What The Tech Industry Needs To Learn About The Music Biz: Sympathy For The Devil (Part 3)

 This is the third part in a trilogy of articles exploring the misconceptions between the music and tech industries. It first appeared in Music Business Worldwide.

Part 1 questioned the manner in which rights owners contract with tech start-ups, Part 2 noted both YouTube and the music industry frequently appear to speak at crossed purposes. What about the tech industry? Should it not question its own misconceptions about the music business?


Challenging one another en famille is a good thing, but sometimes one also has to stand up for one’s own.

If the music industry is a family, to paraphrase author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, perhaps that makes the tech industry the “very rich uncle who doesn’t really know who (we) are”?

The tech industry is not some homogeneous mass of people: software engineers think differently to UX people, who in turn think differently to VCs who are not the same as corporate MBA-type people.

Yet there are some commonalities in how this broad constituency views the music industry – and not all of them are fair…


napster1) THE IDEA THAT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY DOESN’T “GET” TECHNOLOGY

This was true in the 90’s and early 2000s. One former colleague said to me “I don’t give a fuck about the Internet” six months after Napster launched.

There were plenty of executives who did not even know how to switch on their PC.

The next generation of music executives, however, comprises digital natives. On the label side, digital marketing and insight people play just as important a role as the traditional product manger. Aspiring managers are as likely to be working in social media or for a start-up as working for a label or promoter.

One of the most interesting facets to DJ Semtex’s 30 Under 30 list was the new school nature of people’s job roles, highlighting a significant shift away from the traditional music industry.


World Map - Spotify2) THE GLOBAL REPERTOIRE DATABASE 

The GRD did not happen, but not for want of trying. Having observed the GRD play out as a PRS major writer representative, I know how much effort went in to trying to make it work.

The PRS, however, should be applauded for bouncing back and striking a deal with STIM and GEMA to create ICE, a joint venture to streamline global digital licensing which is already making great progress.

Perhaps an even greater achievement is the joint venture between PRS and PPL. Not only does this demonstrate a more consumer friendly approach to public performance licensing, it potentially paves the way for a much closer working relationship on a data level. This is also a huge step forward.

There has also been plenty of focus from industry insiders about the potential for Blockchain and almost all the key players are engaging on some level.

There is still a long way to go and all sides need to come together, but the dialogue right now seems more productive than it has ever been.


Kobalt3) THE INDEPENDENTS INNOVATE… AND IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT KOBALT 

Kobalt, rightly, receives many plaudits for being a forward thinking and groundbreaking company. They have raised the game for everyone through applying technology solutions to traditional music industry functions.

Indie labels have always innovated, not just creatively, but also on a business level. Moreover, they have been doing so far longer than many of those in the Silicon Valley start-up ecosystem. Before there were “label services” deals, many indie labels paid artists a 50:50 percentage of net receipts and still do.

The tech sector has often been slow to recognize the importance of the indie sector, very often preferring to strike deals with the majors first. This is a mistake as more often than not independents have proven themselves to be more agile at adapting to new business models, which is reflected by the fact indies significantly over index on digital income streams.

Through the formation of Merlin, it has never been easier for the tech sector to engage with independent labels. Yet even Merlin has to fight continually for fair value on behalf of its independent label constituency.


universal_music4) THE MAJORS … IT’S A PEOPLE BUSINESS

It is easy to knock major labels, yet the commonly held reasons for disliking the majors could be applied to any corporation in any industry sector.

There are far worse examples found elsewhere. Remember United States v. Mircosoft Corp. first prompted by the latter’s behaviour towards Netscape?

One tech executive I met with recently seemed bewildered that any artist would want to sign to a major label. He didn’t get it. The answer is quite simple: artists don’t sign to corporations they sign to people.

If Darcus Beese and his team at Island Records (UK) wants to sign you and their vision meets yours, then, as an artist, you would be crazy not to. Amazing people can do tremendous things to further your career.

That is what record labels do and they come in all shapes and sizes. The trick is to find the label that best fits what you want to achieve. There are more options – majors, indies, label services, DIY – and that is a great thing.


Troy Carter5) MANAGERS AND LAWYERS

Those who represent artists, be they managers or lawyers, increasingly have a foot in both the technology and music worlds.

This goes way beyond headline names such as Troy Carter, Scooter Braun and Guy Oseary or innovative lawyers such as Fred Davis (who is now fully focused on tech).

Pretty much every major music law firm in both Los Angeles and London has a presence in both music and tech, with partners specifically dedicated to serving tech clients. This means, from an artist perspective, your advisors understand the value chain from all sides of the table.

Similarly managers, entrepreneurial by nature, are increasingly as likely to be connected with tech investors and entrepreneurs as they are with label and publishing executives.

A good manager finds common ground, brings people together and makes things happen. That can mean coordinating a tour with an album release or, these days, aligning the differing parties where both the merch company and the record label want to bundle product with the ticket pre-sale that has been agreed by the manager with the promoter.

On a broader level, managers are increasingly influential in the various music/ tech debates. They speak to everyone, they do business with everyone and they don’t take sides with anyone other than with their artist clients.


Beyonce Tidal7) NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE ARTIST

There are so many misconceptions about artists it is difficult to know where to begin. Life in the public eye is never easy let alone for someone who bares their soul through music.

Accordingly, the stereotype of a fragile soul disinterested in business affairs persists. Very often tech people go along with that and take a somewhat patronizing tone when addressing the artist community.

The reality is an artist in the music business has to master not only their own art, but also the art of asking questions of their own team so they can make informed decisions about their own career. Advisors are there to advise but it is the artist’s career and their final decision.

The other misconception tech people have is all artists write and produce all their own music and then go on tour and sell their own merchandise etc. Alternatively they ridicule Beyonce’s track Girls on social media owing to its multiple writers and producers … how dare she not do it all herself?!

The reality is that songwriters, producers, mixers and session performers all add value to the creative process and must be paid too.

And, no, a songwriter does not make money from merchandise or endorsements, just the song.

Some backroom creators have been amongst the most tech-savvy people in the music business. It is no surprise former producers Kevin Bacon, Jonathan Quarmby (both AWAL) and Benji Rogers (Pledge) have found success as tech entrepreneurs.

It is in everyone’s interests that the tech industry engages directly with artists.

Mark Williamson, who leads Global Artist Services at Spotify, will tell you his toughest audience isn’t label executives or mangers, it is artists.

