone and fax. Additionally, we provide the exact title, street address, the name of their assistant and the style of music that each executive deals with. Due to the volatile nature of A&R, the A&R Registry is completely updated and reprinted every eight weeks and often has over 100 changes in a single issue. There's no directory of this kind anywhere in the world."

Ritch says that among the subscribers are record company executives, music publishers, managers, agents, attorneys, studios and other various music business professionals in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Stockholm, Sydney and Munich.
Ritch started out as a promotion coordinator for A&M Records in Los Angeles in 1980-81. He coordinated releases with radio stations as well as the national field staff, providing promotional prerelease information on what competitive stations are playing, informing stations on status on how a record was selling and overcoming objections and resistance to broadcasting new releases. He also ensured that all field staff had product and took care of any product needs for radio stations.
From 1981-1987, Ritch was director of West Coast A&R for Arista Records. He signed The Thompson Twins to their US Deal as well as Mara Getz. He worked extensively with the publishing and songwriting communities for material for Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Melissa Manchester, Tanya Tucker, Jennifer Warnes and Jermaine Jackson. He also coordinated music for the "Ghostbusters" and "Perfect" soundtracks.

From 1988-1991, Ritch worked on various independent projects. He produced the award-winning educational video for artists and musicians, "How to Get a Record Deal." "At the time, it was the only video of its kind examining the frequently misunderstood process from five different perspectives: record company executives, A&R VPs, artist managers, record producers and 16 major artists including Los Lobos, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins, Jody Watley, Karla Bonoff, Michael Bolton, Fleetwood Mac, Chick Corea and Kenny Loggins," says Ritch. Producers Phil Ramone and Jeff Baxter are also interviewed in the video.
Ritch has organized and coordinated the events and activities of The Independent Music Conference in Los Angeles sponsored by BMI. The three-day symposium addressed problems facing recording artists, including publishing, management, touring, obtaining record deals and exploring alternative ways to bring music to the public.

In addition, he has written articles for Music Connection, New England Performer and Musician. He has been a guest lecturer from 1983 to the present at USC, UCLA, NYU, and Middle State Tennessee as well as Canadian Music Week, New Orleans Business Symposium.

From 1987 to the present, Ritch has been an instructor at the Trebas Institute of Recording Arts in Los Angeles, where he was the chief Instructor as well as at UCLA Extension, USC, SAE teaching several courses including:  A&R The Heartbeat of the Record Company, which focused on the artist signing policies of major and independent record labels, Music Business Overview, a course designed to give students an understanding of the many aspects of the Music Industry.  He was a member of the board of advisors for the Department of Performing Arts at UCLA for 3 years 1990 - 1993, and initiated full day seminars and discussion panels on the music business as well as created new course ideas and methods for expanding programs to keep students enrolled in the UCLA Extention program.



What should an A&R rep look for in a new artist?
That's very subjective. You'd have to ask the A&R community. Mostly, they look for people who have music that they believe in. They look for artists or bands who are great live performers. They look for artists or bands who they believe can be stars. They look for artists or bands that believe in themselves. The other thing that A&R people look for are artists that they feel that they can work with. I know of a multi-platinum act that a very famous A&R man passed on - not because they were not great, but because he knew that he could not work with the act. They went on to sign with another label and were very successful. Finally, I believe that not every artist is right for every label and vice versa. A&R people look for artists that will fit the corporate culture of the label that they work for. This is very important to keep in mind because not all labels have the same corporate culture. Sony operates on a totally different corporate culture from Warner Bros. and Interscope. And Capitol operates on a totally different corporate culture than RCA.

What about an established artist in between labels?
They look for an artist who they still believe can have relevance and impact in the current marketplace. They look for an artist who is still making great music. They look for an artist who they feel still has a viable audience. As a live performer this was something Clive completely got with Santana. Carlos was someone who still had a viable audience from a live point of view. In addition, he was still very relevant with the newer generation of artists, and the album that he made was completely a reflection of that.

What should an artist and artist in between labels look for in an A&R rep?
You should look for someone/label who believes in your work and understands what you're about musically. You should look for someone/label who believes in your vision of yourself. You should look for someone who you feel you can work with on a creative level.

First industry job?
I was an office assistant/driver for the trade magazine Record World in 1978.

Career highlights?
Working with Clive Davis for six years at Arista Records in the A&R Dept. Producing an educational video for up-and-coming recording artists called "How to Get A Record Deal" and forming my own co 10 years ago.

Career disappointment?
None really - so far!!

Greatest challenge?
Forming a company with my business partner and having faith that there would be enough money to support us.

Best business decision?
Forming my own company!

Best advice you received?
It was from Clive Davis, who taught me the value of becoming a veracious reader and keeping well informed regarding what's going on in the industry. Over the last 10 years we've built a business on that premise!

Most memorable industry experience?
Signing my first artist when I was at Arista named Mara Getz.

What friends would be surprised to learn about you?
That I love to spend time alone!

Industry pet peeve?
That we expect artists to be successful in 20 minutes and if they are not, we move on. That's my biggest pet peeve - that we've completely lost our faith in artists to deliver. The other part of that comes from the fact that we, as an industry, have way, way too many artists that are signed.

If I weren't doing this, I would be...
Teaching students about the music industry

Industry mentor?
Clive Davis

Office paraphernalia?
I have a lot of signed CD's (James Taylor, Crosby, Stills & Nash) Special Promo CD Packages, signed posters (Rickie Lee Jones)

Best advice to offer?
Never lose sight of what's most important in your life!

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will

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Manager Spotlight - Brian Hetherman

Posted by MMF on Jul 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

 

Brian Hetherman began his career as a Club DJ in the 80’s and quickly landed at one of Canada’s premier Indie record labels Duke Street Records. In 1990 he moved to MCA Records, which would soon become Universal and worked his way up from Sales, to Radio Promo and Marketing. In 1995 Brian became the youngest head of A&R for both MCA Records and MCA Music Publishing where he remained until 2001, and from there Brian was hired as the inaugural Executive Director of Radio Starmaker Fund, where he set up one of the largest Funding agencies in Canada.


In 2003 he pursued his dream of becoming and Artist Manager, Record label owner and Music Publisher with Curve Music and Cerberus Artist Mgmt, and in 2005 was tapped to become the President of the Music Managers Forum Canada, and soon thereafter became the Director of the America’s of the Board of the International Music Managers Forum. In 2009 Brian was asked to join FACTOR, another of Canada’s largest funding agencies after serving as a Board member for 5 years, within 6 months Brian was running FACTOR.


In 2011 Brian returned to one of his true passion’s his label and management company. In addition Brian continues to work as the International consultant for Canadian Music Week, as a Director of the IMMF( in 2012 Interim CoChair) and is also Vice President of Business Development for Mega Music Canada a digital music initiative that provides free music downloads to the public, but ensures the Artists, Labels and Publishers get paid for the music.

