First Access Entertainment CEO Sarah Stennett will discuss the modern artist in a keynote address at this year’s MIDEM conference.
Stennett, whose stellar 20-year music biz career as a lawyer, A&R executive and artist manager has seen her become one of the UK’s leading executives and launch/develop the careers of artists including Ellie Goulding, Iggy Azalea, Jessie J and Rita Ora. She will discuss a range of issues affecting artists in 2017, looking at how the industry is evolving to support new talent and the impact of streaming and social media on artists’ careers.
“To be a successful artist these days take a real commitment,” Stennett told Music Week. “There are no guarantees. For me personally to want to work with someone, it has [to be based] around an emotional connection. I’ve got to want to do it, I’ve got to see something where I can work with this person, commit to it and see where we can take it.
“You have to acknowledge the small wins as well,” she added. “Making sure that a really talented artist can have a career doing what they love is a win.”
First Access Entertainment is a joint venture between Stennett and Len Blavatnik of Access Industries and offers a broad range of services to its recording artists, songwriters, actors and models. The company is known for pioneering new models for investment and success in music and the wider entertainment business.
Stennett’s most recent breakthrough came with Zayn Malik, who she took on as manager after he left One Direction. Stennett has steered him to a successful solo career, with his debut album, Mind Of Mine, going to No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It was a new start for Zayn,” Stennett said. “He and I just connected. I knew before I met him what it meant to go through the process he’d been through, leaving Bradford as a young man and travelling around the world. People haven’t seen what Zayn’s going to come with yet, he’s a really extraordinary young man. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and what he’s done.”
Stennett’s appearance is a coup for MIDEM, and the conference’s director Alexandre Deniot said he was “very excited to welcome Sarah Stennett back”.
“As one of the most talented executives and leading women in the business, she will undoubtedly bring invaluable insight to the international music professionals attending this 51st edition,” he added. “As the boundaries between music and other creative fields become more and more blurry, endless opportunities for artists to thrive are created, and who better to share her experience in the field than Sarah?”
This year’s MIDEM conference is held in Cannes, France from June 6-9.