Ali Moorhouse

30 August 2023

FIRSTLY, COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT CARRINGTON WEALTH MANAGEMENT, WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU WORK WITH MUSIC MANAGERS AND ARTISTS?

We are an award-winning wealth management company looking after private clients and families. We give clients a clear road map for their future, working with them to understand their financial and personal goals, and putting in place the structure and means to achieve those goals.

I am financial adviser at Carrington and have been part of the team since 2015. I have been advising for the last five years and pride myself in creating long-lasting relationships with my clients, who include music managers and artists. I help people make smart financial decisions that are going to help their financial position over the long term, which can be especially important with front loaded earnings. I believe the music industry is underrepresented and often under supported. I would like to change that.

 

PLEASE SHARE A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND SPECIFICALLY, HOW DID YOU GET INTO YOUR ROLE AND THE WORK YOU DO WITH MANAGERS AND ARTISTS?

Not a very exciting story but I always knew this was an industry I wanted to be in, and I started my career with a financial services degree in Glasgow. I joined Carrington Wealth Management straight after university and have been working here ever since. Music has always been a passion of mine and I especially love going to live gigs. I am fortunate to have a few personal connections in the industry, who have introduced me to other managers, artists and songwriters and it kind of snowballed from there. It’s through being exposed to different people in the industry that I came to realise that very few people were speaking to or working with a financial adviser. The nature of the industry is very competitive, and income can be irregular, so sometimes it’s a bumpy ride. In these circumstances, planning to ensure that money is managed properly and that it lasts for as long as it can, is invaluable. I realised I can make a difference and can really help people in this type of position.

 

AS FINANCIAL MANAGERS WORKING IN THE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR SERVICES AND THE IMPORTANCE YOU PLAY IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

Our services include financial planning and wealth management. We look at the whole picture and help people plan for their futures. Each person’s situation is unique, so we look at the different income sources that music managers and artists might have. This could be from publishing deals, song writing, streaming income etc. We then look at outgoings and planned expenditure, based on their goals and aspirations, and we map out how long that income is going to support the person’s lifestyle. We look to the future and plan way down the road. We work alongside lawyers and accountants as part of the music managers and artists’ trusted team, as an overall support system that’s going to provide all of the expert knowledge that they need to guide them through their career.

 

WHAT HAS CARRINGTON WEALTH MANAGEMENT BEEN WORKING ON RECENTLY?

We have been developing a service for business owners – creating a roadmap to support them through the growth, and then ultimately the sale of their businesses. We have a team of experts we work with (but we’re more than happy to work with an existing team) to ensure that the businesses are set up in the most tax efficient way and that it has the right level of protection in place to ensure there are no nasty surprises. We also work with the business owners/ partners on a personal level to ensure their personal tax planning, family protection and estate planning is in order. It’s a service that will benefit the business owners in the music industry.

We have also been establishing and strengthening our network of professional connections through workshops and social events at our offices. I’ve also been getting out there and meeting people, I’ve been attending the Music Manager Forum events that have been running this year, which have been excellent. Having joined MMF recently, I am trying to meet as many of the members as possible so that I can become more of a presence in the industry.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REST OF 2023?

As a company we never sit still. So, we’re always reviewing our business proposition and the service we offer our clients to find ways to improve the experience and add value to our clients.

We also try to help our community and each year we select a charity of the year which is close to our hearts. So, we are busy planning charitable events and fundraising for the next 12 months. This usually involves some sort of mad physical event!

And as I mentioned above, I am planning to meet more people in the industry and I have a number of MMF events in the diary – the summer party next week, and the meet the manager events, that I’m definitely keen to go along to.

 

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR AN ARTIST OR MANAGER TO START WORKING WITH A FIRM SUCH AS CWM?

Straight away! Even if you feel it isn’t the right time to take a financial adviser on board, it’s always a good time to have a chat. I have found that often managers and artists will have an accountant or a lawyer, however, the one aspect that is overlooked is their long-term financial plan and having a trusted financial adviser as part of the team can really be invaluable. It’s been my experience that people don’t priorities their own finances, and historically it’s an industry that has been taken advantage of, so it’s important to have the right people in your corner, helping you make important decisions and guiding you.

 

WHAT NEW MUSIC RELEASES ARE YOU CURRENTLY ENJOYING?

I’m listening to a lot of Fred Again, his set at Glastonbury looked amazing. Also really enjoying the new Post Malone Album.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST GIG YOU WENT TO?

I saw the Lumineers at Crystal Palace Park and I was very pleasantly surprised; it was excellent. He (Wesley Schultz) was brilliant, not even the rain dampened the show!

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO MANAGERS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT CWM?

Give me a call. Drop me a text. Send me an e-mail. I’m more than happy to have a chat with anybody in the industry who wants to know more or who just needs a bit of help or guidance. Alexander@carringtonwm.co.uk or 020 7078 4849 or 07746348677.

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Lisa Morris

13 April 2023

This week we’re joined for our Meet Our Associates’ conversation by Lisa Morris, Founder and partner at  Hardwick and Morris.

Hardwick & Morris is a vibrant firm of chartered accountants and business managers specialising in music and entertainment.

Firstly, could you please tell us a bit about Hardwick & Morris, what you do and how you work with music managers and artists?

The firm was set up by me and Stephanie Hardwick in 2003 when we left a more “traditional” firm of accountants as we wanted to work with clients from the music industry where we had the time to develop strong personal relationships with our clients.

We have worked with music managers and artists since the firm began and we see ourselves as business partners working with them to ensure all their financial administration is being dealt with.

As well as the services you would normally expect of accountants, we also set up and manage bank accounts, credit control, organising insurance (e.g. house, car, equipment, studio) etc.

 

Please share a bit more about your background specifically, how did you get into your role and the work you do with managers and artists?

I trained as a Chartered Accountant at a Top 100 firm and began working with Steph on a portfolio of music clients. Having always been interested in music, I quickly realised that I wanted to specialise in the industry and work with some of the most creative and stimulating people I had ever met.

We decided to set up on our own and the firm grew quickly as we started acting for managers and dealing with the artists that they managed – established artists as well as new up and coming acts.

 

As chartered accountants and business managers specialising in music and entertainment, tell us a bit more about your services and the importance you play in the music industry?