 

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of management, …then my company added a publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies. I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and the way they work with me.

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?

The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will.

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?
Some would say I fell into it, although partially true I felt after years of running Universal Music's A&R dept, I felt like I had already "unofficially" semi-managed a bunch of acts already, and after I left Universal to run Radio Starmaker Fund (one of Canada's biggest funding organizations, I had the chance to leave there and manage an act I had signed at Universal who was a platinum act….those chances don't come around very often where the first act you manage is already established….that was 10 years ago and I haven't looked back (well briefly, but who's counting ;) )
 
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
I was a Club DJ and I worked in Record retail originally, but my first "real" job was at an Indie label doing retail marketing, and I got the job through persistence…..its funny I had 2 job interviews that day and after my first interview at CBS (Now Sony) the guy called my second interview at the Indie and told them them to hire me….and they did…I sort of had the job before I got there….fate is a funny thing in my career….my career could have been drastically different if I had gotten the first gig.
 
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I obviously have to like the music, but as my career in Mgmt has moved on, its less about that for me….its more that you have to believe, not just in the music but the person…..they have to be motivated…and I don't manage crazy people anymore no matter how talented….its just t hard
 
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
Its the intangible, of course great songs, something characteristic about them (i.e. Great voice, great playing, interesting look) but its really the thing that makes you look at them and say "this person is a star"…..many years ago I met Avril Lavigne when she was 14 years old….we hit it off immediately, she was country back then, but I within minutes of meeting her I just knew she would be a star……ultimately she didn't sign with the label I worked for at the time, but I will never forget that experience.
 
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Juggling…..literally, all of the different hats that I must wear to keep my business going, Label, Mgmt, Publishing not to mention active consulting and the work I do with the IMMF.
 
How did your business transform over the last several years?
What started as a management company, became a label out of necessity within 1 year of Mgmt….I used to joke that my job as manager was to get Artists out of Major label deals not into them…and thats what I did for the first 2 years of Management, …then my company added a Publishing division again out of necessity ….and finally after a brief stint away from my companies to run the other Funding agency in Canada, when I returned I realized I needed to add consulting to my companies.
I have also changed the way I work with bands as well and he way I work with them.
 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
The million dollar question….I used to say 5 years ago that the business would be much more focused and that we would be clear of some of the digital challenges ….seems we haven't gotten that far in 5 years….so I am hesitant to say the same 5 years from now…unfortunately I don't see it being that radically different in 5 years, but I hope and expect in 10 years that things will have evened out a bit, and when you consider who thing have changed in the last 10 its not a stretch to say that our business will be radically different in 10 years….maybe look nothing like it does now?
 
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Without sounding like an ego maniac the best advice is that which I have given to myself  "when an artist becomes huge and successful it is because they are great, when they fail miserably its because I am a shitty manager"….of course I am being tongue in cheek, but so far that has been the truth for me.
 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Be prepared to do everything yourself, don't look backwards but look forward…..if you don't build the story no one else will

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Ralph Jaccodine

Posted by MMF on Jun 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

 

I started out as a pretty bad musician but I could market and promote the music with passion. I wanted to sell something I really believe in and music was it for music is tied into deep places in my life. At the time I met my first client, Ellis Paul, in 1994, I was running my commercial real estate company for 12 years in downtown Boston. This job was my crash course in negotiating, figuring out how money flows and how to build a company, I decided  to commit myself to helping Ellis get his music 'out there', whatever that meant, so I gave up the suits and ties and built a record label and management company.   
What was your first industry job and how did you get it?
In high school I was president of the Allentown (Pa.) Council of Youth which promoted concerts and then I was the concert director at the University of Notre Dame getting me my first taste of the music industry. I worked with promoting acts such as: Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Rush, Styx, Heart, Dolly Parton, Van Halen, Hall and Oats, Bill Cosby  and others.
What determines your desire to work with an artist?
An artist's talent and work ethic is ultimately one of the top determiners if the relationship can have a chance of working so this is also very high on my list. I need to believe the artist's music can change the world AND I need to know if they are good people
In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
I need to know: Does the artist's music touch people in a profound way, whether it be their heart, head or groin?  The music has to stick and create a powerful force in the listener's life or the artist is wasting their time. We don't need more musicians or new songs in this world... we have enough. You have to be great first, then get paid.
What is your greatest professional challenge today?
Being a manger is also being an expert on marketing, technology, promotion, PR and psychology. The rules seem to be changing overnight so keeping up with all of the turbulance and not losing my core values and sanity is a must... and a challenge.
How did your business transform over the last several years?
I used to have label partners with all sorts of money and specialists they would bring to the table, now it is all coming from the team I put together, often with little or no budget. 
Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
I see the Artist- Manager relationship growing to be an even more  important, powerful force in the business and the fans will take more of an investor- ownership  role to keep their favorite artists in business 
    
What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager? 
The long time manager of Aerosmith, Tim Collins, became a mentor of mine and he introduced me to the 'beginners mind' where you don't get stuck with just one way of looking at things. You should respond to situations with the wonder, interest and humility of a beginner instead of thinking you are an 'expert' at everything... in summary, I learned to always make new mistakes. 
What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
Remember job of a manager is someone who has to throw their body between the artist's foot and their gun.

Ralph Jaccodine began his career in music promoting concerts in Allentown, Pa. and then as the concert director at the University of Notre Dame working with artists such as: Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Rush, Hall and Oates, Kansas, Styx and the like  After running his own downtown Boston commercial real estate company for 12 years, he joined Mike Dreese, the co-founder of Newbury Comics, one of the nation's leading retail music chains, in starting Black Wolf Records, an independent record label.       


In 1994 he started Ralph Jaccodine Management guiding the career of songwriter Ellis Paul, and then expanded the business working with several additional artists including: Martin Sexton (Singer-songwriter), The Push Stars (Rock), Flynn(Singer Songwriter) , Antje Duvekot (Singer-songwriter), The Adam Ezra Group, Johnny A(guitarist, rocker),  Works Progress Administration (Glen Phillips, Sean Watkins & Luke Bulla),  Vinx (World Music/Sting's percussionist), Averi (pop-rock), and Bang Camaro (rock).

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager?

I started out as a pretty bad musician but I could market and promote the music with passion. I wanted to sell something I really believe in and music was it for music is tied into deep places in my life. At the time I met my first client, Ellis Paul, in 1994, I was running my commercial real estate company for 12 years in downtown Boston. This job was my crash course in negotiating, figuring out how money flows and how to build a company, I decided  to commit myself to helping Ellis get his music 'out there', whatever that meant, so I gave up the suits and ties and built a record label and management company.   