For all the brickbats that have been thrown at Spotify they are by far the most proactive tech company to engage with the artist community. YouTube and Apple are catching up and that should be encouraged not feared.


SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US?

There has been a meaningful market for digital market for roughly sixteen years, during which time – conveniently for the purposes of rounding off this series of articles – there have been two American presidents.

George W Bush saw the world in binary terms proclaiming, “You’re either with us or against us”. Barack Obama acknowledged the nuances of the modern world but concluded, “Yes We Can”.

Who was the more effective leader?

Searching for common ground is a smart thing to do. Understand the upside for both sides.

All of us in the value chain, irrespective of where we sit, need to ask ourselves a question: do we aspire to be a Bush or an Obama?

YouTube And The Music Business: Sympathy For the Devil (Part 2)

This article first appeared in Music Business Worldwide, which you can view here.

Oh no, not another YouTube article! There has been so much back and forth over the past few weeks. My personal favourites are David BalfourNelly Furtado and Irving Azoff – all of whom have put forth compelling arguments on the music side. Christophe Muller and Robert Kyncl (pictured) have argued YouTube’s corner.

As someone with a foot in both the music and tech what strikes me time and again is the two sides frequently speak at crossed purposes, as appears to be the case with YouTube and the music industry.

This article weighs up where common ground might exist and how both sides might work together once matters are resolved.

To be clear: my personal opinion so far as the value gap, etc is concerned is broadly in line with Azoff et al, but nor do I see YouTube as the “devil”.

So here goes:


1) YOUTUBE: THE NEW BROADCAST PARADIGM (BUT NOT NECESSARILY RADIO!)

The impact of YouTube goes way beyond the music industry. It seems an entire generation is turning away from traditional broadcast media, eschewing satellite and cable subscriptions and even television sets altogether in favour of phones, tablets and laptops with a super-fast broadband connection.

Against this backdrop, native YouTube talent has reached global scale without the help of traditional media.

A number of articles document this trend including this one and this one.

YouTube presents a massive opportunity for artists at all levels, but that opportunity – as things stand – is not the same as fully licensed streaming services.

“A HUGE AMOUNT OF MUSIC IS CONSUMED ON YOUTUBE BUT, OVERALL, IT IS PRIMARILY A PLACE WHERE CREATORS ENGAGE WITH THEIR AUDIENCE.”

A huge amount of music is consumed on YouTube but, overall, it is primarily a place where creators engage with their audience and present their personality, vibe, brand, or whatever it is they want to put out there.

Take a YouTube channel for any given artist. There will be a number of music videos uploaded over a period of time, maybe some audio tracks and hopefully a decent number of subscribers to that artist channel.

Now go into Content ID, block all the music content completely and instead feed the artist channel’s subscribers with a regular stream of vlogs, interviews and docu-footage all filmed and edited on the fly with a GoPro on a shoestring budget.

All of this is monetized through a variety of ad strategies available to YouTube creators.

It would take a brave artist/manager/label to make such a move, but supposing this resulted in more subscribers, more viewing time and more revenue? Even better, it does not require the use of highly prized music rights currently undervalued by the existing YouTube model.

This is not as absurd as it might sound.


2) THE CURRENT GAME AND HOW TO MONETIZE YOUTUBE

MBW notes that YouTube paid out $634m to music rights holders; but if music content makes up a third of all views, surely that figure should have been $1.6bn?

Here’s why: YouTube is not optimized for Total Views, it is optimized for Watch Time, which is about user engagement and encouraging users to stick around and watch more content. Channel subscriptions have a huge impact on Watch Time and as Mark Mulligan notes, music massively underperforms on channel subscriptions relative to other creators and especially native YouTubers.

If the typical artist channel only refreshes with three new videos every eighteen months or so, even if those videos clock up big viewing numbers it is no surprise revenues underperform (under the current model). Not enough advertising inventory is generated if users click on a music video and then click away.

In contrast, native YouTube creators constantly drip feed content, engaging with and growing their audience, encouraging them to keep watching their channel. This in turn creates more advertising inventory and more revenue.

“NATIVE YOUTUBE CREATORS CONSTANTLY DRIP FEED CONTENT.”

One YouTuber told me she quit her day job once her channel reached 60,000 subscribers as by that time she was earning enough from her channel to sustain herself. She did not have an MCN or a manager, only an agent for brand work.

Another YouTube channel I know has grown to 700,000+ subscribers. Its revenue supports a team of seventeen fulltime staff and fresh content is uploaded several times per week. There are plenty of similar success stories.

These channels follow a formula. There are no dark secrets; insights on how to make the most of the platform are there for anyone who cares to look. This approach is not right for every artist, but there are plenty of permutations for creative individuals to engage with their audience in their own style.


3) THE FOOT SOLDIERS “GET IT”

While senior YouTube executives trade blows with music industry figures, those closer to the coalface are doing some great work.

Within YouTube there is a global content partnership team. They run workshops and presentations for artist managers and provide a point of contact for rights owners of all shapes and sizes. Many are ex-music industry people.

On the label side, I speak to industry colleagues with lots of ideas to better monetize their artist’s YouTube channels.

“MANY REMAIN DEEPLY SKEPTICAL OF A PLATFORM THAT DOES NOT YET DELIVER FAIR MARKET VALUE.”

This requires buy-in not only from their label bosses but also managers and artists, yet many remain deeply skeptical of a platform that does not yet deliver fair market value for music assets. Once that skepticism is overcome, however, great things can happen.

One recent independent label client of mine doubled its YouTube revenue in less than a year purely through optimizing content and applying best practice across its artist channels. There are similar stories elsewhere for both artist managed and label managed channels.

The caveat is this: these revenues are substantial in the context of UGC generated content, but fall well short of the rest of the fully licensed streaming market.


4) EVOLVING THE BUSINESS MODEL

What is most striking about the current situation is that while YouTube’s business model very clearly does not work for the music industry as far as its traditional assets are concerned, it could be argued it does not work for YouTube either.

If music content is only generating $634m on YouTube when it should be making at least $1.6bn (current model), surely that should also be an issue for YouTube?

What is holding YouTube back from coming to the table? They appear fearful not only of paying a market rate but also limiting functionality for music assets in line with other, fully licensed ad-funded services.

Many observer’s comment that YouTube’s parent company, Google, is more concerned with data mining based around search rather than building a content business for YouTube. Search is the business Google knows best after all.