We help our clients by bringing structure and process to them – the industry continues to evolve and respond to an increasingly complex digital and financially regulated world.

As a result, there are a huge number of issues for clients to consider such as licensing, tour accounting, digital releases, royalty management and copyright administration. We have an in depth understanding of these areas and can guide them through these aspects.

We also work closely with a network of other experts in the industry, such as those providing royalties’ services, copyright administration/neighboring rights/global digital releases and catalogue and copyright valuers as well specialist lawyers and a worldwide network of tax specialists.

 

What has Hardwick & Morris been working on recently?

In 2023 we have seen the firm continue to expand – we have a team of over 30 music specialists – as our clients are doing more and more especially worldwide tours.

In respect of tours, we can help with the tour budgeting as well as on the road support culminating in final tour accounts. We also work closely with tour managers ensuring the financial side of things runs as smoothly as possible.

 

What are your plans for the rest of 2023?

January was a very busy time for the firm due to the personal tax filing deadline – it is important for us though that our clients should not be surprised by what needs to be paid to HMRC in January as we have already worked with the client in ensuring adequate cash has been put aside to pay future tax liabilities.

The rest of the year is also looking busy as our artists continue to tour and we are already planning to take on more team members to deal with our expected growth from both existing clients as well as new clients that we continue to take on.

 

When is the right time for an artist or manager to start working with a firm such as Hardwick & Morris?

Frankly from the start – it is important to get things properly structured from the outset. Come and talk to me or one of my partners and tell us what you are doing now, what your plans are and your ultimate aspirations. No situation is the same and we will look at your specific circumstances and those of the artists and provide a bespoke plan about how we will work together which will evolve as the circumstances change.

 

What new music releases are you currently enjoying?

As well as keeping up to date with the music our clients release, my teenage kids ensure that I stay up to date, particularly when they take control of the music playing in the car!

 

What was the last gig you went to?

Due to other commitments, I don’t go to as many gigs as I would like to now but the last one was with my daughter to see Ed Sheeran at Wembley – it turned into an office party as most of our team was also there!

 

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about Hardwick & Morris?

In general, don’t leave it too late until you take advice from an accountant – come and talk to us – the first chat costs nothing and I always enjoy meeting new people in the industry!

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Andy Allen

15 March 2023

This week we’re joined for our Meet Our Associates’ conversation by Andy Allen, CEO at BSI Merch.

Firstly, could you please tell us a bit about BSI Merch, what you do and how you work with music managers and artists?

We at BSI are a music merch company that offers a suite of 360* services to our clients, with in-house teams to take care of every step in the merchandise journey. We see ourselves as partners when it comes to design, production, manufacturing; before moving forward to using our expertise to run e-commerce & touring.

 

Please share a bit more about your background specifically, how did you get into your role and the work you do with managers and artists?

I was a manager myself for many years; working with Reef (Sony Records) and Swervedriver (Creation and A & M Records), before sitting on the committee of the MMF for ten years so the MMF is something that means a lot to me. As a club promoter, amongst other ventures, most notably, I started the UK’s first every Indie Club (Syndrome) as well as Club Silver (The Underworld) which operated an alternative music policy.

I think this has put me into a position of having a good understanding of what the manager and the artists needs are.

 

As an organisation with decades of experience in the music merch business, tell us a bit more about your services and the importance you play in the music industry?

We pride ourselves on being creative in our approach to all aspects of the world of merchandise. Artists today are so much more than just t-shirts and we very much take innovative approaches to product ranges.

As a company, one of our core ethos’ is to be very conscious in our commitment to reducing carbon emissions alongside being environmentally conscious across all of our business areas.

By offering all of our services in house, we can go on journeys with our clients & ensure we inform and collaborate as standard.

 

What has BSI Merch been working on recently?

We opened a facility in the EU in 2021 which has led to a serious increase in the number of artists we are privileged to work with. Such as the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Placebo, Amyl & The Sniffers, Sea Girls, Palace, 2HR SET, The Damned, Lime Cordiale, Teskey Brothers, Meekz Manny, Central Cee, Bad Nurse, Belladrum Festival, Gerry Cinnamon, Billy NoMates, Clinton Kane, Dizzee Rascal, Duckwrth, Duncan Laurence, Craig David, Eaves Wilder, Fizzy Blood, English Teacher, Flamingods, MNRK Heavy, Jessie Ware, Swim Deep, French The Kid, Table Manners, Laundromat, Rolo Tomassi, Peach Pt, Temples, Ashe, Natalie Imbruglia, Faithless, Neil Gaiman, Football Manager, Piri & Tommy, Andrea Bocelli and many more.

 

What are your plans for the rest of 2023?

Expand further into the EU and develop our E-commerce marketing services

 

When is the right time for an artist or manager to start working with a BSI Merch?

Good question. The right time to talk to a merch company beyond having their merch supplied to them would be when handling it internally interferes with their core business of music.

 

What new music releases are you currently enjoying?

Black Honey, Young Fathers, Boygenius and Slowthai

 

What was the last gig you went to?

Whitney at The Columbia Theatre in Berlin last week.

 

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about BSI Merch?

We’d love to chat to find out more about what you need, so please call anytime. We’re here for any advice. –MMF@bsimerch.com

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Rick Inglessis

01 December 2022

This week we’re joined for our Meet Our Associates’ conversation by Rick Inglessis, Associate Director (Entertainment) at Howden.

Howden create and configure specialist insurance services by giving our people the infrastructure, technology and freedom to get the best results for clients.

 

Firstly, could you please tell us a bit about Howden, what you do and how you work with music managers and artists?

The Entertainment team provides all types of insurances for all aspects of the music industry, specialising in contingency insurances for Artists, Management and Promoters.

Please share a bit more about your background specifically, how did you get into your role and the work you do with managers and artists?

For 5 years I was part of a music management team dealing with the everyday challenges of trying to break a band into the industry. In this position, I had responsibility for the insurance aspect of the management company and took on the main role in negotiations with brokers, which I found really interesting, and challenging! This all set me up well for an opportunity that came my way in 2000, to work within a Broking firm to head up their music department. Now, with over 20 years’ experience specialising in music insurances, I have found the perfect home at Howden.

As a specialist insurance broker tell us a bit more about your services and the importance you play in the music industry?