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

In high school I was president of the Allentown (Pa.) Council of Youth which promoted concerts and then I was the concert director at the University of Notre Dame getting me my first taste of the music industry. I worked with promoting acts such as: Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Rush, Styx, Heart, Dolly Parton, Van Halen, Hall and Oats, Bill Cosby  and others.

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

An artist's talent and work ethic is ultimately one of the top determiners if the relationship can have a chance of working so this is also very high on my list. I need to believe the artist's music can change the world AND I need to know if they are good people

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

I need to know: Does the artist's music touch people in a profound way, whether it be their heart, head or groin?  The music has to stick and create a powerful force in the listener's life or the artist is wasting their time. We don't need more musicians or new songs in this world... we have enough. You have to be great first, then get paid.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Being a manger is also being an expert on marketing, technology, promotion, PR and psychology. The rules seem to be changing overnight so keeping up with all of the turbulance and not losing my core values and sanity is a must... and a challenge.

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

I used to have label partners with all sorts of money and specialists they would bring to the table, now it is all coming from the team I put together, often with little or no budget. 

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?

I see the Artist- Manager relationship growing to be an even more  important, powerful force in the business and the fans will take more of an investor- ownership  role to keep their favorite artists in business 

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager? 

The long time manager of Aerosmith, Tim Collins, became a mentor of mine and he introduced me to the 'beginners mind' where you don't get stuck with just one way of looking at things. You should respond to situations with the wonder, interest and humility of a beginner instead of thinking you are an 'expert' at everything... in summary, I learned to always make new mistakes. 

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Remember job of a manager is someone who has to throw their body between the artist's foot and their gun.

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Jim Donio - NARM

Posted by MMF on May 04, 2012 | 0 Comments

Michael Huppe is responsible for the strategic direction of SoundExchange, the nonprofit organization that collects digital music royalties paid by internet radio, satellite radio and other digital media services on behalf of recording artists and record labels. SoundExchange represents one the music industry’s fastest growing segments including more than 48,000 payable performer accounts and over20,000 rights owners and label accounts. 
  
Michael has devoted the past 12 years of his career to protecting the value of music. Prior to being appointed to SoundExchange’s top position in 2011, he most recently served as organization’s executive vice president and general counsel.
Michael holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a JD from Harvard Law School.  He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. His optimism helped to place SoundExchange among Forbes Magazine’s “Top Names You Need to Know for 2011.”
1. What in your career path led you to your initial job at SoundExchange?
I’ve had an interest and passion for music since childhood, but my career path -- mixed with a little bit of luck -- brought me to SoundExchange.  I was drawn to intellectual property law ever since law school, because of what it meant for our culture and the policy goals behind it.  I tried to work on as many IP cases as I could at my law firm, ultimately moving to focus on the music industry at the Recording Industry Association of America, and spent the last two years there doing work related to SoundExchange.  When my focus shifted to digital issues, it was clear how important this area was going to be for the industry as a whole.  When the opportunity at SoundExchange to become general counsel opened up, it was a natural and exciting move.  About four years later, I became president.
2. How has SoundExchange evolved the last few years?
It’s an exciting time in the music industry, and new services and innovation mean consumers have  more access to music than ever before.  As a result, SoundExchange has experienced explosive growth over the past few years. Our numbers are proof of our growing contribution to the industry: In 2011 we distributed more than $292 million to artists and record labels – that’s nearly triple what we paid out in 2008!  What used to be a rounding error on the books of most recipients has now become a very real and meaningful source of income.
These new revenue streams makes a difference not just in the lives of well-established artists and labels, but also in those of working class artists and labels. That is a very rewarding part of our work.  Of the over 60,000 checks SoundExchange sent out last year (2011), over 90 percent were for less than $5,000.
3. Where do you see SoundExchange five to 10 years from now?
First of all, you can expect to see continued growth from SoundExchange. In the next five to 10 years, we could very well become as large as other performance rights organizations that have been around much longer.
In addition, we’re increasing our technology game. We are building a next-generation technology platform that lays the foundation for our future and for the benefit of the entire industry. We’re also in the process of developing a repertoire database – a single authoritative database for U.S. recording that is critical for SoundExchange to expand and improve our service – also for the benefit the entire music industry. As an organization, we’re focused on creating an environment to allow this new part of the industry to flourish.
We are developing technologies that can have a broad application.  We will be able to do more than simply administer the statutory license, such as helping companies with their “back office” functions, or even helping distribute royalties for other industries. 
I can promise you what won’t change: SoundExchange will always fight for the music community – artists, artists’ managers and copyright owners. We will always work to protect the value of content.  
4. What is your greatest professional challenge today?
While there are many, I think our greatest professional challenge as of this moment is probably also the industry’s most exciting challenge: a change of mindset, and a conversion to a completely different way of consuming music. The historic model was based on sales, and while sales are still important we need to focus on other revenue sources as well.  The consumption today might just as easily be for “access to a stream” as it is “purchase of a CD.”   The model is changing and it affects everyone -- managers, artists, labels, consumers and everyone in between. SoundExchange has found itself right in the middle of the industry’s evolution. Yes, it creates challenges in terms of the need to enhance our technology to keep up with the explosive growth in the streaming industry. But, the real challenge is helping to broaden industry perspectives in order to keep up with consumer expectations for legally accessing music.   
There are some who like to preach “doom and gloom,” or that the music industry is dying.  That’s just not true.  Our industry isn’t dying; it’s simply evolving, and we’re just starting to tap the new potential of this evolution.  
5.  What's the best advice you've received since heading up SoundExchange?
It’s actually a philosophy that I’ve carried with me throughout my life and career, which is “never be satisfied.”  I’ve always been the type to push a little harder, or strive for that target that’s a little higher. Running a company is about what lies over the hill, and not where you’re standing right now.  I believe the entire team at SoundExchange shares the same forward-looking vision that we’re working towards, for the future of our organization and for the future of the music industry.
6 Do you think we will ever get an artist terrestrial Performance Right? If so what do you think it will take to achieve this?
Absolutely. It is only a matter of time.  For anyone who truly looks at the issue, there is really no good factual or policy reason that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a terrestrial performance right. This situation is simply a victim of history and politics.
In the last Congress, we moved farther than ever before in the 80-year plus fight for this right.  More artists and more people in the industry are recognizing the undeniable fairness of our position, and this drumbeat is only getting louder.  I certainly recognize the long business relationship between the broadcasters and the music industry, and that they have historically provided benefits to one another.  But it is neither fair nor appropriate that broadcasters make billions of dollars every year from the creativity, hard work and investment of others, without sharing any of that profit.  If someone wants to give away their content, that’s their choice, but it shouldn’t be given away as a matter of law. Everyone with a stake in this fight should speak up and lend their voice to this fight.
7. Do you think services like Spotify have the potential to hurt SoundExchange. Please explain.
SoundExchange is excited about the growth of all digital music services as long as they appropriately compensate artists and rights holders. We’re not privy to terms of any particular deal, but SoundExchange always fights to ensure artists and rights owners get their fair share. It’s our job to ensure that content continues to have a value. That said, we think services like Spotfiy can coexist with those that rely on the statutory license that SoundExchange administers. They offer entirely different experiences and cater to different types of consumer demands. One is a more active “lean-forward” experience, requiring far more input, while the other is a more passive “lean-back” model that requires less interaction from the listener.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the most passionate Spotify fan also listens to Pandora whenever they are in the car, just as the avid record collector would listen to FM radio before.  There is no reason both of these models – and others – can’t easily coexist in the music ecosystem.
8 Do you see any new revenue streams for Artists from new media?
Definitely. We expect digital radio to continue to grow, so more and more artists will see increasing royalties from SoundExchange. Sirius XM, for example, is projected to grow, Pandora’s usage is exploding, other webcasters are seeing double-digit growth every month, and new digital music services are launching every week.
In addition, we are just beginning to scratch the surface on the potential for monetizing the online audience.  Unlike broadcast technology (which is a “shotgun approach” to messaging), online marketing can be ultra-targeted.  Digital services can match a fan with not only their demographics, but their online preferences, online usage patterns, geo-location, or even hyper-local marketing (such as texting someone as they’re passing a relevant sales location).  As this convergence of data is perfected, it will allow artists to connect with fans like never before.  And with that greater connection come new abilities to monetize the experience.
9 What advice would you give a new manager coming into the industry?
I would advise any new manager entering the business to be forward-thinking and keep an open mind. And most importantly – don’t miss out on any of these revenue streams. Remember, many of these models did not exist five to 10 years ago. (Just imagine how different this same discussion would have been even only five years ago.)  If you think you know everything, and every possible stream of revenue, you almost certainly don’t.  We still find managers who think they don’t need to sign up their artists with SoundExchange because they’ve already signed them up with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.  So many people in this industry don’t know what they don’t know.
The successful artist of tomorrow will be drawing significant revenue from 10-15 (or more) different sources, as opposed to two to three primary streams under the traditional model.  So be ready to work all the angles for these different sources, including maximizing your online presence and social networking strategy, and recognizing that it is important to extract value from every stream possible.  And make sure you have someone on your team who really knows new media, and how to exploit it to the artists’ maximum advantage.