But what if YouTube could be persuaded to step out of its comfort zone and properly incentivize rights owners? Two things could happen:

  • Artists and labels may be more disposed to invest more in their own UGC content and deploy content strategies similar to native YouTube creators.
  • Up-selling to subscription services and possibly even a la carte services.

The latter point should be a no-brainer. Spotify has shown freemium is an effective funnel to higher value services and YouTube offers one hell of a funnel. Moreover YouTube already does this for TV and movies giving users options to rent or buy, as they can on fully licensed platforms. No wonder the music industry feels left out.

The former point is a significant opportunity not apparent to many music industry executives largely skeptical towards ad-funded business models generally and the current YouTube model specifically. But if YouTube came to the table and engage more positively they can win over the skeptics and build a substantial business within the music vertical on artist UGC content alone. On top of that is an even bigger business around premium content in one form or another.


5) MAKING THE NUMBERS WORK

In bringing all of this together, the broader opportunity needs to be understood. YouTube’s Robert Kyncl is underselling the potential of his platform when he says only 20% of consumers have ever been willing to pay for music. This is wrong.

Figures I have for the pre-digital era indicate that 20% consumers bought at least one album per month or more, a further 30% 1-2 albums per year and only 50% of consumers never bought music, not the 80% Kyncl suggests.

“IN THE DIGITAL AGE, SURELY THE GOAL MUST BE TO ENCOURAGE MORE PAID CONSUMPTION – NOT LESS?”

These are Gallup/ BPI figures for the UK market in the early 90s (which I relied on for my undergraduate dissertation on digital music written in 1993).

This was before mass-market retailers entered the market and CDs still sold at a premium. As the decade unfolded per capita consumption, if anything, increased. In the digital age, surely the ultimate goal must be to encourage more paid consumption not less?

Ad-funded services have a part to play, but the opportunities to up-sell are much broader, but also more granular. YouTube is an ideal platform to exploit that granularity and hopefully YouTube Red might unlock some of those opportunities.


WHAT NEXT?

YouTube is far too random a proposition for one business model. It is a pick’n’mix of traditional content creators, native YouTube creators and pure amateurs.

Artists and rights owners, meanwhile, have not tapped into what YouTube does best: monetizing artist and label channels with their own UGC.

Both sides need to step out of their comfort zones. That requires YouTube evolving its business model with strands and layers appropriate to vertical markets such as music.

It also requires further diversification from artists and rights owners to create and monetize their own UGC programming.

That is where the common ground lies.

Sympathy For The Devil: why do so few music tech start-ups succeed?

This article first appeared in Music Business Worldwide, which you can read here.

 

The digital music market continues to grow, but life remains tough for music tech start-ups. Rdio bit the dust before Christmas and Cür Music, had a fight on its hands to meet payment deadlines to labels, which it has now done. Even some of the bigger players are not without their problems as MBW has alluded to.

Many within the music industry have little sympathy for the tech sector, yet the fact remains hardly any fully licensed music start-ups have achieved either profitability or a successful exit after almost twenty years of trying. It is worth asking, why?

The table below compares the biggest music tech start-ups of recent times against three of the biggest tech start-ups overall during the same period. It compares their launch dates, early fundraising and current valuation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 07.26.19

The Series A is the key line to focus on.

This is the funding round that enables a start-up to launch its product or to scale to a meaningful level once in the market through hiring a team, product development, marketing, etc.

RdioDeezer and Spotify required a Series A funding round that was more or less double the Series A for three of the most successful start-ups of recent times.

Spotify is by far the most successful music tech start-up in terms of scale and impact. It was founded in 2006, launched in late 2009 with a Series A of $21.6m. On this funding round Spotify concluded deals with all three majors and Merlin. Reports suggest the company burned through $8m prior to the Series A, so Spotify was $30m in the hole pre-launch.

Compare this with Uber, AirBnB and WhatsApp and some interesting points emerge:

  • All three raised much smaller Series A rounds, less than half what Spotify did.
  • AirBnB and WhatsApp launched two years before raising their Series A, valuable product development time in the market prior to scaling properly.
  • These companies are superstars, yet their initial steps were broadly in line with most start-ups. The typical Series A round falls within the $2-10m range,
  • AirBnB launched in 2008 with an initial Seed round of $620k, waiting over two years to secure a Series A of $7.2m.
  • Uber and AirBnB have valuations far in excess of Spotify’s while WhatsAppachieved an exit more than double Spotify’s recent valuation.

Even leaving aside the headline grabbing unicorns (the billion dollar start-ups), a more typical goal for a founder or investor is a $100m+ exit.

Over the past five years, there have been around 100 or so tech start-ups achieve such an exit per year either by IPO or acquisition.

These include SaaS, FinTech, AdTech Social Media start-ups but no music tech start-ups and certainly not ones that are fully licensed.

Asking around amongst well-placed friends, who have held senior global digital music roles, between us we can only think of two successful exits for music services in the past fifteen years or so:

  • MusicMatch selling to Yahoo for $160m in 2004
  • Last.fm selling to CBS for $280m in 2007

Last.fm was not fully licensed but a number of rights owners managed to close deals around the time of the acquisition.

So that means only one fully licensed music start-up has achieved a successful exit and that was in 2004!

What would you do if you were a founder or early stage investor? Go for music and swallow greater dilution of equity with greater financial risk? Or target other sectors that require less dilution with less risk and, potentially, offer a much greater return?

Bootstrapping and lean start-up methodologies have been widely adopted within the tech sector. Yet, applying these methods to music tech start-ups is problematic.

The benefits of the lean start-up model are very simple: eliminate waste and focus on product development. Build, measure, learn and repeat in short iterations until the product is sufficiently developed to scale. Balance the risk and pick more winners.

The business development model that rights owners apply to licensing digital services is well established (equity, advances, minimum rates, etc). Yet this approach places a huge burden on music tech start-ups before they even launch.

In fairness to the music industry the tech mantra of scale first, establish a business model second should be given short shrift. No AirBnB host would want to give free accommodation to strangers just to help out some tech entrepreneurs. Why should rights owners give anyone a free lunch? They should not.

Streaming is fuelling a growth in recorded music revenues but there is still a long way to go to get the market back to where it once was let alone to where it could be.

Moreover, the market is dominated by a handful of major tech players. Yet corporate tech companies cannot always be relied upon to innovate. In the music tech space for every Apple there is a Mircosoft or Nokia that does not quite hit the mark.

