YouTube Music and the Music Managers Forum’s partnership programme, Accelerator, turns five this year. To celebrate, Music Week talks to the programme’s alumni about their journeys into the industry, their careers now and the future of the management sector…
ANIQUE COX - Founder, Anique Cox Music
Since moving from marketing to managing Bree Runway, Anique Cox has been at the centre of a big breakthrough story. Here, she takes time to reflect on the success and the support of the Accelerator initiative…
As manager of Bree Runway, you’re working with one of the most talented new artists in the UK. Where did your journey together begin?
“Bree is definitely one of the most exciting artists around, across the UK and beyond. In many ways, that’s how I reflect on how far we’ve come. I loosely knew Bree before I joined EMI via a mutual contact when she was bubbling online, but our journey officially began at EMI in 2018, when Bree was assigned to my roster as marketing manager.”
Would you say you've uncovered the secret of what it takes to break an artist in the modern music industry?
“No, because every artist is different. Ultimately, it's about authenticity and how that's translated and marketed. We were both recently in New York for Fashion Week, where Bree was attending the Coach show. We were creating a buzz online, she was bonding with artists like Doja Cat and Lil Nas X and it was a really explosive trip. We then went to Paris to attend another fashion show and now we're working on new music and Bree's next record. Bree cares a huge amount for her image and wants to be able to tell a story through her look, her music and any visual asset. It's great to be able to keep evolving."
What is your philosophy as a manager?
"A manager's role is to facilitate your client's dreams and vision, and to be committed and resilient in your alliance. Always have a solution, work hard, stay organised, care about your client's well-being, be prepared for the unexpected and enjoy the role and the experiences that come with it."
Can you pinpoint what drew you to management and what keeps you excited about being a manager now?
"Bree drew me to management. I wanted to deliver for her and I knew I was capable. Her music, the journey and her trajectory continue to keep me excited. In the current climate, you've got to think a lot about the artist brand, and how that brand can stretch across several different areas, and for me that's a really exciting prospect. One of the reasons I love working with Bree is that she's talented in several different areas, so there's a lot we can do."
Who are your idols or role models in music and artist management more specifically?
"The history and longevity between Jonathan Dickins and Adele is a real testament to being a great manager. I also admire the relationship between Lady Gaga and Bobby Campbell."
How valuable are programmes such as the MMF Accelerator?
"Incredibly valuable. Almost every day brings a new and unique challenge and being a one-person management 'team' can sometimes feel like a lot. The MMF is a safe space to ask unfiltered questions and have experienced people to learn from and rely on. I came into the programme with record label experience and there was a whole world I wasn't familiar with, and Accelerator really opened doors and allowed me to learn a lot more about other fundamental areas of the business.”
Finally, are managers treated fairly in the business?
"There's definitely not nearly enough appreciation of how much work a manager has to undertake and how many bases they have to cover. Labels are in the business of selling records, and that's their primary focus, whereas the manager has to be across everything and take a longer term plan and vision."
Click here to read our interview with YouTube's Lizzie Dickson.