Jim Donio is the President of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), the music business association in the United States. Since taking the role in 2004, Donio has evolved the organization from one primarily focused on physical product retailers to a more inclusive trade association that represents the full breadth of the current music business, including digital distribution, mobile, games, video, applications, and other entities that monetize music. This expanding membership vision includes not only Board-level representation from companies such as Amazon, emusic, iTunes, Microsoft, Nokia, Spotify, and Verizon, but also the introduction of membership levels for individuals and students, not just corporations.

  

 

In addition, he conceived the Digital Think Tank, which was formally created in 2009 to explore and resolve objectives related to enterprise-level digital music commerce. Donio recruited Bill Wilson to helm Digital Strategy and Business Development to oversee this area, underscoring NARM’s commitment to being on the leading edge of technological developments for music retail. The Digital Think Tank has now morphed fully into digitalmusic.org, a comprehensive hub for all of NARM’s digital initiatives that features six functional work groups, events such as the Music Startup Academy, white papers, and more.

 

Donio has worked on collaborative industry campaigns to inspire music sales since he first joined the organization in 1988. NARM has worked with every music awards show, from the GRAMMYs ® to the Country Music Awards, to translate the televised experiences into exciting in-store campaigns. In 2007, NARM collaborated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to create the “Definitive 200,” a ranked list of the 200 albums and soundtracks that should be in every music collection.

 

More recently, Donio worked with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to revive the “Give the Gift of Music” campaign in May 2010, which provides consumers with ideas on how to give music – both CDs and digital formats - as gifts, and providing retailers support materials that highlight “giftable” titles. NARM also supports the now-annual Record Store Day on the third Saturday in
April, bringing together independently- owned record stores and artists to celebrate the art of music.

 

Donio has also revitalized NARM’s Music Biz convention, making it the definitive gathering for
about 1,000 executives engaged in the business of music in the United States. Held each spring in different locations around the US, Donio has also worked to expand NARM’s event offerings beyond
the convention, introducing the Entertainment And Technology Law Conference Series and a regular schedule of webinars on a diverse variety of topics of interest in the industry.

 

Donio also finds time to participate in other industry events. In 2009, he was a keynote speaker at
the TM Forum’s Management World Americas, and was a panelist at MediaTech’s Future of Packaged Media, as well as Digital Music Forum East
. He has also guest lectured to students at the NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and Drexel University.

 

Donio worked his way up through NARM since he joined the organization almost 25 years ago as Director of Creative Services.  In 1991, he added PR and marketing functions to his NARM resume, and was promoted to the position of Communications Director.  In 1995, he took on oversight of NARM’s conventions and conferences as Vice President of Communications & Events.  In 2000, he was elevated to Executive Vice President, adding most of the organization’s day-to-day administrative and operational responsibilities to his job description, before assuming the top job in 2004.  

 

Prior to joining NARM, Donio held a variety of editorial, PR and event-related positions for the Association of Information Systems Professionals (AISP), an international individual membership organization focused on the needs of office systems professionals.

 

A Philadelphia native, Donio earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Temple University.
He has been involved in the city’s Mummers Parade tradition since his college days, and has supported the Mummers Museum since it opened in 1976. This folk tradition, one of the oldest in the country, celebrates the New Year with elaborately costumed participants, songs and dancing. Jim has participated in a variety of ways, including as a musician, costume designer, choreographer, and television commentator, and won a local Emmy Award in 1986 for “Outstanding Cultural Programming” for his special coverage of the event.

 

Donio has also acted professionally, and if you look closely, you can see him in the movies “Mannequin,” “Clean & Sober,” and “Stealing Home.” The first record he recalls receiving as a gift was Meet the Monkees, which is still on his personal “Definitive 200” list.  

 

 

1. What in your career path led you to your initial job at NARM?  

Prior to joining NARM, I was working for a business organization whose member were office information systems professionals. That organization was relocating to Chicago and I did not want to make the move.  I answered an ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer for an editor at a South Jersey-based entertainment industry organization...and that was NARM and its sister organization in the video space the Video Software Dealers Association (now the Entertainment Merchants Association). I has always been interested in the entertainment space, having been an actor, broadcaster, musician, and dancer with a voracious appetite for all things involving popular culture.  Since my degree is actually in Journalism, and I had substantial prior writing, PR and editorial experience, the initial position was upgraded to Director of Creative Services and I was responsible for both organizations' publications and promotional materials. 