Time and again, start-ups innovate and create new markets across a range of industry sectors. The music sector, however, remains problematic.

Leaving aside the actual deal structures for music licensing, the costs associated with negotiating the deals, managing content and reporting usage are substantial whichever side of the table you sit on.

Of course, some would point to Blockchain and GRD as solutions, certainly the tech industry has proved adept at collaborating at an infrastructure level to enable more innovation in the market.

Facebook helped established the Open Compute Project that has signed up just about every major tech giant except Amazon. The reasoning is very simple. Tech giants are not competing on their server capacity, they are competing on the next wave of innovation around VR, AI and so on that sits on top. So collaborate on the back end to enable a higher level of competition where it matters. Brilliant thinking.

In fairness to the music industry, it has picked up the mantle to fight online piracy and address issues such as the value gap and safe harbour. Such work creates a fairer environment for innovative music tech start-ups seeking to launch fully licensed legitimate digital music services. This is something the tech community, as a whole, should recognise.

Coming back to the music tech start-up looking to strike deals with rights owners, how might the business development teams approach these opportunities and back more winners?

For the sake of brevity, let’s consider three key components: cash, equity and debt.

Ask for too much cash upfront and the start-up struggles before it even gets going. To the extent at advances are applied, many observers say advances should be proportionate to the likely earn through especially in the early stages.

Entrepreneurs often complain this does not happen and advances can be too aggressive. But what is the alternative? Cash is less risky and if rights owners are assuming more risk, then the overall compensation should reflect the level of risk.

Equity is well established in licensing deals, usually on the first round of negotiations and that equity dilutes over further funding rounds until a final exit is achieved. But only one such exit has ever been achieved.

How might the equity piece be approached differently? Perhaps there is an argument to take more equity earlier, divest a proportion of that equity on later rounds and retain the remainder until final exit?

Such arrangements are not that common but do happen. There are all sorts of permutations.

Debt finance is often overlooked, but it has been brought into prominence on account of Spotify’s latest funding round. The debt piece can be structured in all sorts of ways, interest can be applied and it can be converted to equity on pre-agreed terms. For a start-up low on cash, it is an alternative, but it is still risky for the rights owner.

These thoughts just skim the surface of a complex problem, but a problem exists and it affects all of us in the digital music value chain. There are no easy answers.

Provided the start-up is on the hook one way or another for the music rights they use from day one, are there more creative way to strike these deals to enable more innovation and growth in the digital music market?

If Spotify does achieve a successful exit, then it will only be the second fully licensed music start-up to do so. We need more.

Analyse This … The Rise of the Music Industry Analyst

This article first appeared in Record of the Day magazine, which you can subscribe to here.

The music industry has a tendency to pigeonhole people. This is especially so when it comes to jobs and job titles.

Different roles attract different characters. Within labels, roles traditionally fall into a few key strands: A&R, product manager, plugger, press officer and around them: sales, international, digital and business affairs amongst others.

One role that cuts through all of the above is the analyst. It is a role I have a lot of love and affection for because that is how I first started my career.

The life of an analyst in the music business:

Spock+kirk_ed6bcd_4777877

What is an Analyst?

Analysts cover a very broad remit in the modern music industry. Artist Insight details where an artist sits in the market, identifying their audience and how that audience behaves. At market level, broader trends can be established: where does streaming adoption sit? Who is still buying CDs? Etc.

We should all be familiar with social media stats, streaming stats, YouTube stats, all of which can be analysed on a per territory or global basis. Cause and effect can be easily monitored, layered with digital marketing and advertising spends. Taking it to another level marries usage and impacts with revenue generation to assess engagement and monetization.

In a world of big data, those who complain of too much data don’t know what they are doing. Or they need to hire an analyst. Someone who can make sense of complexity and cut to the essence of what is required to aid better decisions that drive an increasingly sophisticated business. The role of the analyst has come of age.

A good analyst is a match for any management consultant or MBA graduate.

 

What makes a good Analyst?

Analysts need to be smart and probably degree educated, they certainly need to be trained how to think. Some have quantitative degrees, but that is not a prerequisite.

Some come to the industry having worked in insight roles elsewhere. Some, like me, had a burning desire to work in the music business and fell into it.

A good analyst can zone in on mirco level issues such as a specific artist campaign, while understanding macro level trends of where the business is going. Most of all they have to be able to filter and interpret in a manner that connects with decision makers who have notoriously short attention spans.

Analysts need to understand the broader creative and social context of music (it helps to be on ticket allocations). They also need to understand the fundamental drivers of the business they are in. The latter comes down to reading the trades, Don Passman, Dissecting The Digital Dollar, etc. It also means getting to know their stakeholders and what they do.

Having being in the role of a decision maker for far longer than I was even an analyst, I can always tell industry newcomers because although they deliver great analysis maybe their context is not quite right. This is easily fixed through constructive feedback. Decision makers need filters too.

 

How it used to be

Twenty years ago, there were one or two analysts in each major and a couple of people at the BPI. Very few people knew what we did.

I was referred to as “the numbers guy”, a “statistician”, “the guy who walks around with the midweeks”, or more bluntly “what is it you do again, Andy?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I spent my university years promoting gigs for bands such as Nirvana. Solely in the interests of getting my 2:1, I searched for a music related topic for my technology-focused degree.

Peter Scaping, then Research Director of the BPI and Chris Green’s old boss, suggested: “Some people seem to think that one day music will be beamed into people’s homes. Why don’t you go away and think about that?

30,000 words later and I had written one of the first major pieces of analysis on digital music. It got me my start, but from then on I was labeled the geek.

Charles Wood, Media And Planning Director at Sony Music, called me up about a job, but initially I wasn’t that interested. The Eureka moment came at the second interview when Charles had me do a range of tasks. I thought two things: 1) This guy is seriously smart and 2) What a great way to learn about music marketing.

Music marketing in the 90s was more sophisticated than many people realize and with a real focus on numbers. The groundwork had been laid in the 1980s by Clive Farrell (RIP), Charles’ former boss who developed a method of analyzing TV advertising spend against chart sales data by TV region.

By the 90s data was more sophisticated and way ahead of the rest of the world. There was also airplay tracking and a bunch of other sources. The whole business revolved around charts (and still does).

As many analysts will tell you, there are relatively few opportunities to be the hero. Once such moment for me was this:

On a Tuesday morning I had Paul Burger (Chairman), Rob Stringer (Epic MD) and John Aston (Sales VP and Sony COO Nicola Tuer’s old boss) all standing in my office, with Burger yelling at me “you got your fucking numbers wrong, Andy!