Due to my experience with the managing company, I am all too aware of the incredible difficulties and risks that can be faced at any time, in the music business. Therefore, I believe I have a little more foresight when it comes to helping and supporting a client with their insurance programme.

What has Howden been working on recently?

The music industry moves continuously and is always evolving, therefore the insurance solutions we offer our clients have to reflect this. We are constantly working at improving the coverage we can offer our clients.

When is the right time for an artist or manager to start working with an insurance firm such as Howden?

Honestly, as soon as possible. We understand that insurance isn’t always a priority at the beginning as budgets are always tight, however, there’s always a necessity for some basic insurance cover that the artist(s)/management would need. We pride ourselves in discussing our clients’ insurance needs on a very personal level – to the point that if we believe your existing policy fits your needs, we would advise you stick with it. If we can help you, we absolutely will.

What new music releases are you currently enjoying?

I’m a traditional rocker! I love guitar music and particularly enjoy seeing ‘Alter Bridge’ live. I’m very much looking forward to their album release later this month.

What was the last gig you went to?

Mason Hill in Camden Town – really good!

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about Howden?

If you need any advice, just give us a call and let’s see if we can help!

 

Email: Rick.Inglessis@howdengroup.com

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Meet Our Associates #18 – Luke Henning, Thomas St John

12 October 2022

This week we’re joined for our Meet Our Associates’ conversation by Luke Henning, Business Manager at Thomas St John.

Thomas St John is the leading international accounting firm for artists, entertainers and sportspeople. Solving complex problems, managing money with absolute integrity, and giving their clients real clarity and control.

Firstly, could you please tell us a bit about Thomas St John, what you do and how you work with music managers and artists?

TSJ is has been offering business management services for just over 15 years, specialising in the music sector and broader entertainment industry.  We provide all the standard tax and accountancy services such as bookkeeping, preparation of financial statement and tax returns.  On top of this, we offer full business management services supporting our clients to manage all their commercial affairs. We work with managers and artists from those early on in their careers to global acts, so there isn’t much our teams haven’t dealt with before.

From day 1 TSJ has aimed to differentiate through our ability to work internationally and our depth of specialist expertise. We have built an exceptional team, this allows us to address the more complex challenges we see in accounting, taxation, deal advisory and royalties. We are ideally placed to support managers and their rosters through international transition, complexity, and mobility

In addition to London, we have offices in the US, Netherlands, and Sweden, and our teams are always working together internationally for our clients on matters ranging from concierge services such as visa assistance and property management through to estate and tax planning.

 

As business managers who work internationally with a leading team of accountants, lawyers and tax professionals, tell us a bit more about your services and the importance you play in the music industry?

As a Business Manager, I specialise in progressing careers and developing companies through working closely with artists, their management, and a wider network of lawyers, financial advisors, and other stakeholders.

With touring making a huge comeback over the past twelve months, it has been great to get back to work closely with managers and artists ahead of tours, providing support in areas such as budgets and cash management, withholding tax mitigation, assessing the need for foreign returns and ensuring artists don’t fall foul of residency rules. We want to take all the friction out of the tour so the artists, managers and other creatives can focus on delivering the best experience to their audiences.

Business management covers such a variety of services, we can just cover the basics of accountancy, or we can get involved in artists’ day-to-day needs such as arranging their credit cards, personal insurances, mortgages, or even showing how they can make their new car tax efficient.  It’s our aim to remove obstacles for clients and offer advice in our areas of expertise.

 

What has Thomas St John been working on recently?

Royalties is back in pole position as the largest revenue stream in the music industry so we’ve been focusing on growing our royalties team, while ensuring it remains best in class.  We’re not complacent and connections between royalties and tech, changes in legislation and new ways to exploit music means there’s a constantly evolving need to evolve the services we provide.  Over the last 36 months we’ve put a lot of time and energy into developing the services we provide in relation to understanding, managing and maximising the value of the intellectual property created by our clients.

An example of this is our recent partnership with the data science and engineering team at a world-renowned university where we’ve been developing ways to leverage the swathes of data coming from royalties for the benefit of our clients and to bring transparency to a data dense but data rich environment.

As NFTs, Web 3.0 and decentralized finance start to gain traction in the industry, we have set up an internal digital asset group to develop strategies in and around these exciting areas of opportunity. We need to ensure that we have the right expertise to support our clients through their digital journey. We want to ensure we can identify valuable opportunities and connections and that, both internally and through partnerships, we’re able to bring the skills together to succeed.

Outside of intellectual property, after seeing an increase in demand over the course of the pandemic for property management assistance we have developed services ranging from simple assistance with mortgage applications through to sourcing more complex financing, portfolio management and disposal management. We assist directly on projects ranging from smaller personal residences through to international purchases and billion-dollar developments.  Our network and connections mean that we’re yet to come across a property challenge or opportunity that we couldn’t solve or seize.

 

What are your plans for the rest of 2022?

Continued growth has dictated that I expand my team, so I’m currently working to get our ambitious new team members settled in. There are so many talented young accountants out there and it’s a privilege to help develop the next generation of business managers.

As a team it’s super important to reflect right now on the conversations with clients at the beginning of the year about goals and requirements and to ensure that we’ve supported our clients in meeting them.

Of course, we must do the accounts and the tax but there’s so much more to the relationship.

We’ve also now got plenty of artists travelling around the world to perform in front of sell-out crowds and outside of everything else, that’s sure to keep us busy enough!

 

When is the right time for an artist or manager to start working with a business management firm such as Thomas St John?

We have artists and management companies at every stage of their development.  From new up-and-coming acts to established, world-renowned acts so there’s never a wrong time.

Business management is a wider service than just helping musicians file their accounts on time, we work with them on all aspects of their life, running day-to-day operations as simple as bank payments and looking after their funds, to company structures and tax planning.

The full service is not for everyone straight away, some people prefer to keep everything as simple as possible at first which is almost always the best course of action.  We tailor our services and involvement to client’s needs at the beginning of their career and throughout.

International tax is a major area for artists that needs to be dealt with carefully by specialists.  Artists want to perform around the world and ensuring that taxes are mitigated is a key part of our services.

A number of our artists have made international moves during their time with us, and having offices in the US, Netherlands, and Sweden, together with a wider international network of trusted advisors, allows TSJ to continue our relationship with these clients when they leave or come to the UK, and vital tax planning can take place well in advance of any move.

