Meet the new MMF Board #2: ATC Management's Sumit Bothra

Meet the new MMF Board #2: ATC Management's Sumit Bothra

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has welcomed the election of first-time board members Kerry Harvey-Piper, Sumit Bothra and Vicky Dowdall.

Yesterday, we spoke to Red Grape Music's Harvey-Piper about what she hopes to contribute to the organisation in her new role. 

Today, it's the turn of ATC Management director Bothra (pictured), who has over two decades of experience in artist management, during which he has nurtured the careers of various composers, producers, songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists across a wide range of musical genres. 

"I was asked by my dear friend and mentor Paul Burger to consider putting myself forward for the [MMF] board," Bothra told Music Week. "I spoke with various members of the organisation before submitting my application as I was keen to get a deeper sense of how committed they were, and how I might be able to lend myself to its betterment. The commitment of the MMF leadership is inspiring to say the least – and quite frankly – their profoundly effective work over the last few years speaks for itself.

"Professional education and giving back to the community is something that has always been very important to me. So I would like to think I’ll be a valuable resource to the younger managers out there who need a helping hand or a different perspective. Also, being of British-Asian heritage and having grown up in many countries around the world, I’m hopeful I can encourage even greater diversity amongst the membership during my tenure."

Bothra's current roster includes Katie Melua, PJ Harvey, Fink, The Boxer Rebellion, Red Rum Club and Nathan Nicholson. Prior to working in management, Bothra worked for Sony Music UK and Virgin Records of America in artist development and promotions. 

I cannot stress enough how being part of something bigger than you, especially at a time of crisis, provides an immeasurable coping mechanism for those in the management community

Sumit Bothra

ATC Management

Here, in the second of three in-depth Q&As with the new MMF board members, Bothra discusses the main issues facing the management sector amid the coronavirus crisis - and how the business is adapting to deal with it. 

What in your opinion have been the key challenges facing music managers during the crisis? And how are managers attempting to overcome them? 
  • Whether managers are operating alone or within a larger organisation, the primary challenges are similar:
  • Significant loss of income (and resulting cashflow deficit) caused by the loss of appearance fees and associated performance income.
  • Maintaining efficient time-management – the number of conversations we need to have in any single day has, at least for me, easily doubled.
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced mental attitude and physical condition.
  • Practicing strong leadership at a time of crisis.
  • Practicing strong diplomacy when dealing with various stakeholders all at various degrees of difficulty and panic.
  • Keeping your colleagues, artists, and team members motivated, financially secure, and optimistic.

"I cannot stress enough how being a part of something bigger than you, especially at a time of crisis, provides an immeasurable coping mechanism for those in the management community.  The understanding that ‘you are not alone’ is priceless, not to mention access to an army of intelligent and resourceful people who are capable of cutting through the noise and filtering massive amounts of information down to useful bite-sized pieces. Interestingly, the community has also found ways to become entrepreneurial within itself, with managers providing professional services (such as pay-per-view production solutions) to other managers."

What do you think will be the long-term ramifications of coronavirus? 

  • A far better connected and more compassionate music industry.
  • A wave of entrepreneurial activity that will disrupt the live music space in particular, and deliver an entertainment economy that is extremely well insulated against external threats.
  • A changed role for the ‘live’ booking agent, many of whom will morph into live and virtual show producers.
  • The evolution of concert venues of all sizes into live music broadcast studios and multi-media spaces.
  • The diversification of the artist management business into broader areas of talent representation and IP creation.

What adjustments/changes have you needed to initiate in your own artists' campaigns

"I have not adjusted any of my artist campaigns (save for small adjustments on creating video and photo assets) – but essentially everything is moving ahead as planned." 

How important is the role of the MMF at this time? 

"I haven’t been active within the MMF, much to my shame, for quite a few years now. Paul Craig and Annabella Coldrick roped me back in at a YouTube event a few months ago. I accepted their invitation, and started to join the weekly meetings. I can tell you now my experience of the new MMF is nothing like the MMF of old. I was blown away by how diverse the membership has become, and how friendly and constructive the dialogue around important subjects is. It was also lovely to see many friendly faces amongst an absolute ocean of new ones!"

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