Paul could yell louder than Rob (which is very loud) and he was pissed off because I had predicted Manic Street Preachers would not be number 1 by the weekend. Their new single If You Tolerate This (Then Your Children Will Be Next) would be narrowly beaten to the top spot by Steps as things stood.

No Paul, I got my numbers right.” Paul bought my argument and the Sony machine rolled into action. The Manics made number 1 with 146,529 sales to Steps’ 140,020. Without an analyst, Sony and the Manics would not have made it. That was a step-up moment for the band: their first number 1 single that kicked off global campaign taking them to the next level.

Moving forward to present day, the role of the analyst is better understood, better paid and better resourced although there is still some way to go. There are more career options if you intend to remain in that sort of position, but an analytical grounding has wide application across the whole music business.

  

Ex-Analysts

Charles has remained at Sony Music and is still doing what he does best. His predecessor, Peter Duckworth moved to Virgin Records and then become part of the senior management team at EMI and now jointly runs Now Music.
Lohan Presencer, my opposite number at Warners, moved into a marketing role, then to Ministry where he is now CEO. One of the smartest deal makers I know.

Emma Drew (nee Sharma), my opposite number at Universal, moved into digital marketing and now runs her own hugely successful YouTube channel creating nursery songs and animations for kids.

Pete Downton was an analyst at Warner Music before his elevation to VP of Digital. He is now Deputy CEO of 7Digital, another shrewd deal maker.

In making my move, the aim was twofold: 1) work more closely with artists and 2) move into digital. Since then I have alternated between start-ups and artist management. Initially marketing focused, later focused on deal making.

 

More career choices for Analysts

There are now far more options for those wishing to remain in analytical roles.

Fred Bolza and his team does great things at Sony and Mark Utley is building a solid team at Spotify. Tech + Music = More Opportunities For Analysts.

Another beneficiary of that crossover is Will Page, also at Spotify. An economist by trade, he presents in a hugely compelling way. On stage his PowerPoint skills possess the virtuosity of a Jimmy Page guitar solo.

Outside the corporate loop, Mark Mulligan and Chris Carey are building entrepreneurial businesses and credible media profiles as analysts.

 

Striking Out

For those who wish to strike out and diversify their career either into frontline marketing or commercial roles, you have to look within yourself and assess your own strengths and weaknesses. Think about how you can enrich your life and experiences through other avenues aside from your day job.

There is no reason why someone who started out as an analyst cannot make it all the way in this industry. Lohan has proven you can reach CEO level if you are smart and the right opportunities come your way.

Very often analyst types let themselves down through lack of confidence or lack of self-promotion. Super smart people can be their own worst critics when they need to be more brazen. They don’t see the big deal in the amazing things they do, while others make the mundane appear remarkable.

Sometimes you have to learn to say “fuck you” and/ or have a FUCK YOU attitude. Not to be obnoxious, but knowing when to stand your ground and to know your own worth. At other times you have to be charm personified.

Analysts can over think things, but when they do make decisions they tend to be good ones. Backing up a decision in advance of achieving an outcome requires conviction. Those are the moments that test your mettle.

Some people in the music business get paid a lot of money not because their job is inherently difficult on an intellectual level, but because they are under enormous pressure to deliver results. Moreover, they have to do so in what can be a highly political environment.   That could be managing a band constantly on the verge of breaking up or running a corporation with numerous stakeholders, either way it requires nerves of steel.

 

Knowing your worth

The difficulty with analyst roles is while they are incredibly demanding they are often undervalued. Analysts lack the professional status of lawyers and accountants or the frontline kudos of product managers. I would argue they are equally valuable and that value is now more apparent than ever.

To HR people and senior executives I would say: value proven analysts and do your best to retain, motivate and promote them. To the analysts reading this: don’t quote me (ha!) Only you can weight up your own situation, but consider your options and know your worth. This is your time.

I ♥ Lawyers and Accountants x

This article first appeared in the Record of the Day weekly magazine. Subscribers can access the archive here.

Lawyers and accountants are traditionally singled out as the “bad guys” within the music business. Andy Edwards challenges this assertion, outlines what they bring to the table and offers suggestions of how get the most from your lawyer and accountant

The music business was ruined by lawyers and accountants” is a well-worn line used by speakers at conferences, pundits and commentators alike. It may play well to the crowd, but the assertion is not backed up by facts.

The line is usually in the context of consolidation and corporate culture within the industry. It is just easier to label lawyers and accountants as the “bad guys”, rather than the somewhat amorphous concept of “corporatisation”.

The trouble is the line sticks in people’s minds and induces either disdain or fear depending on whom you speak to. The recent Music Week 30 Under 30, aside from its lack of diversity, did not contain a single lawyer or accountant.

Where is the next Gavin Maude or Sonia Diwan? Where is the next Pat Savage or Lisa Morris? There are plenty of candidates out there both in-house and in private practice.

On the label side, it often seems accountants get overlooked, but when they do get the opportunity they can really shine. Island Records under the Ted and Darcus co-presidency was a joy to work with. Not only did the co-presidents compliment one another beautifully, they arguably had a third co-president in David Sharpe whose background in accountancy equipped him with solid operational and shrewd deal making skills.

It was no surprise to me when Darcus ascended to the sole presidency of Island and Ted took the reigns at Virgin, that David became COO for Universal overall. That is strength in depth in practice.

Lawyers have been far more high profile on the label side than accountants, many with larger-than-life characters and incredibly sharp minds. Paul Russell, who ran CBS Records, Sony Music and Sony Music Europe during the ’80s and ’90s is one such character, often referred to by rank and file as “Mr Scary”, bear in mind his boss was Walter Yetnikoff then Tommy Mottola.

It was in the mid 2000s before I worked closely with Paul Russell at a music rights start-up. The pressure was on. He and I ended up having a massive stand-up row one day about a “stupid fucking deal”. It was a one hell of a show down, but next day we sat down and like a true gentleman Paul gave me all the respect in the world as we discussed our differing points of view on the matter in hand. Paul was persuaded and everything was resolved.

The point being: learn when and how to pushback. Even the toughest of corporate lawyers can be swayed if you have the courage of your convictions and a reasoned argument. Paul Russell wasn’t that scary, he even said “calm down, Andy, luv” at one point in his gruff voice, cigar in hand. We got there.