 

2. How has NARM evolved the last few years?

NARM has gone from an organization whose members and mission were exclusively focused on the distribution and sale of physical music product to an organization whose members are now evenly split between physical and digital distribution and sales. We have also created a new brand for our digital initiatives called digitalmusic.org that has six work groups, events, white papers, etc. Even our Board of Directors is now skewed slightly more digital than physical, including representatives from Amazon, emusic, iTunes, Microsoft, Nokia, Spotify, and Verizon.

 

3. Where do you see NARM five to ten years from now?

We are a service organization that exists to advance the business of music. As the future of the business continues to evolve and unfold, we will be reflecting those changes in who belongs, what we offer and what we do...providing the necessary programs and services that our membership demands.

 

4. What is your greatest professional challenge today?

What keeps us up at night is really no different than most other businesses in these tough times...finding the best ways to maintain and increase revenue, while controlling expenses. 

 

5. What is the greatest advice you've received since heading up NARM?

I would say the best piece of advice I have received was from a very trusted mentor and friend who I was talking to when I was extremely angry about a particular e-mail I had just received.  I was venting about how I was going to quickly respond, and the advice was never, ever respond to an e-mail when you are this angry. You should always wait until the next day. I have really tried to heed that advice.

 

6. How do free services such as Spotify impact retail music sales?  

Music subscription services, some of which have free options, have surged recently in both usage and overall membership. And that surge has brought with it no shortage of questions, confusion and controversy over how the model will impact the broader music industry: both labels and artists alike. As the collective voice of the digital music business, digitalmusic.org and its Music Subscription Work Group convened to address this issue directly and drafted a document to dispel myths and facilitate a balanced discussion on the role of subscription music services in today’s marketplace. This is a complicated issue that, like past innovations in this sector, will take time to fully comprehend and appreciate. Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio, Slacker, Cricket's Muve, Zune, and Sony Music Unlimited are all members of this Work Group. It's a myth that these subscription services cannibalize music sales. In fact, digital music sales have actually increased along with the spike in on-demand streaming and subscription music users. By getting consumers to subscribe for fixed periods of time, creators and content companies benefit from a steady stream of revenue. 

 

7. What do you think is the future of physical product such as CD's and vinyl?

I think there will always be a role for physical products in the marketplace. But the products will likely continue to change and perhaps bundle different types of digital offerings with the physical product. The way people enjoy music falls along a spectrum of choices and I don't see that spectrum diminishing its choices to completely eliminate a physical option of some type.

 

8 Where do you see opportunities in the digital retail space for new artists?

It's really all about commerce in its broadest form. There has probably never been a time where there are more avenues for new artists to gain exposure for their music. But sometimes the monetization is not as simple. I have already talked about the subscription model, but there are also new opportunities as social media embraces social commerce. There will be other types of commerce opportunities as well for artists to explore and exploit with the development of new apps.

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Mike Huppe

Posted by MMF on Apr 09, 2012 | 0 Comments

Michael Huppe is responsible for the strategic direction of SoundExchange, the nonprofit organization that collects digital music royalties paid by internet radio, satellite radio and other digital media services on behalf of recording artists and record labels. SoundExchange represents one the music industry’s fastest growing segments including more than 48,000 payable performer accounts and over20,000 rights owners and label accounts. 
  
Michael has devoted the past 12 years of his career to protecting the value of music. Prior to being appointed to SoundExchange’s top position in 2011, he most recently served as organization’s executive vice president and general counsel.
Michael holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a JD from Harvard Law School.  He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. His optimism helped to place SoundExchange among Forbes Magazine’s “Top Names You Need to Know for 2011.”
1. What in your career path led you to your initial job at SoundExchange?
I’ve had an interest and passion for music since childhood, but my career path -- mixed with a little bit of luck -- brought me to SoundExchange.  I was drawn to intellectual property law ever since law school, because of what it meant for our culture and the policy goals behind it.  I tried to work on as many IP cases as I could at my law firm, ultimately moving to focus on the music industry at the Recording Industry Association of America, and spent the last two years there doing work related to SoundExchange.  When my focus shifted to digital issues, it was clear how important this area was going to be for the industry as a whole.  When the opportunity at SoundExchange to become general counsel opened up, it was a natural and exciting move.  About four years later, I became president.
2. How has SoundExchange evolved the last few years?
It’s an exciting time in the music industry, and new services and innovation mean consumers have  more access to music than ever before.  As a result, SoundExchange has experienced explosive growth over the past few years. Our numbers are proof of our growing contribution to the industry: In 2011 we distributed more than $292 million to artists and record labels – that’s nearly triple what we paid out in 2008!  What used to be a rounding error on the books of most recipients has now become a very real and meaningful source of income.
These new revenue streams makes a difference not just in the lives of well-established artists and labels, but also in those of working class artists and labels. That is a very rewarding part of our work.  Of the over 60,000 checks SoundExchange sent out last year (2011), over 90 percent were for less than $5,000.
3. Where do you see SoundExchange five to 10 years from now?
First of all, you can expect to see continued growth from SoundExchange. In the next five to 10 years, we could very well become as large as other performance rights organizations that have been around much longer.
In addition, we’re increasing our technology game. We are building a next-generation technology platform that lays the foundation for our future and for the benefit of the entire industry. We’re also in the process of developing a repertoire database – a single authoritative database for U.S. recording that is critical for SoundExchange to expand and improve our service – also for the benefit the entire music industry. As an organization, we’re focused on creating an environment to allow this new part of the industry to flourish.
We are developing technologies that can have a broad application.  We will be able to do more than simply administer the statutory license, such as helping companies with their “back office” functions, or even helping distribute royalties for other industries. 
I can promise you what won’t change: SoundExchange will always fight for the music community – artists, artists’ managers and copyright owners. We will always work to protect the value of content.  
4. What is your greatest professional challenge today?
While there are many, I think our greatest professional challenge as of this moment is probably also the industry’s most exciting challenge: a change of mindset, and a conversion to a completely different way of consuming music. The historic model was based on sales, and while sales are still important we need to focus on other revenue sources as well.  The consumption today might just as easily be for “access to a stream” as it is “purchase of a CD.”   The model is changing and it affects everyone -- managers, artists, labels, consumers and everyone in between. SoundExchange has found itself right in the middle of the industry’s evolution. Yes, it creates challenges in terms of the need to enhance our technology to keep up with the explosive growth in the streaming industry. But, the real challenge is helping to broaden industry perspectives in order to keep up with consumer expectations for legally accessing music.   
There are some who like to preach “doom and gloom,” or that the music industry is dying.  That’s just not true.  Our industry isn’t dying; it’s simply evolving, and we’re just starting to tap the new potential of this evolution.  
5.  What's the best advice you've received since heading up SoundExchange?
It’s actually a philosophy that I’ve carried with me throughout my life and career, which is “never be satisfied.”  I’ve always been the type to push a little harder, or strive for that target that’s a little higher. Running a company is about what lies over the hill, and not where you’re standing right now.  I believe the entire team at SoundExchange shares the same forward-looking vision that we’re working towards, for the future of our organization and for the future of the music industry.
6 Do you think we will ever get an artist terrestrial Performance Right? If so what do you think it will take to achieve this?
Absolutely. It is only a matter of time.  For anyone who truly looks at the issue, there is really no good factual or policy reason that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a terrestrial performance right. This situation is simply a victim of history and politics.
In the last Congress, we moved farther than ever before in the 80-year plus fight for this right.  More artists and more people in the industry are recognizing the undeniable fairness of our position, and this drumbeat is only getting louder.  I certainly recognize the long business relationship between the broadcasters and the music industry, and that they have historically provided benefits to one another.  But it is neither fair nor appropriate that broadcasters make billions of dollars every year from the creativity, hard work and investment of others, without sharing any of that profit.  If someone wants to give away their content, that’s their choice, but it shouldn’t be given away as a matter of law. Everyone with a stake in this fight should speak up and lend their voice to this fight.
7. Do you think services like Spotify have the potential to hurt SoundExchange. Please explain.
SoundExchange is excited about the growth of all digital music services as long as they appropriately compensate artists and rights holders. We’re not privy to terms of any particular deal, but SoundExchange always fights to ensure artists and rights owners get their fair share. It’s our job to ensure that content continues to have a value. That said, we think services like Spotfiy can coexist with those that rely on the statutory license that SoundExchange administers. They offer entirely different experiences and cater to different types of consumer demands. One is a more active “lean-forward” experience, requiring far more input, while the other is a more passive “lean-back” model that requires less interaction from the listener.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the most passionate Spotify fan also listens to Pandora whenever they are in the car, just as the avid record collector would listen to FM radio before.  There is no reason both of these models – and others – can’t easily coexist in the music ecosystem.
8 Do you see any new revenue streams for Artists from new media?
Definitely. We expect digital radio to continue to grow, so more and more artists will see increasing royalties from SoundExchange. Sirius XM, for example, is projected to grow, Pandora’s usage is exploding, other webcasters are seeing double-digit growth every month, and new digital music services are launching every week.
In addition, we are just beginning to scratch the surface on the potential for monetizing the online audience.  Unlike broadcast technology (which is a “shotgun approach” to messaging), online marketing can be ultra-targeted.  Digital services can match a fan with not only their demographics, but their online preferences, online usage patterns, geo-location, or even hyper-local marketing (such as texting someone as they’re passing a relevant sales location).  As this convergence of data is perfected, it will allow artists to connect with fans like never before.  And with that greater connection come new abilities to monetize the experience.
9 What advice would you give a new manager coming into the industry?
I would advise any new manager entering the business to be forward-thinking and keep an open mind. And most importantly – don’t miss out on any of these revenue streams. Remember, many of these models did not exist five to 10 years ago. (Just imagine how different this same discussion would have been even only five years ago.)  If you think you know everything, and every possible stream of revenue, you almost certainly don’t.  We still find managers who think they don’t need to sign up their artists with SoundExchange because they’ve already signed them up with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.  So many people in this industry don’t know what they don’t know.
The successful artist of tomorrow will be drawing significant revenue from 10-15 (or more) different sources, as opposed to two to three primary streams under the traditional model.  So be ready to work all the angles for these different sources, including maximizing your online presence and social networking strategy, and recognizing that it is important to extract value from every stream possible.  And make sure you have someone on your team who really knows new media, and how to exploit it to the artists’ maximum advantage.