 

What new music releases are you currently enjoying?

While not a new release, Sam Fender’s Seventeen Going Under has been one of the best albums of the last year.  I’ve been listening to Tom Misch on repeat, George Ezra’s new album is a good listen, and I recently started listening to Vistas.

 

What was the last gig you went to?

Amaarae at Koko a few months ago and Sam Fender at Ally Pally.  Very different gigs but it was so good being back in the live scene.

 

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about Thomas St John?

I’m always happy to talk to managers and artists so please get in contact.  If you’re just starting out or have years of experience, I’d love to talk to you.

Email: LukeHenning@thomasstjohn.com

Phone: +44(0)203 388 0288

 

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Meet Our Associates #17 – Matthew Tilley, beatBread

02 February 2022

This week we’re joined for our Meet Our Associates conversation by Matthew Tilley, Head of Artist and Industry Development at beatBread. 

beatBread offers a new way for independent/unsigned artists to fund their career development, while retaining ownership of their masters. They provide advances on streaming income for both catalog and unreleased music and give artists complete choice of their distribution, marketing and promotion partners.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at beatBread and how you work with artists?  

My name in Matthew Tilley and I’m Head of Artist and Industry Development at beatBread. I’m a Brit who’s been in both marketing and commercial roles in the music business for 25 years, and I’ve lived in New York for 20 years.  I oversee two main areas at beatBread that are equally important to growing our business. First I work with artists to help them get the funding they need to build their careers, and second, I work to grow the rapidly expanding array of distributor and artist service partners who use the ‘white label’ version of our financial advance service.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

I can’t stop playing the new Sam Fender album.  My family laughs at me for still listening to BBC Radio 1  on the internet twenty years after I left the UK, but I find it a great way to be “force fed” new music.  I’m excited about Pink Pantheress and all the amazing British hip-hop that I keep hearing.  

What was the last gig you went to?  

Gig-going has been a little light recently for obvious reasons but I was lucky enough to see the force of nature that is H.E.R. at a small show for listeners of satellite radio’s Sirius XM, as well as an Eric Prydz show (always mind blowing).  Oh and I should confess to going to see LANY (US emo-pop band) more than once on their last tour.  I’m mildly obsessed! Coming up next is Kacey Musgraves at Madison Square Garden – she is truly an amazing artist.

What have beatBread been working on recently and how has it been establishing your presence during the pandemic?

If 2020 was about beatBread dipping its toe in the water – building our algorithm, talking directly to some artists and managers and doing a few deals very manually – then 2021 was getting in up to our knees.   We built out our team and operational processes, launched and enhanced our self-service experience and did a little bit of marketing.  We ended up making over 200 advances to a wide range of artists, which we were very happy with.  On the partnership side, we launched our first eight white label partners and entered into many more negotiations, the fruits of which we’ll be announcing shortly.

Any big plans for 2022?  

Very much so.   The main goal is to scale the business in a really significant way.  We have a very large capital fund for artist advances this year, and we are now going to significantly increase our marketing in order to deploy it. We’ll also be launching a major new product feature that will put even more power (and more capital, if they want it) in the hands of artists everywhere.

What kind of artists do you think beatBread makes the most sense for?

That’s really for them to decide. One of the many exciting things about beatBread is that we don’t play in any one genre or geography lane, and we are interested in making deals that range from $1,000 to $1,000,000. What unites the artists that work with beatBread is a recognition that additional capital would be useful to them as they look to develop their careers, and a desire to maintain full control of their destiny – pick their own marketing team, keep their masters, maintain creative control and so on. If some “working capital” would help grow your career then we aim to be the easiest, fairest, most flexible option out there.  At the same time, as we often say, if an artist doesn’t have a great use for the cash at the moment, there’s no reason to pursue an advance right now. When that changes, we will be there for them.  

What do you think the next few years will look like for the music industry as we recover from the pandemic?

Growth, growth and growth – with, we believe, more and more choice for artists and greater power in their hands. There has never been a more exciting time to be a creative and I think the number of people who can make a decent living from their musical talent – middle-class musicians, if you like, is increasing exponentially, and that’s why beatBread exists.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about beatBread?

Please visit beatBread.com It will take you 30 seconds or less to give us the information which we need to give you some funding estimates. The whole process (up to getting funds in your artist’s account) usually takes about a week. We’re big believers in honesty and transparency, and if you have questions or would like a demo, I’m here to help (matthew@beatBread.com). 

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Meet Our Associates – #16 – Daniel Fethers YMU Business Management

28 January 2022

This week we catch up with Daniel Fethers, a manager at YMU Business Management. YM&U Business Management is an accountancy and business management company supporting creatives from the world of music and beyond in their journeys through writing, releasing and touring.

Firstly, please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at YMU Business Management and how you work with artists and management companies? Can you tell us a little bit about the services you offer, from taxation, to accounting, royalty and residual audits and royalty management?

I joined YMU Business Management (formerly OJK) over ten years ago. The business has been in the music and entertainment industries for over 30 years. As a director, I am working with clients in the Music, Sports, Broadcast, Literary and Social Media industries. We provide business management and accounting services to many artists, broadcasters, influencers, management/production companies, record labels and publishing companies. For emerging artists and managers, I encourage collaboration as much as possible. This helps clients understand and appreciate the work involved in taking care of their financial affairs. If they later ask us to take care of everything, we can accommodate that. For a lot of our clients, we become part of their internal day to day team, liaising with managers, tour personnel, lawyers, bankers and family members. We are then able to efficiently advise on all matters financial.

We have a wealth of experience in catalogue valuations, royalty audits, examinations and third-party accounting, including producers and contributors. Our royalty department have significant experience performing catalogue valuations, producer, contributor and other third-party accounting along with providing a full music industry registration service, registering recordings, writers and songs with PPL, PRS, MCPS and all overseas collecting societies. With our royalty audit service, we ensure that you have been correctly compensated for your rights by cross checking royalty statements to contracts to ensure no omissions have been made. As a result of our work, we regularly secure six figure payouts for our clients.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

I’ve been listening to Fred Again – Actual Life 2.