In artist management, lawyers and accountants play a huge role. Some have become managers themselves, such as Sarah Stennett or Anthony Addis.

There are no restrictions on who can become a manager. It really does take all sorts. You can be a former publicist like Andrew Loog-Oldham or a former merchant banker like Prince Rupert Loewenstein, both of whom managed The Rolling Stones. Andrew made them famous, Prince Rupert made them rich.

Whatever your background, for the benefit of your artist you need to learn to work effectively with the artist’s lawyer and accountant. A good lawyer will protect and enhance an artist’s interests. A good accountant will always save the artist money. A good manager will ensure both are well briefed and well informed and the whole team delivers great value to the artist as client.

A Christmas eCard from a law firm, full of creativity and humour! 

ClintonsNEW

 

Accountants need to be involved in deal making from an early stage. They may not be driving the deal but they need to know what is going on. The deal must fit the artist’s business structure and be tax efficient.

In a negotiation, some conversations are best handled lawyer-to-lawyer, at other times the manager should speak to the other side. Be clear with one another about what is happening and work as a team.

Depending on the politics of the situation, it may be necessary to play good cop/ bad cop. Very often the lawyer gets labelled “bad cop”, not an easy role to play but it enables the manager to smooth things over with the other side while getting the right result for the artist. Sometimes I have played “bad cop” from the management side. What that really means, for me, is being firm and direct about whatever needs to be resolved, without too much drama.

A common accusation levelled at the professions is that they create work for themselves. If you think that is so, come up with a solution. In one instance I persuaded a major music corporation to reduce a 23 page boilerplate service agreement to a much shorter 12 page document before involving the artist lawyer. My argument was simple: the boilerplate was not appropriate to the situation and my counterpart on the other side was very accommodating. It saved the lawyer’s time and the artist client’s money.

Lawyers and accountants usually charge by the hour, so use their time wisely. By all means socialise, but on a business call keep things brief and to the point. If the Partner involves a Junior Associate, embrace that. It saves the client money and in any event the Partner will oversee the Associate’s work.

Specialist music accountants and lawyers may charge higher hourly rates compared to general firms, especially those outside of London, but they almost always deliver better value. They understand the business, are more efficient and avoid pitfalls that a non-specialist might fail to recognise.

Most people are wise enough to use specialist lawyers, but I have seen major problems arise when non-specialist accountants have been appointed by music clients trying to save money. It simply is not worth it in the long run.

How do you find a good lawyer or accountant? Ask. Give me a call!

Diversity in the Music Industry and the 30 Under 30 List

Andy Edwards poses some questions to consider in the wake of the 30 Under 30 diversity discussion

 

This article first appeared in the Record of the Day weekly magazine. Subscribers can access the archive here.

If it’s not the Oscars it’s the BRITS, if it’s not the Billboard Power 100 it’s Music Week’s 30 Under 30, the question of diversity within the music industry has boiled to the surface this year. In 2016 this is deeply troubling.

Music Week’s front cover featuring 30 people under 30, initially nominated by readers, and then finally selected by MW, was the latest lightning rod for this topic. If the next generation of executives cannot be truly diverse, what hope is there?

One criticism leveled at Music Week is that editorial judgment should have been exercised and a broader list of names proactively sought. Instead, Music Week reported on the candidates whose names had been put forward. Judging by the list of 108 names that did not make the final 30, the total list put forward was overwhelmingly white.

30under30

Perhaps any attempt to disproportionately select candidates of colour would have masked the real story and a much broader underlying problem? Music Week did report the facts whether we like those facts or not.

The counter list put forth by DJ Semtex is incredibly powerful. One person came up with 30 alternative names in a matter of hours, a list that was overwhelming colourful and brimming with talent. A further list from Complex made a similar point.

30-More-Under-30-Grid-New-cover-1440x810

What interests me most of all right now is to understand what is going on and why. In very broad terms, it strikes me the Music Week list is made up largely of what we would consider to be the “traditional” music business, whether that is corporates or established PR and management companies.

In contrast, Semtex’s list – while containing quite a few major label people – skewed much more heavily to the self-starters, the entrepreneurs, those with portfolio careers and the emerging music businesses – the blogs, the YouTube channels, the club nights, and so on. The same was broadly true of the Complex list.

Compilers of such lists have to consider a much broader range of job roles than ever before and a much broader range of organizations and career paths. What constitutes the “music industry” itself can be debated at length.

If the music industry is to reflect the wider world, what is that wider world? The last UK census in 2011 revealed that 13% of the UK population is non-white, but in London that percentage rises to 40%. Undeniably the industry is still overwhelmingly London-centric, but should we be looking at percentages at all? What should our reference points be?

And what of the challenges of a London-centric industry? Moving to London was part of the attraction of being in the music industry, but with rents and property prices at an all-time high, does that also stifle diversity of a different kind? Factor in ever increasing levels of student debt and the problem multiplies. Some have said only the posh Home Counties middle class need apply – probably a blog post in itself!

So we as an industry need to ask ourselves some questions.

The Who and What Questions:

  • Who does the industry employ? What are the numbers by ethnicity?
  • What is the break down across sectors of the industry?
  • What are the emerging sectors that should form part of the music industry?
  • What are the ethnicity numbers by job role? Creative vs Business roles?
  • Does music genre play a role in determining the spread of diversity?
  • What are the conventions and processes that are restraining diversity?

The Why Questions:

  • Why do some jobs attract a more diverse range of applicants than others?
  • Why do people from certain backgrounds want to work in music?
  • Why do people from certain backgrounds not want to work in music?
  • Is the music industry attracting the right mix of people? What is the right mix?
  • Why do employers recruit in the way that they do?

There is a lot of soul searching to be done. Perhaps we all have to ask questions about our own journeys, experiences and motivations in order to make those connections with others. We should constantly question and challenge ourselves.

I grew up in a small town in the north of England. I remember a kid in the playground calling me “Jew Boy” because I had curly hair, a big nose and my Dad worked for a bank. I didn’t know any Jewish people at the time, but I did know what it felt like to be different and I have always been appreciative and inquisitive of people’s differences.

Working in the music business was an opportunity to do something different. I like being around crazy people, but really I’m the commercially focused sensible one. At Sony Music in the ‘90s, I was a Marketing Analyst. No one knew what I did and I always had to explain. So a part of me jumped for joy that the first name on the Music Week 30 under 30 list was an Analyst from Sony Music.

