Super Manager – Troy Carter

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Troy Carter is the manager of who is widely considered to be today’s biggest superstar – Lady Gaga. After reading a case study about his management techniques and marketing strategy for Gaga, it was apparent to me that her stratospheric success was not a matter of random timing. It was all part of Carter’s long term strategy to bring her success at the right moment. I believe his best qualities as a manager are patience and long-term thinking.

Lady Gaga has always been a star; however, the way she was brought out, cultivated, and presented to the public did not happen overnight. Carter knew that for her to be successful and not written off as a weird new alternative act, he would have to grow her audience of superfans before thrusting her out into the public eye. Gaga’s performance abilities were always good, and I believe she could have been playing arenas and stadiums far sooner than she did, but Carter had a different plan. He kept her in clubs and venues of that nature so that she could connect more closely with her audience. He also kept her in many gay venues, because he knew that was where her most dedicated fans would lie and that she would eventually be a huge gay icon.

Another trait that Carter shares with other super managers (such as Scooter Braun) is that he realizes that his artist is unique, and he is not going to make decisions that imitate that of another artist. Lady Gaga’s brand partnerships and endorsements, for example, have all been for original products BY Lady Gaga – makeup, earphones, you name it. She has partnered with these companies and made her own products as opposed to endorsing previously created products, and this helped solidify her unique image. Carter’s eye for this is very keen. He does not seek out deals for her that will result in money only. He seeks out deals that will keep her image steady as well as her pocketbook. On that note, he also strays away from deals that would harm her image but greatly increase her financial flow. When Target wanted to partner with Gaga and Carter found out they funded anti-homosexual campaigns, he pulled out. Yes, it would have been a great financial decision in the short run, but she would have lost a TON of her fans, and it is likely she never would have recovered from that.

It’s obvious that Troy Carter is not the sole reason for Gaga’s success. In fact, it can be argued that she is more responsible for her success than he is. However, he has always been a very sound advisor to her, and it is his patience and long-term vision that have cultivated her success and put her on the career path she has traveled down thus far.

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And so you want to start your own festival?

If you know that the job of a Concert Promoter is far beyond complicated, imagine that of the promoter of a whole festival, especially if we’re talking about a big one. Festival Promoter’s have to deal with many artists and bands, many booking agents, large venues usually with many stages and many many people!! Organizing an international music festival is probably one of the most complicated tasks there are in the wide spectrum of the music industry. Therefore, if one day you decide that you would probably like to start your own new festival, you better first be absolutely convinced that’s what you desire. Probably the first step would be to have a clear concept of what the festival will look and be like, preferably an original one that makes it special among the many others there are.

If you decide to set up a new music festival, you better plan to do it in a genre that you really love and know, in a location that you like and identify and with an audience that you are familiar and connect with. This will increase your chances of success in this titan’s task. Once you meet the first requirements, you should start considering and resolving several different aspects that are essential for the success of the event. The following recommendations should be considered with plenty of time ahead (probably around a year in advance!), in order to be able to focus in each of them properly. We can probably enlist these factors as follows:

  1. Have a very clear vision of the festival and develop its concept properly.
  2. Choose an ideal date for the festival to take place: consider other similar events that might compete and factors like the weather (if outdoors), etc.
  3. Find an ideal location for the festival and start the process of booking the venue.
  4. Decide the kind of music and what specific artists is the festival ideally have as headliners, and start contacting the respective booking agents.
  5. Decide and analyze what your target audience is, remember paying attention to 4 essential classifications: Age, Gender, Socioeconomical status and location.
  6. Develop the plan for how are you going to finance the investment on the festival, explore different options of funding, finance and even sponsorship or state support.
  7. Consider the impact that the realization of the festival will have on the local area and how to approach the different issues you might find: noise, trash, parking, security, etc.
  8. Consider transportation plans for the attendees.
  9. Find options for accommodation for the attendees that may need it.
  10. 10.  Establish a plan for the marketing and promotion of the festival when launching it.
  11. Work very hard and find the right team!!

…and good luck!! 🙂

Concert Promoter: The Absolute Juggler

Of all the different music intermediaries that we can think of in general terms, probably the one that has the most demanding task of all, or at least the one who has to deal with higher degrees of pressure and stress is definitely the Concert Promoter. We all love to attend exciting live events and concerts in particular; however, of all the times we go to one of this, probably in very few of these we pay attention to the fact that the concert we just attended was made a reality by someone somewhere who took care of all the details. This person is commonly known, at least in the world of music business scholars, as the Concert Promoter.