It was released a while ago but Shy FX’s Raggamuffin Soundtape is always on heavy rotation.
It’s also hard to escape Sam Fender’s latest album, Seventeen Going Under. I’m looking forward to hearing that live, in 2022!

What was the last gig you went to?

I was lucky enough to see The Rolling Stones in Las Vegas, back in November. There’s nothing quite like 45,000 fans in a stadium singing every word, especially after such a crazy couple of years.

What have YMU Business Management been working on recently and how has the last 24 months been for you?

The last twenty four months have been an interesting period, as to be expected with the rescheduling, cancellations and adapting to the new ways of performing live music as well as getting ready for the return to ‘normal’. We’ve had to rapidly move with the times, updating our software and our practices to suit the online world, working from home, and to match all the changes happening in the industry. Alternative revenue streams have been a big consideration for artists. It’s been interesting to witness the progress in the streamed/interactive gig space. Not quite the same as a live gig but, for some, it was a new and exciting way to play live and engage with their audience. Another interesting and fast-moving sector is NFTs. Many have jumped on the band wagon but it’s been great to see music artists creating innovative NFT collections.

For some of our established acts, the pandemic has given them time to consider their options. Many have taken the decision to sell their publishing rights. This has been and continues to be a growing market. We work with our clients on the decision-making process, provide appropriate financial and tax planning advice, catalog valuations and in most cases we are instructed to negotiate with interested third parties.

It’s been great supporting our clients back into studios and venues and seeing the comeback from 2019, particularly those artists that have just entered the industry. It’s not quite a bounce back yet, but I’m very optimistic for 2022!

Any big plans for 2022?

I’m hopeful for 2022 and have seen a lot of our clients gearing up for live performances which is exciting to see. We’re looking forward to live performances too and not just for work!

We plan to reinforce our support for new emerging clients. This is something we’re really excited about as it will allow us to work with clients earlier in their career. Usually at a time where they need expert advice but cannot necessarily afford it. I’m looking forward to seeing where they’ll take their music and what projects they’re going to be pursuing next.

When is the “right time” for an artist or manager to start working with a business management firm such as YMU?

There is no real “right time”. For artists, we usually start work when they’ve signed their first record contract, sometimes before that, depending on how fast they’re growing. Typically, a recording or publishing contract will require the appointment of a suitably qualified accountant. This provides comfort to the parties involved that funds are distributed correctly and any obligations placed on the artist are fulfilled in good time.

We always look to work closely with our clients and provide ongoing advice and be proactive rather than work on an annual basis like many traditional accountancy firms. Whilst we do have standardised ways of working, everything we do can be tailored to the client.

What do you think the next few years will look like for the music industry as we recover from the pandemic?

I feel extremely optimistic about 2022 and beyond. I think 2022 will be a huge return to live music, with every venue booked with a great mix of new and established acts. The public demand is definitely there, across all age groups. Brexit has caused its own set of problems but nothing that isn’t solvable. The last two years has caused a significant backlog of postponed tours, which are now ready to play. Not to mention the crop of new artists looking to promote their first album or EP.

This is not specific to the pandemic but I would also like to see further progress made in the battle for transparency around streaming revenue. There are several great organisations driving this conversation and I look forward to seeing a fairer deal for creators.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about YMU Business Management?

Feel free to drop me an email or give me a call. I’d be more than happy to discuss any ideas, whether these are coming from an artist or an artist manager. We are here to help!

Daniel Fethers

Daniel.fethers@ymugroup.com

020 3205 0100

Thank you Daniel!

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MEET OUR ASSOCIATES – #15 – ELLA LUBY, MSE

28 September 2021

This week we catch up with Ella Luby, a manager at MSE business management. MSE Business Management LLP is a professional Business Management and Accountancy firm regulated by the ACCA with offices in London and New York providing expert advice to clients in the creative industries including musicians, sportspeople and entertainers.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at MSE and how you work with music managers and their clients?

My foray into entertainment accounting started 11 years ago and I have worked at 3 established accounting firms, before finding my home at MSE.

MSE was founded 5 years ago, with the intention to break away from the traditional accountancy model. This allows us to be more adaptable with changes in technology, and more flexible in our fees, whilst still providing a high standard of service.

Most of our clients are in music, sports and entertainment (MSE): musicians, producers, managers, agents, record labels, record stores, publishers, synch agents, production management, theatre productions, sports personalities, actors; and vary through to property management, travel and visa services and even online perfume retailers.

Our ethos is to support all those involved in the entertainment industry at all stages in their journey: from grassroots artists and managers at the start of their career, through to stadium-filling artists, well-known record labels and publishers, and acclaimed managers. Our portfolio comprises UK and international clients.

We fulfil all the traditional accountancy compliance services (bookkeeping, accounts, tax returns, VAT and PAYE), as well as being proactive in day-to-day business management, tour running, withholding tax planning, royalty reporting, label services, cash flow management, and tax planning.

MSE also offer US and international tax services for our clients who perform or relocate to the USA, to ensure they remain compliant in all territories.

We tailor our services to each client, from annual accounts and tax returns, through to the full running of their businesses, depending on what each client needs from us.

My primary role is to oversee the business management team and to support them in their client needs, whether this be training, lending technical knowledge, and encouraging personal development within their roles and outside of work. We are still a small firm in terms of employees; some days you roll your sleeves up and get stuck in wherever needed to support the team. I also focus on business development, give talks to share our knowledge to artists and mangers, and assist with running the practice, continuing to ensure we are giving our clients what they need from us.

No day is the same – it can be fun, frustrating, fast-paced, humbling, educational, and rewarding.

I’ll never do anything else.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

Over the last couple of years (do they even count? Don’t mention the C word…), I’ve found myself enjoying and exploring the new British jazz scene – there are so many

young, incredible musicians; fresh, new sounds and artists collaborating within this community. The music is diverse, and to see any of these acts live, is an experience unlike any other.

Recommendations: Moses Boyd, Ezra Collective, The Comet Is Coming, Sons of Kemet, Nubya Garcia, Ishmael Ensemble.

I am always trying to find new music and find some gems at the industry showcases and venue events – TGE, SXSW, Independent Venue Week, BBC Introducing, SoundCity, Reeperbahn, etc. I enjoyed being able to join some of these virtually over the last year – being able to see all the acts on your list without having to dash between venues is refreshing, but it’s not the same experience as being in a small venue, experiencing live music.

