MUSEXPO Europe: Management panel brings Day 1 to a close

MUSEXPO Europe: Management panel brings Day 1 to a close

The management panel proved the most animated and raucous session of MUSEXPO Europe so far, drawing the first day of the conference to a close. 

Moderated by Music Week editor Mark Sutherland, the Global Manager's Futurecast session brought together JEM Music founder Colin Lester, Disturbing London founder and MD Dumi Oburota, Cato Music founder Glen Rowe, ROAR Group chairman Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE and artist manager Sammy Andrews. 

Held at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, the panel discussed what it takes to propel an artist to the masses and looked at how management models continue to evolve.

Lester who manages Craig David, said costs were on the rise. "The difference today is, it's much more in-house for a manager," he said. "We used to be able to go to a record company and have a much bigger team do the job for us. They no longer have them, we have to do them in-house. If we don't, they actually won't happen, so the actual cost of being a manager has become higher than it was. That's one of the biggest problems because our revenues are lower, so when we focus on the real change, that's the fundamental issue of it."

He added that although streaming royalty rates were a bugbear, his more immediate concern was secondary ticketing. "The secondary market is going to destroy what we have," he warned. "If we're not being paid properly on streaming, and streaming is now beginning to account for 60-70% of singles, then that's a major issue. It's pennies at the moment, but it's also pennies that I can get back.

"Secondary - none of us can get back at the moment, so that needs legislation and I believe that's one of the biggest issues facing our industry as managers. There's lots of ways to solve it, but none of them are fan-friendly. They're things that fans don't want to do, so it's an issue."

Shalit stressed that it was vital for managers to keep up with the changing world. "Times are moving so quickly, with so many new things coming through, you have to be on top of so much," he said. "The big challenge for any manager now is keeping relevant and keeping up to date."

He added: "If you've got a truly global artist blowing up, it's about the team you put round your artist. So again, for a manager, the big challenge is making sure you have a fantastic team you can trust. Ultimately, it's about having collaboration and it's about having incredible intelligence."

Tinie Tempah manager Oburota advised labels to make "more bespoke" signings. "You can be generating a certain amount of income for the label - be it through your live, be it through just record sales in general, but because you're not having chart success it can be perceived that you're a failed artist, so you get dropped," he said.

Entertainment Intelligence director Sammy Andrews, manager of Lock, said there had "never been a more exciting time to be a manager". Though she claimed the chart system was "really fucking over new artists at the moment", she praised the opportunities the advent of streaming has provided. "Streaming rewards longevity and that's a big thing that needs to click in everybody's minds," she said. "It will grow and grow and I work a lot with data that shows this, specifically with playlisting. You might get put in one playlist and, as a result of that, next week you get put in 10 playlists and then you get put in 20 playlists... It is not that first release week and when I'm talking about the charts being slightly fucked, they don't take that into account.

"Before we all used to put that release date and that impact date, go for that. That doesn't really exist anymore. The impact dates have changed. If we're going to radio and going onsale at the same time, it's a very different landscape."  

Meanwhile, Muse tour manager Rowe hinted at what the next Muse tour could entail. "We want to do a stage made of magnets so the band can levitate on other magnets," he said. "It's those questions that keep me awake every night of my life. If there are any magnet technicians out there, please come and see me because that's what we're trying to achieve." 

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