Michael Huppe is responsible for the strategic direction of SoundExchange, the nonprofit organization that collects digital music royalties paid by internet radio, satellite radio and other digital media services on behalf of recording artists and record labels. SoundExchange represents one the music industry’s fastest growing segments including more than 48,000 payable performer accounts and over20,000 rights owners and label accounts.  Michael has devoted the past 12 years of his career to protecting the value of music. Prior to being appointed to SoundExchange’s top position in 2011, he most recently served as organization’s executive vice president and general counsel. Michael ho

lds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a JD from Harvard Law School.  He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. His optimism helped to place SoundExchange among Forbes Magazine’s “Top Names You Need to Know for 2011.”

 

1. What in your career path led you to your initial job at SoundExchange?

 

I’ve had an interest and passion for music since childhood, but my career path -- mixed with a little bit of luck -- brought me to SoundExchange.  I was drawn to intellectual property law ever since law school, because of what it meant for our culture and the policy goals behind it.  I tried to work on as many IP cases as I could at my law firm, ultimately moving to focus on the music industry at the Recording Industry Association of America, and spent the last two years there doing work related to SoundExchange.  When my focus shifted to digital issues, it was clear how important this area was going to be for the industry as a whole.  When the opportunity at SoundExchange to become general counsel opened up, it was a natural and exciting move.  About four years later, I became president.

 

2. How has SoundExchange evolved the last few years?

 

It’s an exciting time in the music industry, and new services and innovation mean consumers have  more access to music than ever before.  As a result, SoundExchange has experienced explosive growth over the past few years. Our numbers are proof of our growing contribution to the industry: In 2011 we distributed more than $292 million to artists and record labels – that’s nearly triple what we paid out in 2008!  What used to be a rounding error on the books of most recipients has now become a very real and meaningful source of income.

 

These new revenue streams makes a difference not just in the lives of well-established artists and labels, but also in those of working class artists and labels. That is a very rewarding part of our work.  Of the over 60,000 checks SoundExchange sent out last year (2011), over 90 percent were for less than $5,000.

 

3. Where do you see SoundExchange five to 10 years from now?

 

First of all, you can expect to see continued growth from SoundExchange. In the next five to 10 years, we could very well become as large as other performance rights organizations that have been around much longer.

 

In addition, we’re increasing our technology game. We are building a next-generation technology platform that lays the foundation for our future and for the benefit of the entire industry. We’re also in the process of developing a repertoire database – a single authoritative database for U.S. recording that is critical for SoundExchange to expand and improve our service – also for the benefit the entire music industry. As an organization, we’re focused on creating an environment to allow this new part of the industry to flourish.

 

We are developing technologies that can have a broad application.  We will be able to do more than simply administer the statutory license, such as helping companies with their “back office” functions, or even helping distribute royalties for other industries. 

 

I can promise you what won’t change: SoundExchange will always fight for the music community – artists, artists’ managers and copyright owners. We will always work to protect the value of content.  

 

4. What is your greatest professional challenge today?

 

While there are many, I think our greatest professional challenge as of this moment is probably also the industry’s most exciting challenge: a change of mindset, and a conversion to a completely different way of consuming music. The historic model was based on sales, and while sales are still important we need to focus on other revenue sources as well.  The consumption today might just as easily be for “access to a stream” as it is “purchase of a CD.”   The model is changing and it affects everyone -- managers, artists, labels, consumers and everyone in between. SoundExchange has found itself right in the middle of the industry’s evolution. Yes, it creates challenges in terms of the need to enhance our technology to keep up with the explosive growth in the streaming industry. But, the real challenge is helping to broaden industry perspectives in order to keep up with consumer expectations for legally accessing music.   