Have you managed to make it to any gigs since they started opening up again?

The first live performance I went to was back in June 2021, and was actually a theatre show, one of our clients is an actor and had a role in a production at the National Theatre. To see everyone at the end give a standing ovation, and to hear a crowd applauding in the same space, was overwhelming. We definitely take it for granted how special live performances are.

Since then, I’ve made it to one festival, a show at the O2 and one of my favourite in-stores at Sixty Sixty Sounds on Denmark Street.

Live is still building its return, but it does look to be going full-throttle – my calendar over the next couple of months is crammed full of great gigs around the country, in old haunts, venues I am yet to have the pleasure of and brand-new spaces.

How was business for you when COVID hit in March 2020? Any significant challenges? How did you adapt your services?

The instant loss of touring for artists, crews, session musicians, managers, venues and the teams involved has been the most notable impact.

Given there was little planning time, no-one knew what to expect and nobody expected the colossal effect it has had – our firm and our clients have managed relatively well through the *insert C word here* pandemic.

A huge shout-out to our fantastic team, we couldn’t have made it through without each and every one of them – they have worked relentlessly throughout to ensure that our clients, and each other, are supported during these extraordinary times, and have continued to learn, grow and develop to come back stronger.

We had an evolving plan as events developed, as to how our office and staff would transition to working from home, and what our clients would need from us most at the start. Fortunately, we were able to pick up our laptops, a couple of bits of equipment, and setup from home without missing a beat.

Initially, we were helping our clients most in need of maintaining cashflow with the loss of touring. In the immediate short-term, this involved a firm-wide review of all individuals and companies who would be entitled to the various support schemes: council grants, SEISS/CJRS, and provided schedules of industry funding from the various societies and unions.

Mid-to-long term, this has been more focused on cashflow management. We reviewed current cash positions, projected how long this could last, and worked with businesses to find their “crunch-point”. This allowed owners and managers to have a timeframe to negotiate deals, and to be able to plan.

The length of the pandemic has been the hardest, the goalposts are constantly moving, and what we all thought would be 6-9 months, is now well into the second year.

We are starting to see tours happening, money moving, and increasingly solid, future plans being made. We hope the momentum continues.

At what stage would you say it makes sense for an artist to bring on an accountant/business manager?

We generally advise an artist to bring on a business manager/accountant just before they sign their first deal. The amounts can be significant; it is important to have the business structure correct, the tax-planning in place to ensure you retain as much cash as you should be whilst paying the right amount of tax, and the cash planning to allow artists to stretch the funds for as long as they can be, whilst working with management to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Major recording label contracts contain an obligation to appoint an accountant to report back to the label where there are 360 deals in place, and we assist with reviewing budgets and delivering back-end reporting to ensure artists draw down as much tour support as they are entitled to.

This also allows management to ensure commissions are correct and paid out on time.

We are always happy to provide free of charge, ad-hoc advice, even before this point, to ensure that everyone is heading in the right direction when the deals come around.

What do you think the next few years will look like for the music industry as we recover from the pandemic?

We have seen changes during the pandemic. Management and artists have had to be more creative and diverse in their sources of income, some of which may not have been obvious pre-pandemic. There have been some especially innovative release campaigns, which push for a more personal connection between artists and their fans. People have become more connected globally, performing virtual shows internationally without having to leave home and finding partnerships with brands around the world.

We anticipate an exciting and fast-building return to touring. The continually changing travel restrictions will see many acts focus on home territories initially, and internationally as restrictions allow. It’s a great time for the home fans.

We are not out of the woods yet though, and there are additional complications with Brexit with regards to European shows. There are specific restrictions with logistics and visas. We are hoping agreements can be negotiated to allow musicians and their teams to be able to undertake tours without burdensome restrictions before too long. Solid planning, foresight and adaptability are going to be key to decision making and unlocking the live side to its former levels.

Where there is a will, there will be a way. Music will always find a way.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are interested in finding out more about MSE?

Absolutely – feel free to reach out to myself or any of the MSE team, whether it’s to explore how we can help, or even just to bounce ideas around.

E: ella@mse.london

T: 0208 362 2299

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Meet Our Associates #8 Steven Howell, Music Insurance Brokers

15 December 2020

Music Insurance Brokers are an experienced music and entertainment insurance broker, providing advice, service and polices for all parts of the music sector.

The team are passionate about music, love seeing and hearing new talent and try to make the subject of insurance a little bit interesting and easier to understand. This week we have a catch up with Insurance Partner Steven Howell!

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Music Insurance Brokers and how you work with music managers.

I head up the music division at MIB.  We are a specialist insurance broker for people that work in the music industry.   We provide insurance policies to protect managers and the artists they work with.  From equipment and liability to travel and cancellation we have polices to protect everyone.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

I am currently loving the new Dub Pistols Album – Addict.  Plenty of Jungle and DnB tunes!

How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?  Any significant challenges?  How are you are adapting your services?

We usual insure a lot of tours and festivals so we spent most of the first lockdown cancelling policies and giving back premium to clients which was tough but the right thing to do.  Many artists have been looking at other ways to monetise their music and we have seen a rise in enquiries for song writer indemnity cover (breach of copyright)  which can be a contractual requirement when selling music for sync.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report Managing Expectations, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Music Insurance Brokers?

Historically the subject of insurance was traditionally left to the business manager or accountant.  However recently some day to day artist  managers are getting involved in arranging insurance too.

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?

Matt Greer (Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes) – a pleasure to deal and doing brilliant work with the band.

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?

The audience will cherish and value the live experience even more than before – live music in 2021 and beyond will be booming.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Music Insurance Brokers or finding out more about what you do?

Whatever you do in the music industry then talk to us – we can help 😀

Thank you Steven and Music Insurance Brokers for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associates programme.

For more information please visit the Music Insurance Brokers website or contact Steven Howell at steven.howell@musicinsurance.net

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Meet Our Associates #6 Tina Sunderland, SRLV

01 December 2020

This week we get to know Tina Sunderland, Director – Music & Entertainment Team at SRLV.

SRLV is one of the leading specialist accounting firms in the industry representing clients including performing artists, record companies, music publishers, production companies, actors, film stars, TV personalities and many more.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at SRLV and how you work with music managers.