The promoter is the one person in charge of putting together all the different parts to make a live event a reality: from hiring the talent, to booking the venue, producing and distributing the tickets, setting the stage, sound and other facilities, hiring the personnel of security, stage crew, merchandize selling and cleaning of facilities, etc.  In one side he has to pay the artist/s for the performance, the venue for the rental and the other persons for their service… and basically he have to make things (and numbers!) work. All for an ultimate income equivalent generally to the 20% of the concert’s net profit. Successful concerts can get the Promoter a lot of money; however, the risk is always present for there to be a different scenario, and loosing money is not unusual.

Even when the concert turns out to be a success, the percentage of the revenue that the Concert Promoter’s get is probably disproportional to the amount of effort, time, risk and energy that he/she had to invest in the realization of the event, especially compared to that of the talent’s Booking Agent, who generally gets a 10% of the gross revenue and saves all the juggling.

Final Words…

So, now that we have reached the end, it is time to talk a little bit about my posts.

I think that at this time in the music industry, we can all agree that things are moving very fast, and in directions that we are not used to. Artists used to make music as a creative art that was sold for profit, and now recorded music acts as promotional tools. People will agree and disagree for years to come, but no matter what position you take on piracy and file sharing, at this point it is virtually unavoidable.

Personally, I believe that this main hurdle has changed EVERY part of the industry, including the artist, and all music intermediaries. I believe that because recorded music has become only a piece of the “artist” today, that people have to work harder to make money. Lately, the expression “put the r in band…brand” is constantly being thrown around, but I believe that it is true. The music industry is so much more than simply creating music. It is more than managers consulting, agents booking, and musicians playing. People within the industry have to be multi faceted. There isn’t room or money for little pop princesses with just a pretty face.

Musicians are becoming their own team and their own music intermediary. Managers and Agents are doing more than ever, and big agencies are getting involved in anything possible. I read today that the Windish Agency now has started a performing arts division. I think this is great, but I also think this proves that a smart business person or company has to keep all doors open to new ideas and new business ventures. People need to be better than phone applications, artists need to be open to multiple genres and creative (and somewhat embarrassing) promotional strategies, and promoters and agents need to look at the art of live shows as more than just a show. Everything in the industry today has to work together to provide a bigger picture, and a more successful career for the artist.

Everyone in the industry has to be able to wear lots of different hats.

The definition of a “music intermediary” gets broader everyday, and it is a beautiful and scary thing. Although things are evolving within the industry in an unorthodox way, the most fantastic thing is that the real talents of today are being showcased. Not only in the creation of music, but in the messy web that connects the music to people all over the world. The messy web that is music intermediaries.

Super Manager – Scooter Braun

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Scooter Braun is probably one of the most talked about managers of the past 5 years. He manages Justin Bieber, along with other well-known artists such as Asher Roth and The Wanted. He started out working as an event planner during his college years in Atlanta, and then eventually moved his way up and worked as a marketing manager for Jermaine Dupri. Now, years later, we know him as the man who discovered Justin Bieber.

What makes Scooter Braun a super manager is not the level of Bieber’s success; rather, it is how he has handled Justin’s image along the way. Braun is widely considered a marketing genius for his days under Jermaine Dupri and his nationally-renowned events that he planned in college, including parties for Eminem and Britney Spears. I believe this experience has helped him manage Bieber’s career. His philosophies are interesting as well. He does not take much credit for where Bieber is now. “Justin Bieber is where he is today because he is Justin Bieber; what you see is what you get. I can’t take credit for that.” His strategy when it comes to branding is exemplary as well. He lets the brand be itself and brings out its strengths. He does not try to make Bieber’s brand what it is not or follow in the exact footsteps of earlier superstars. He emulates rather than imitates. Braun and Bieber look at Michael Jackson’s career much of the time to see what it was that made his music sell so well. Along with it just being good music, he did something different than most child stars do today. He did not try to make new, provocative music to bring in adult fans; rather, he made music that kept his current child fans while bringing in new adult fans at the same time. Braun tries to do this with Bieber as well.