As an indie kid from up north, Sony was also an opportunity to expand my knowledge of black music. With colleagues such as Semtex, Matthew Ross, Adam Sieff and others I filled up on hip hop, soul and jazz. I was clueless but I learned.

Moving around the industry, one learns about the differing professions and tribes. You listen, learn and absorb. As the industry grows more complex a broader range of skills are required. It also means opening one’s eyes and ears to those with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

But this runs counter to the way in which the industry has traditionally organized itself. The “its who you know” mantra is self-selecting. A female colleague describing an iconic label she worked at recalled, “there was a certain type of person and you either fitted in or you didn’t”. Like attracts like.

On another occasion, when interviewing for an assistant role for a colleague, one candidate spoke enthusiastically about some work they had done for their local church. Afterwards, my colleague remarked “hummm, bible basher”, completely misunderstanding the background and culture of the candidate. Clue: 48% of London’s church-goers are black.

Some organisations deploy more sophisticated recruitment techniques such as competency based interviews or algorithms yet many tech companies have diversity challenges also. These techniques can also be self-selecting and if candidates are not attracted to certain industry sectors or roles, one has to ask “why?

This is not an easy process, whether that is on a macro level or a mirco level. Relaying back to personal experience, the best and most productive working relationships have always been those where I have worked with someone who is the polar opposite to myself. That might not necessarily make for an easy experience but it is always exciting, challenging and most of all delivers exceptional results.

The music industry has to grapple with a much bigger picture on a macro level. It is not just music; other creative sectors such as film, TV and publishing are facing similar issues. It seems no one is handling this well.

This is a topic that is already being hotly debated at UK Music board level for some time. The senior figures within our industry are already deeply concerned and are seeking to understand the issues and challenges, including some of the questions I have raised above.

There will be outreach, through UK Music and its members: the BPI, AIM, MPA, PRS, MMF and so on are all intending on surveying their memberships. Ged Doherty and Keith Harris are looking at this issue specifically. I would ask anyone reading this article to engage and retweet and spread the word. There will be more announcements to come. Watch this space and get involved.

@andyedwardsbiz

Open Compute Project – Collaborative Competition

Major corporations whether their business is content, media, tech or finance are often, rightly, targeted by regulators who seek to limit anything that may be perceived as anti-competitive behaviour.

The presumption is that market dominance is bad, that collusion is bad and that any collaboration between huge corporations is a bad thing.

This is not always the case and in an increasingly changing world, while dominant market players should be subjected to close scrutiny collective action does not necessarily warrant intervention, regulation or restriction.

A case in point is the Open Compute Project (OCP). It came about because the major tech giants had grown so huge that they needed to look beyond typical hardware solutions for their data centres and design their own hardware from scratch. Data centre racks need to evolve, requiring more and more power to propel graphics processing, VR and AI, etc to their full potential.

Facebook was the first to recognise the benefits of open source hardware and founded the OCP in 2011. Not only would this help reduce hardware costs, but by creating standards accelerates and expands the potential for AI as it is these underlying technologies that will drive neural networks.

This was a bold move by Facebook and it has taken five years to persuade the majority of major tech players and other major institutions to come on board.

The Open Compute Project Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organisation whose members now include Microsoft, Intel, Rackspace, Ericsson, Cisco, Juniper Networks, AT&T Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and the famously secretive Apple who joined in 2015.

Last week it was announced that Google has joined OCP, leaving Amazon as one of the last remaining tech companies not to join the project.

The conclusion is pretty clear: data centres power all of these businesses but they are not the basis on which these businesses compete. By collaborating on the foundations, the tech giants are laying the field for a higher-level game where the real competition between them will play out, i.e. who has the best solutions.

@andyedwardsbiz

Kendrick Lamar, Bowie, Iman and the Art of Conversation

My social media feed over the past few days has been dominated by Kendrick Lamar and his “untitled unmastered” EP, which was also unannounced.

Releasing unfinished demos is nothing new, but what made this collection stand out was the manner in which it provided a glimpse into the creative process of Kendrick Lamar. The New Yorker went as far as saying it “reads as evidence of a Post-­Impressionist sort of self-awareness”.

Perhaps untitled unmastered goes some way to help redefine what makes great art in the modern world. It draws his audience closer to the creative process and becomes a part of the conversation with his audience and amongst his audience and that conversation is an art form itself.

Kendrick2Kendrick1

This is something the post-YouTube generation have recognised intuitively. They are not about three or four promo videos uploaded in sync with an album cycle every eighteen months or so. They are about a constant steam of moments and experiences some polished, some not but all part of an ongoing dialogue with their audience.

This is in stark contrast to the way in which commercial music has become over the past twenty years or so. Through the 1990s and early 2000s it was about co-writing, remixing, polishing, positioning, scheduling and media training. Even as social media has achieved unstoppable momentum, many artists found it hard to grasp the concept of spontaneous imperfection.  So too have managers and label executives, as everyone tries to balance existing conventions with new possibilities.

For too long they have lived in a world where their art is defined by sporadic releases and performances rather than an ongoing conversation with their audience. Conversations are imperfect, there are umms and ahhhs, but through that dialogue comes a closer connection between those conversing.

Ironically, it was an artist from a previous generation, David Bowie, who best exemplified this notion of art through conversation. Bowie always had a truly holistic way of expressing himself, even his own death formed part of his art.

Not only that but the manner in which his widow, Iman, picked up that conversation through social media was especially poignant. She continued the dialogue with such honesty and integrity. It was real. It was heartfelt. It resonated so very profoundly.

Bowie1Bowie2

Perhaps not all artists are comfortable with exposing their feelings to that extent. Perhaps this was a singularly unique occurrence where an artist’s grieving widow is also a public figure in her own right. Nevertheless, it beautifully illustrates the concept of conversation as art.

Some may say both were contrived to some degree. Kendrick Lamar certainly curated which unfinished tracks he wanted to release. Iman was certainly controlled and dignified in how she expressed herself and there were limits. There was privacy, especially surrounding Bowie’s funeral.

Artists can still set their own boundaries even if their creative expression becomes more fluid and exposed to scrutiny. Cynics may fear a constant stream of noise, but for the true artist it is a chance to redefine themselves through honesty, integrity, consistency and the art of conversation.