I joined SRLV just over 7 years ago, a London based accountancy firm which has been specialising in the music and entertainment industry for over 30 years. As a director in the music and entertainment team, I work with clients such as musicians, songwriters, managers and record labels, which has given me a good understanding of all aspects of the music industry itself. We work with our clients to help them achieve their financial goals by essentially acting as their internal finance function and trusted financial adviser. We provide accounting, vat and day to day business management services whilst also providing general business structuring and tax advice where needed. I tend to have a hands on approach, working closely with managers as well as specialist lawyers and bankers advising on contracts, tax planning, budgeting and cash flow planning. As a result, I always find that I am involved in all aspects of my client’s financial affairs.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

My ‘go to’ artists during lockdown, who have all had new releases over the last few months, have been Mahalia, H.E.R., and Jorja Smith. Jorja’s performance of ‘By Any Means’ on BBC’s live lounge a couple of months ago was amazing and Mahalia has just been nominated for three MOBO awards, as well as a Grammy, which is very much deserved!

How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?  Any significant challenges?  How are you are adapting your services?

Some of our clients have been affected more than others and with so many new government measures that have come into play, we still seem to be really busy. We have been supporting our clients with advice and cash flow management to ensure they come out the other side of this as best as they can, or simply carrying on with the day to day accounting and tax function of our clients businesses, where the reporting requirements and filing deadlines unfortunately haven’t gone away (albeit they have eased slightly).

There has of course been a slowing down in tour related work which we are usually heavily involved in i.e. tax planning, budgeting and tour reporting. We are hopeful touring will resume next year and we are looking forward to the day when we can get back to some sort of normality within the live industry. The ethos of SRLV is very much centred around people and we pride ourselves on having strong relationships with everyone we work with. One of the biggest challenges we have faced is not being able to have that personal/face to face interaction with colleagues and clients. Although we managed to have a fully functioning remote office with very little notice and without any real difficulty, admittedly, we have had to focus much more on reaching out to maintain communication with our clients and colleagues to ensure they feel looked after and our staff stay motivated. The likes of zoom and teams have made this much easier but I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to say ‘We can’t hear you, you are still on mute!!!’ and of course, when I can see everyone in person.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at SRLV?

Managers now having that 360 approach falls in line with how we work with them. We really enjoy being part of all aspects of the artists business and being a sounding board for managers. It is really important for artists to have that support system of key advisors and the manager is at the forefront of this. MMF are doing great things with their Accelerator programme which prepares and develops young managers for this role, educating managers in areas that they may not necessarily have much experience in. I feel privileged that I often get to speak on the Accelerator panels, sharing my knowledge on the finance side and SRLV are a huge advocate of the programme.

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?

We work with so many brilliant managers and I can honestly say I love working with them all. One manager who I have worked closely with for a long time is Jackie Davidson MBE, a manager the MMF knows very well. She is truly inspiring not only in what she does as a manager but also with what she has achieved. Jackie has been a massive support to young, up and coming artists and has always been passionate about driving change within the industry in regards to diversity and transparency. Having just been elected a PPL Performer Director (congratulations Jackie!), I am looking forward to seeing what she does next!

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?

The live music industry has come to a halt which is extremely sad but during this time, we have all had a chance to reset and perhaps unknowingly, this has given artists an opportunity to get even more creative without being pulled in different directions. Some of our clients have been working on livestream concerts which has been a great way to stay in touch with audiences but I can’t wait to hear the new music that will be released and performed after this is all over. Once we are through the other side of the pandemic, 2021 will be an exciting year for the music industry I am sure and our appreciation for music will be more prevalent than ever.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at SRLV or finding out more about what you do?

We are here to help! As mentioned above, managers do have increasing responsibilities and we can support them whether it be by looking after the artists from a financial perspective or even assisting the managers themselves with their accounting and tax affairs. It is extremely important to have the correct set up from the beginning otherwise it can prove costly and often messy to unravel. If a manager has any questions regarding business structuring, accounting, vat and tax compliance, or just needs some general business advice for them or their artist, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone or drop me an email.

Thank you, Tina and SRLV for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associate’s programme.

You can email Tina at – Tina@srlv.co.uk

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Meet Our Associates #5 Lara Baker, Songtrust

24 November 2020

This week we catch up with Lara Baker, Director of Business Development, UK & Ireland at Songtrust.

Songtrust is the world’s largest technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. It was founded to simplify music rights management and remove the complexity of the publishing landscape. Songtrust administers more than 2,000,000 songs and represents more than 300,000 songwriters, with a core mission to help songwriters, music creators, and rights holders.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Songtrust and how you work with music managers.

I handle business development in the UK & Ireland for Songtrust – for those who don’t know Songtrust is the world’s leading technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. The idea is to simplify music rights management and remove the complexity of the publishing landscape, so that any writer at any stage in their career can collect what they’re due. Songtrust’s core mission is to help musicians, publishers, labels, and managers easily track and collect global publishing royalties for their music catalogues.

Songtrust administers more than 2,000,000 songs and represents more than 300,000 songwriters. So whether managers are working with developing artists/writers who are currently just with their PRO, or with established artists/writers coming out of publishing deals, or with producers who have writing credits, or whether the management company themselves wants a publishing company set up – we can help! We are so pleased to be working with many MMF members already.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

I’m loving the new Bring Me The Horizon album which features my friends Nova Twins – they’re going from strength to strength and it’s great to see things exploding for them. They’re true girl power! Also the massive tune ‘Red Card’ from Frisco, who is a Songtrust client. And my song of the summer (although that’s long gone now isn’t it) was ‘BRB’ by Mahalia, which was co-written by Songtrust writer Nayla Nyassa (aka Sillkey).

How have things been for Songtrust since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?  Any significant challenges?  How are you are adapting your services?

It has been the strangest year, and I’m so grateful that Songtrust and the leadership team at Downtown has been really supportive of staff through all of this (my US colleagues have had the added stress of the election, as if COVID wasn’t enough). We have actually been busier than ever, and we are acutely aware that with many income streams that artists usually rely on (live, for example) being on hold for the foreseeable, educating artists/writers and their teams about collecting everything that they are due in the publishing space is vital. So much money is being left on the table, and now more than ever we need to make sure that this money reaches the writers. Having songs correctly and globally registered has never been more vital. We have always worked hard to educate creators, but this year we have increased the number of free webinars and educational resources we are providing, to help writers understand their rights and how to collect what they’re due.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Songtrust? 