 

There are some who like to preach “doom and gloom,” or that the music industry is dying.  That’s just not true.  Our industry isn’t dying; it’s simply evolving, and we’re just starting to tap the new potential of this evolution.  

 

5.  What's the best advice you've received since heading up SoundExchange?

 

It’s actually a philosophy that I’ve carried with me throughout my life and career, which is “never be satisfied.”  I’ve always been the type to push a little harder, or strive for that target that’s a little higher. Running a company is about what lies over the hill, and not where you’re standing right now.  I believe the entire team at SoundExchange shares the same forward-looking vision that we’re working towards, for the future of our organization and for the future of the music industry.

 

6 Do you think we will ever get an artist terrestrial Performance Right? If so what do you think it will take to achieve this?

 

Absolutely. It is only a matter of time.  For anyone who truly looks at the issue, there is really no good factual or policy reason that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a terrestrial performance right. This situation is simply a victim of history and politics.

 

In the last Congress, we moved farther than ever before in the 80-year plus fight for this right.  More artists and more people in the industry are recognizing the undeniable fairness of our position, and this drumbeat is only getting louder.  I certainly recognize the long business relationship between the broadcasters and the music industry, and that they have historically provided benefits to one another.  But it is neither fair nor appropriate that broadcasters make billions of dollars every year from the creativity, hard work and investment of others, without sharing any of that profit.  If someone wants to give away their content, that’s their choice, but it shouldn’t be given away as a matter of law. Everyone with a stake in this fight should speak up and lend their voice to this fight.

 

7. Do you think services like Spotify have the potential to hurt SoundExchange. Please explain.

 

SoundExchange is excited about the growth of all digital music services as long as they appropriately compensate artists and rights holders. We’re not privy to terms of any particular deal, but SoundExchange always fights to ensure artists and rights owners get their fair share. It’s our job to ensure that content continues to have a value. That said, we think services like Spotfiy can coexist with those that rely on the statutory license that SoundExchange administers. They offer entirely different experiences and cater to different types of consumer demands. One is a more active “lean-forward” experience, requiring far more input, while the other is a more passive “lean-back” model that requires less interaction from the listener.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the most passionate Spotify fan also listens to Pandora whenever they are in the car, just as the avid record collector would listen to FM radio before.  There is no reason both of these models – and others – can’t easily coexist in the music ecosystem.

 

8 Do you see any new revenue streams for Artists from new media?

 

Definitely. We expect digital radio to continue to grow, so more and more artists will see increasing royalties from SoundExchange. Sirius XM, for example, is projected to grow, Pandora’s usage is exploding, other webcasters are seeing double-digit growth every month, and new digital music services are launching every week.

 

In addition, we are just beginning to scratch the surface on the potential for monetizing the online audience.  Unlike broadcast technology (which is a “shotgun approach” to messaging), online marketing can be ultra-targeted.  Digital services can match a fan with not only their demographics, but their online preferences, online usage patterns, geo-location, or even hyper-local marketing (such as texting someone as they’re passing a relevant sales location).  As this convergence of data is perfected, it will allow artists to connect with fans like never before.  And with that greater connection come new abilities to monetize the experience.

 

9 What advice would you give a new manager coming into the industry?

 

I would advise any new manager entering the business to be forward-thinking and keep an open mind. And most importantly – don’t miss out on any of these revenue streams. Remember, many of these models did not exist five to 10 years ago. (Just imagine how different this same discussion would have been even only five years ago.)  If you think you know everything, and every possible stream of revenue, you almost certainly don’t.  We still find managers who think they don’t need to sign up their artists with SoundExchange because they’ve already signed them up with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.  So many people in this industry don’t know what they don’t know.

 

The successful artist of tomorrow will be drawing significant revenue from 10-15 (or more) different sources, as opposed to two to three primary streams under the traditional model.  So be ready to work all the angles for these different sources, including maximizing your online presence and social networking strategy, and recognizing that it is important to extract value from every stream possible.  And make sure you have someone on your team who really knows new media, and how to exploit it to the artists’ maximum advantage.

 

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Manager Spotlight - Marty Nolan

Posted by MMF on Mar 09, 2012 | 0 Comments

Marty Nolan serves in both management and marketing capacities for Red Light Management and ATO Records as an artist manager and A&R/product manager, working and having worked with a list of artists including Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Trey Anastasio, Ben Harper, My Morning Jacket, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Dawes among others.  Prior to his tenure at Red Light, Marty founded his own company, and managed/co-managed independent rock phenomenon acts, The Samples and Dispatch, among additional clients, and was a marketing consultant for several major and independent record labels.  Marty has also been involved with festival marketing initiatives on behalf of sister company, Starr Hill Presents, and serves in an advisory capacity to several music technology based companies.  He is based out of the New York office.

 

 

 

What inspired you to want to be a manager? 
It always starts with a passion for music, and that moment where you realize that you could actually do this for a living.
Although I was accepted into school for architecture, I found out there was a music industry program during orientation and quickly enrolled.  After one semester, I transferred into the business school.  I had several marketing co-ops in strategic planning, market research, new product development, etc.  All my friends were working for companies like Gillette and Kraft, and I couldn't care less about shaving products or macaroni and cheese…but I realized that I loved the analytical, strategic, and creative components of building something that I was really passionate about.  

For me, with music and artist management, you have a multi-dimensional relationship with the brand.  The brand in this case is a living and breathing entity that creates something intangible, providing real personal meaning and value.  Obviously the artist writes and performs the music, but you are involved in helping to create and shape a career.  You build a team of friends and partners around an artist to help complement and execute their vision and goals, which for me, is extremely rewarding and exciting.  

What was your first industry job and how did you get it? 
I was fortunate to land a job as a college rep with Universal during my first semester at school in Boston.  I heard that Universal was hiring in several cities, (not including Boston), so I called the head of college marketing to see what opportunities might be available.  A few days later I was on a train to interview at one of the distribution branches outside of the city, and was offered a position that I held until I graduated (thanks Chris Clancy!).

What determines your desire to work with an artist?
I feel like I use the word compelling often, for good reason.  You can objectively say that a song may be fundamentally well written, or that an artist knows how to technically sing or play, but the degree to which they land hooks, and can resonate emotionally with an audience, is the determining factor.  

Obviously other personal and professional factors carry weight as well, but when it comes to desire, it stops and starts with that elementary component.  You need to feel like you are in on something amazing and be inspired to want to spread the gospel to anyone and everyone, turning over every rock in that process.