Another strong point in Braun’s managing technique is how he sees marketing opportunities. He realizes that Justin’s biggest advertisements are his fans; therefore, he uses this to their advantage. He has canceled interviews with major publications so that Justin can have an interview with a 15-year old girl who runs a Bieber fan page on Twitter. Decisions like these reiterate to fans that they really are important to Bieber, and it is great from both a marketing and a management standpoint.

Lastly, and perhaps most important – Braun does not treat Bieber as a means to an end. He doesn’t see him as just a 15% commission. He really cares about Bieber’s life and career choices, and does not just tell him what he wants to hear. This is imperative in a world and industry where you are surrounded by people just feeding you what you want to hear in hopes that they will get something out of it. I believe that Braun is one of the greatest managers in our industry today, if not THE greatest manager of today.

The Big Parasite: The Secondary Ticketing Market

Why do we need tickets? Well, we need them because in one side we have people that demands to attend a concert, and in the other side we have a promoter who puts together the show and needs people to pay for the attendance. The easier, better and most common way of doing this is by printing tickets and start selling them prior to the date of the event.

Tickets have become very important, and the matter of ticketing is one of the things that the concert promoter has to resolve in an early stage so that he/she can start selling them to earn some money that help put up the show. There are many ways of making this happen. Either the promoter can try to print his own tickets and sell them directly to the people interested in the concert, or he/she can look for the option of hiring a third party company to take care of the issuing, distributing and selling of the tickets. As live events have become larger and larger with the pass of the time, the need for these ticketing companies has become more crucial.

There are different companies that offer the service of ticketing, depending on the region and country. However, there is one company that has become the absolute leader of ticketing around the globe. This company is Ticketmaster, with representation in basically all the places of the world where there is a buoyant and energetic entertainment and music industry. In fact, Ticketmaster has become in many places some kind of monopoly when it comes to the physical + online selling of tickets, making it difficult for the promoter to have many options to decide from and therefore having to constraint to the limits and fees that this company has. The Ticketmaster empire has become even bigger and more powerful by merging with the US promoter giant Live Nation.

But there is another issue when approaching the ticketing topic, and it’s a very serious and damaging one. This issue is commonly known as the “secondary ticketing” or the “ticket re-sale”. It happens specially when the tickets for a certain event are sold out and there are still some people very interested in going (and willing to pay for it). This motivates the owners of the tickets that were originally sold, to think about the possibility of re-selling their tickets at a higher price than the “face value” of the ticket, depending on the demand for the show. At the end, the person who originally acquired the ticket doesn’t have the ticket any more but in exchange he earned more money that the one he/she spent, meaning that he/she made a profit!

This opportunity was explored by many others to become a business model in itself, where the “re-sellers” hurry up to buy as many tickets as they can of a very demanded show, wait until the show is sold out and then re-sell the tickets for a higher price and make a profit. This practice has become extremely popular in some countries, taking to the development of specialized websites where people can resale their tickets. And while someone could question how big is the impact of this new “parasite” industry, many studies can answer that the impact can be tremendous, sometimes representing the same amount of money than the event itself.

To solve this problem, that keeps pushing the ticket prices up and making it harder for everyone to pay, there have been different attempts of stopping ticket resale. One of them has been trying to push for legislation to prohibit and prosecute ticket resale, however this way has been very difficult to obtain and complicated to enforce. On the other hand, ticket companies and concert promoters have started to take some new steps to fight against the resale. Perhaps the most effective one has been that of issuing personalized tickets that include the name and picture of the original buyer, and then ask for a photo-id at the door of the concert’s venue.

Group project learning experience

As a music business student in the management track I never had the opportunity to work in a project that actually involved applying the skills learned in the classroom into the “real world”.  Therefore when the opportunity of working in a project as a manager for the band Nanai arose I looked at it as an opportunity to gain work experience rather than just another class project.  Since the day we started working with them I knew it was going to be a great learning experience. Not only did I learn from working with Nanai but also from doing it collectively with my classmates. Social media sites, biography (English/Spanish), artist website, promote concert among many others are some of the goals that were set and accomplished while working with Nanai. Even though time was not on our side we managed to give our best in helping them have a clearer vision on how to guide their career within the next few years. Personally I would have loved to have at least one more semester to work with them in a much more developed way. Another great experience that I had with the band was having the opportunity to rehearse and perform with them on a concert. I believe that Nanai has a lot of potential and that could easily achieve all their career goals. In order to achieve their goals they need to have good management and put more effort into the marketing and promotion of the band. One of the most important things about this project is that in the process both sides learned something new. Like I said before I strongly believe that this type of project is highly educational and should be incorporated into more classes.