@andyedwardsbiz

Talking Blockchain at The Great Escape Convention

Taken from The Great Escape website:

More details have been announced today about CMU Insights @ The Great Escape 2016, the conference that sits at the heart of the TGE Convention. Taking place at Dukes @ Komedia on the Thursday and Friday of the festival, this is a totally different kind of music conference, putting the spotlight on four key themes: data + transparency; CDs + merch; YouTube + video; and diversity + health.

Each strand is packed with timely talks and conversations, with training elements, original research, case studies and lively debate. Today we reveal details about some of the speakers set to appear in two of our CMU Insights strands: ‘Transparency! Data! Blockchain! Let’s make buzzwords happen!‘ and ‘What if YouTube actually is the future?’

Making buzzwords happen
‘Transparency’ has been the big buzzword in the music community this year, while another buzzy term – the ‘blockchain’ – has been increasingly held up as the technology that could make digital music more transparent and more efficient. Leading the debate around the blockchain has been PledgeMusic founder Benji Rogers, who will keynote at The Great Escape this May to outline his vision of how new technologies could power a prolific music database that could in turn make digital payments quicker and fairer.

He will be joined by digital music experts Sammy Andrews and Andy Edwards, both also vocal proponents of the need for more transparency and the role technology can play. They will map out what needs to happen to fix the issues around music data and digital royalties, and then debate the issues with a panel of managers, lawyers, publishers and label chiefs, who will discuss the role different stakeholders must play, and why they should bother.

Ensuring everyone is fully up to speed with the jargon, CMU’s Chris Cooke will provide a Beginners Guide To The Blockchain, while earlier in the day he will be joined by music lawyer Nigel Dewar-Gibb of Lewis Silkin to explain how digital data and revenue currently works its way through the system, identifying where the blockages lie, and identifying what questions need to be asked of digital services, labels, publishers and the collecting societies.

The power of music video online
Hosted by digital entrepreneur and Tracks2 co-founder Brittney Bean, our video-focused strand will explore both the licensing challenges and the commercial potential of YouTube, explain why music video is now about more than the ‘music video’, and identify what kinds of video content really work online, on YouTube and well beyond.

Vevo’s Tom Connaughton will delve into how artists, labels and promoters can create video content that really engages and excites fans, whilst Rebecca Lammers of Laika Network, Claire Mas of Communion Music Group, and Chloé Julien of BandSquare will demonstrate how the music industry can really maximise the value of video online.

Are Power Lists A Bit Uncool?

This article first appeared in Record of the Day Magazine.

Billboard’s Power 100 has come in for severe criticism this week owing to the predominantly white male make-up of the names on the list. One commentator went so far as calling the list a “sausagefest”. Less than 10% of the list were female and over 90% of the names were white.

These are pretty appalling statistics for an industry that promotes a spectrum of music with black and female performers very often achieving a disproportionate level of success. The diversity issue in general is being hotly debated already by greater minds than mine, but what puzzles me most of all is why we continue to bother with these “power” lists at all? They seem totally anachronistic and out of touch with the modern world in which we operate.

A list of people doing cool stuff seems OK to me. We all want to know the people who are making things happen and breaking through. Perhaps we seek inspiration and ideas to inform our own perspective. That’s fine.

It is the word “power” that is troubling and distorts the make-up of these lists into a tick-box quasi-corporate exercise. It is a word deeply rooted in the culture of show business, a business historically driven by Svengalis and gatekeepers who sought to control talent, media and the market, whether it was movies or music or any other branch of the entertainment industry.

Power lists do not seem to exist to the same degree in other industries. I Googled “Silicon Valley Power 100” and got a renewable energy company in Santa Clara. Wired have a top 100, but prefer to call theirs “influencers”.

I have witnessed a number of these Power 100 people in action and can appreciate what they can achieve in a specific set of circumstances at a specific time. Another way of saying it is these people “make things happen” and you do not necessarily need “power” to make things happen and certainly not in the modern world.

Conversely, no amount of collective “power” from all the Power 100 lists over the past twenty years was able to stop an eighteen year old kid from writing a computer programme that would upend the entire music business. Shawn Fanning did not have any power, but a whole bunch of people downloaded that programme and others like it and the music business changed forever. The whole thing was consumer driven.

What I would love to see and what no music business power list has ever done is this: “Number 1) The Consumer” and then 99 blank spaces, because that is the reality facing the modern music business. This is what should focus our minds.

The music industry is moving in the right direction, but we are still weighed down by this notion of power. UMG may have more power than Beggars Banquet to negotiate terms with a streaming service, but neither company has the power to persuade consumers to adopt such a service. Far more people still use YouTube than any subscription based service whether the industry likes it or not and as Martin Mills pointed out earlier this week, the whole industry has to come together in a fair and transparent manner if there is any hope of addressing the safe harbour/ value gap issue.

Against this backdrop, power lists just seem hopelessly dated. Which is no reflection on the individuals whose names appear on these lists, they are all interesting and engaging people when you have the opportunity to meet them.

Spend time with Marc Geiger and he doesn’t tell you how powerful he is, although he is a powerful personality. He’ll bang on about how great his team are. The WME team are truly awesome and not just the music department, the brands team are incredible. They all weave together brilliantly and there are no weak links. Best of all are the WME assistants: they are the best foot soldiers in the entire entertainment industry bar none – well that is one show business tradition that is still relevant in today’s world, the WME Assistant. Geiger leads and inspires but he cannot do it all himself and neither does anyone else on that list, or elsewhere.

I have yet to meet a music business executive who can do it all, although some are perceived with a Wizard of Oz type mystique. A red carpet schmoozer may be hopeless with contracts and finances. Personally, I’m the other way around. I’m uncomfortable with the red carpet stuff, but if you owe my artist client money I will hunt you down until you pay. At least there were some teams on the Billboard list, acknowledging genuine collaboration.

Ultimately, no one is the Wizard of Oz. We are all people behind a curtain. Finding, developing, nurturing, collaborating, connecting, engaging, expanding and hopefully at the end of all that there is an outcome that people will remember.

Scooter Braun, also on the list, puts this beautifully, albeit in a slightly different context. His most impressive interview of late centred around some advice he received from David Geffen who insisted he read the poem Ithaka, “which is about the journey. It’s always about the journey. And he said something to me I’ll never forget. He said: ‘Hundred years from now, no one’s gonna remember me, and sure as hell no one’s gonna remember you.’ And I realized, he’s right. No one’s gonna remember me. But they’ll feel my impact, and that’s good enough for me.”

@andyedwardsbiz