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?
To answer this from a creative standpoint, having the courage of their convictions to not only create amazing material with a bold vision and unique point of view, but to pull it off and execute it with supreme confidence and skill.  To the extent that the original stamp that you put on it makes the music bulletproof to criticism and demands objective respect because it is so undeniably special.  

To be in that elite category requires the ability to do deliver consistently and raise the bar by contributing to that legacy of greatness…acknowledge influences but create something completely your own.  You don’t need novelty, you don’t need to be iconic, you need to be able to affect people and compel them in a powerful manner. 

To answer this from a professional standpoint, which is of equal importance now more than ever, artists have to possess a passion to not only live and breathe music/creativity, but to match that with the work ethic and discipline necessary for any level of success.  The great ones are driven.

What is your greatest professional challenge today?
One of the first things that comes to mind is the challenges faced with developing new artists.  Generally speaking, artists no longer have the luxury of taking the time necessary that was once afforded to them to hone their craft and develop a profile and meaningful fan base over the course of several album cycles with the belief and support of a label behind them.  The clock is ticking before the first album is released, and the stakes are so high that the signings are extremely marginal and selective.  We are fortunate to have several great label partners for our clients, but it has become increasingly difficult to put together resources early on as it relates to touring, press, etc. that are so vital to an artist’s development. 

How did your business transform over the last several years?
When I started working at Red Light, there were a handful of us operating out of Coran Capshaw’s (founder) home outside of Charlottesville, VA in 2004.  Since that time, the company has expanded with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Denver, and Atlanta…and has also developed a more eclectic and diverse group of artists in multiple genres.  We also have an unparalleled suite of resources available to our artists in the multiple entities that Coran has developed including ATO & TBD Records (record label), Musictoday (ticketing, merchandising, fan clubs), Star Hill Presents (festival promotion), Green Light (strategic marketing and content), New Era (sponsorship), District Music (licensing), etc.  Today, Red Light is the largest privately held management company in the business.

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?
Artists will be making more revenue (share/volume) from the direct-to-fan model, and developing stronger relationships with their fan-base in the process.  Traditional retail will continue to give way to digital, with that component of consumption shifting to subscription versus album sales.  Technology and social networking platforms will evolve to help further create trusted channels for discovery, and help filter worthy content from the overwhelming noise and traffic.  The role of the manager will only become that much more important as artists need to navigate their way through an ever changing landscape presenting new opportunities and challenges at each turn.

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?
Challenge your artists to deliver their absolute best.  In this current climate, it is so insanely competitive on every level that good won’t cut it.  Word of mouth is often the tipping point in a successful campaign.  The music and all of the other supporting elements need to be special for good reason.  Seek objective feedback to put your best foot forward and make the most of opportunities.  Quality control is worth its weight in gold.  Despite your best efforts, every project is still subject to varying degrees of timing, luck, and politics…so make sure you do everything within your power to stack the deck in your artist’s favor as best you can before pulling the trigger. 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?
When I was 20 years old, I was thrown into rock and roll boot camp and began managing a band that had sold a million albums independently.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly in over my head.  There was a group of managers in Boston that met once a month with different guest speakers, headed by Tim Collins (longtime manager of Aerosmith), that took me in under their wing and helped provide invaluable perspective and advice that I couldn’t have received from anywhere else at the time.  Attend panels, read interviews, and just benefit as much as you can from other people’s experience and lessons learned.       

Develop your critical thinking skills and absorb every bit of relevant information that you can, with an emphasis on marketing.  At the same time, learn the craft and be proficient enough to have credibility and know what you are talking about when it comes to creative input on music, and even further, art/photography direction.

Above all do right by your artists and take care of their fans.  Be extremely selective about who you work with and commit yourself to their success.  You make a reputation for yourself based on your taste, your work, and how you treat people.

 

 

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Manager Spotlight - Gregg Latterman

Posted by MMF on Jan 16, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gregg Latterman is the Founder and CEO of Aware Records and A-Squared Management.  In 1993, Aware released the first of many Aware Compilations to help expose unsigned, regional bands to a national audience.  The compilations featured Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and many more bands that have gone on to be household names. After releasing the first compilation, Latterman left his job as a CPA in Boston and immediately started a buzz in the music industry.  He continued to build the company while receiving his MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern) Business School in 1996.


After being pursued by most of the major labels, Aware Records signed an artist development and distribution deal with Columbia Records in 1996 which continued as a joint venture until 2010.  The first three bands signed to Aware Records were Train, Five for Fighting and John Mayer, who have combined to sell over 20 million records worldwide.  In the summer of 2010 Aware did a new joint venture with Universal/Republic and is the home to Mat Kearney and Guster.


In addition to the label, Latterman formed A-Squared Management, an artist management company, in 1998.  A-Squared currently manages musicians such as Five For Fighting, Mat Kearney, Brandi Carlile, Jack's Mannequin, Michelle Branch, Motion City Soundtrack, Cary Brothers, Angel Taylor, This Providence, Vedera, Anya Marina, Leslie, A Rocket To The Moon, and producer Jason Lehning.


What inspired you to want to be a manager?

I started out as a record label and over time we had great success with our first 3 artists (Train, John Mayer and Five for Fighting) with our label partner Columbia Records and we had artists coming to us wanting to be involved with us that were already signed to record labels. The first band we managed was Glenn Philips from Toad the Wet Sprocket and Liz Phair was second I believe.

 

What was your first industry job and how did you get it?

The first thing I did in the industry was put out a compilation of unsigned bands called The Aware Compilation. They kind of took off and after a year or two I figured out I could make this a job/career. Between the first 3 compilations most of the bands on them got signed including Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20 and many many others....Thus the industry was calling me about how I was finding these bands....I had to learn pretty quickly how the industry worked since I was an outsider (actually a CPA at Coopers & Lybrand in Boston).

 

What determines your desire to work with an artist?

I/we have to love the music and the artist/band. If they are not great people who want to work hard and be honored to be in this industry then it won't work no matter how talented they are as artists. 

 

In your opinion, what makes a great artist “great”?

I just have to hear it and see them. For me I have to love their voice first and then melody and then lyrics.

 

What is your greatest professional challenge today?

Helping our artists have the career they want without doing things they don't want to do. A lot has changed and how you get heard to the masses has changed. We still try and break bands the old fashioned way....Great artists with hard touring and building it.......and getting everyone on board....

 

How did your business transform over the last several years?

We started as just a record label and now we are a record label that also has a management company.

 

Where do you see this business 5-10 years from now?

Hopefully working with most of the artists we are working with now and have brought in some new artists as well.

 

What is the best advice you have received over the years as a manager?

Only take on what you love...and don't take on too much...Be successful at what you do..

 

What would you tell a new manager coming into the business today?

Learn as much as you can by reading books about the industry and talk to people that have done it before you...Learn from others mistakes and success's.......Find a great artist you believe in and put everything you have into them with passion.....

 

 

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