 

Que viva Nanai y la clase de music intermidiaries!!!!!!!! 

Sony Takeover EMI (a.k.a. “What Up With Da Big Foe?”)

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Interesting that we just returned from a visit from EMI Spain but no one at the company seemed to touch this subject.

Apparently last Thursday, Sony proposed a $2.2 billion takeover of EMI Music Publishing. Now they haven’t said too much about the deal but they have at least told the public that Sony doesn’t plan on just crushing everything that its competitor (EMI) has worked for. However, Sony will be diminishing about 60% of EMI’s publishing staff within two years. That’s supposed to save around $70 million in yearly savings. (Apparently, that’s only 326 jobs – Nothing like the 10,000 jobs Sony got rid of in Japan a few weeks ago). And allegedly, Sony’s getting 15% of net publisher’s share (revenue minus royalties to songwriters).

 

This new deal one half of a split deal reached by Citigroup in 2011. EMI is being split between Sony & Universal. Universal bought out EMI’s record labels for $1.9 billion.

(I love how billions and millions are just being tossed around here like coupons.)

 

A lot of indie labels &consumer advocates aren’t too happy with these deals. They see “bigger monopolies” written all over. Sony’s publishing includes Michael Jackson’s estate, the Beatles catalog, & over 750k songs. EMI has 1.3 million songs and is known to be the most highly regarded company in publishing, boasting timeless classics & standards like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Prospects state that the combined publishing assets of EMI & Sony will represent the world’s largest publishing catalog with a #1 market share on a combined basis.

Doesn’t sound 100% excellent for EMI. But I hope that all parties (including EMI) are better off in the future.

check this out!!!!!!!

http://www.nfb.ca/film/rip_a_remix_manifesto

Hello guys! since we were talking about copyright and creative commons in our last session I thought it would be great to share this video and write a post on it.
Here it goes:

Rip a Remix Manifesto is a documentary based on the copyright concept and the idea that all creations should fall on the public domain (copy left). The protagonist in this documentary is the mash up artist “ Girl Talk”. The central premise of the documentary revolves around the estimation that Girl Talk’s sample based music should not be considered copyright infringement. In order to convince us (the audience) they (the documentary staff, along with remixers and Djs) drafted a manifesto, which they corroborated with interviews and facts and it consists of four points: culture always builds on the past, the past always tries to control the future, our future is becoming less free and to build free societies you must limit the control of the past. From the outset, the documentary seemingly emboldens its viewers to take a stand on the issue of copyright infringement: either you agree with the argument that all ideas should fall on the public domain or you agree with the copyright law and see Girl Talk’s music as an infringement. For the uninitiated, a copyright is a legal concept that gives the creator (“author”) of an idea exclusive right to it. In order for an idea to be copyrightable it has to be an original work of sufficient duration and fixed in a tangible medium. The main purpose of copyright law is to promote the development of science and the useful arts. The government makes this possible by granting authors ownership of six exclusive rights (monopoly) to their work for a determined period of time.
The six legal rights of a copyright are: right to reproduce, right to distribute, right to publicly perform, right to publicly display, right to digital transmission and the one that affects girl talk’s music more directly, the right to create a derivative work. According to the copyright act a derivative work 17 U.S.C. §101: is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
In order to create a derivative work in the music realm the user has to negotiate an agreement with the copyright holder of the song (usually the artist or composer) and with the copyright holder of the master (in most cases the record label). Girls Talk’s music is based upon famous songs, which makes them, derivative works as a result. Therefore, according to the copyright law Girl Talk is liable of copyright infringement in every song that he samples and or remixes without getting a license from the copyright holder.
As a musician and a music business major student, I analyze this problem from two different perspectives: I understand that music has always been built upon earlier works and it is impossible to create something new that doesn’t relate to a previous work. On the other hand, no person is more powerful than or able to usurp the written law. Therefore, any creation that breaks any of the exclusive rights in a copyright should be considered infringement. Even though Girl Talk’s music can be considered original and creative most of it constitutes significant amounts of copyrighted material. From my point of view, Girl Talk is been unethical by ignoring the fact that the music he is creating breaks with the law (willful infringement). Hope you guys find this information helpful and watch the video!!!! do it do it!!!!