Managers have to have a thorough understanding of every income stream available to their artist, and I know publishing administration can often feel like a minefield! Some managers I deal with have an indepth understanding of the publishing world and how publishing administrators like Songtrust add value, others are new to it and understandably ask for a certain amount of education and explanation. I’m really happy to provide resources like our Modern Guide to Music Publishing or jump on Zoom and present an overview of music publishing and how to manage your rights in this area. When it comes to global publishing administration, there are no stupid questions!

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?

As I worked for AIM for many years and then consulted for the MMF before Songtrust, I am fortunate to know many in the management world really well, and it’s a community I love working with! I’m pleased that so many MMF members are using Songtrust to handle publishing admin for their writers, and I couldn’t possibly single any out!!

In terms of brilliant work I am in awe of Charlie Pierce who manages UK Americana artist Yola. The breakthrough success she has had in the US (including 4 Grammy nominations!!) has been so inspiring to watch. Charlie and Yola have an incredible partnership and Charlie laid everything on the line to follow her belief in Yola. I love to see women lifting each other up.

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)? 

Well I miss live shows so much and for me livestreaming gigs really doesn’t compare with the real thing! BUT I do think that now we’re getting the hang of the technology and the payment models, livestreaming will be a useful additional income stream and option when gigs return. For example when gigs sell out, or for people in other countries who can’t attend shows in real life, it presents an opportunity.

I’ve also found that this year has given many managers who often don’t have the headspace for publishing admin the time needed to get rights management and registrations in order for their writers, and that will certainly serve them well in the longterm.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Songtrust or finding out more about what you do?

We are a very friendly team and as I said, there are no stupid questions when it comes to publishing, so please just get in touch!

Thank you, Lara and Songtrust for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associate’s programme.

You can email Lara at – lbaker@songtrust.com 

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“Meet Our Associates” #3 Martin Goebbels, Miller Insurance

11 November 2020

Today we speak to Martin Goebbels, Head of Music & Touring at Miller Insurance.

The music team at Miller Insurance value relationships with up-and-coming artists to global music icons equally – working with artists, managers, agents, promoters at all levels of the music industry to provide cover for all aspects of their business.

That demands an in-depth understanding of the specialist music insurance market, a client’s risk profile, their objectives and aspirations. The expert Miller music team – led by Martin Goebbels, and including Pamela Choat, Rose Burgess and Holly Leary – each with many years’ experience, are amongst the most knowledgeable and connected broking teams in the business.

 

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Miller and how you work with music managers.

I’ve specialised in insurance solely for the music industry for 40 years, and am part of the Music division at Miller, where our team’s music experience ranges from 15 to 30 years, which is crucial in offering clients the service and experience they need. My team and I joined Miller 2 years ago, as we liked the fact that Miller was a specialist insurance broker, providing a personal service and a collegiate approach to its clients.

On a daily basis, we deal with managers, tour managers, but also accountants who have become increasingly involved in handling insurance in recent years. A great advantage to couple with the years of experience is the personal relationships and trust we’ve built with our clients.

I’ve always attended music events – whether it be Great Escape, SXSW, Eurosonic, ILMC etc. or much smaller gatherings – to make sure we have true insight into the music business and the various issues facing our clients.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

Unsigned act Jodie Alicia who I saw pre-lockdown has a great track “My Mistake”,
Kawala – “Pure Desire”, Bad Sounds EP – “Escaping from a Violent Time”. Really enjoying Dermot Kennedy too.

How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit? Any significant challenges? How are you are adapting your services?

Adapting to working from home was seamless as Miller run a paperless system. Every member of staff already had a laptop and mobile, and management have been exemplary, so there was no gap in service, which has been amazing.

We have continued to take on new clients as things like equipment still need to be insured even if gear may be in storage in these times. We maintain contact with existing clients and keep in regular contact with all insurers so we are totally ready for when events open up again.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Miller?

I’ve always welcomed speaking to younger managers (or older managers!) who may have limited awareness of insurance and when/how it should be considered. MMF training sessions have always been a delight to speak at and be part of. We always look to educate clients about what insurance they could have, when they may need it and the possible pitfalls of some online or non-specialist policies so they can make a more educated decision.

Whilst we deal with managers and tour managers, often acts prefer their accountants to handle insurance for them and we have good relationships with all the main music accountants.

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?

I’ve been privileged to work the pioneers of management “back in the day” right through to today’s entrepreneurial managers. It would be unfair to start mentioning names as there are so many and I don’t want to miss anyone out!

But all managers do brilliant work with the rapidly evolving technology and ever changing landscape – and that is before getting into the artistic and ego side of their artists!

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?

For many years, I’ve tried to encourage clarity on show contracts – who is responsible for what when a problem occurs. That has been a struggle at times so perhaps that is one positive to come out of many negatives of this, although I appreciate not all will see it that way. However, ultimately it gives some clarity and should avoid nasty disputes.

It has made people appreciate contact is key and working together rather than against, can be a big benefit.

From a purely personal perspective, maybe the ever-increasing size of productions will be re-considered and bring the whole economics of touring into a new perspective?

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Miller or finding out more about what you do?

Don’t ever be scared of an insurance broker!! Many people keep brokers at arm’s length, but remember we are here to help you, so the more you make us part of your team and share information the more we can help, especially if a problem arises – which is exactly when you need insurance to react.

I emphasise that we work for the client, not the insurer, and are available to give the best possible advice at all times – literally all times, as we understand this is not a 9-5 business. It is vital to deal with a specialist in any area in life and that includes insurance, so we encourage people to ask us as many questions as they wish – no question is ever too silly!

Away from regular tours you’ve insured, what experiences can you share?

There have been many over the years, but Wembley Stadium multi-artist shows celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday and later, following his release from prison, the celebration show at which he made his first major speech to the world. To be side of stage was spine tingling.

Guitar Legends in Seville in 1991 had a mind-blowing line-up that included, among many others, BB King, Bo Diddley, Les Paul, Brain May, Roger Waters, Robert Cray, Joe Walsh. To stand in a tiny rehearsal room watching Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Keith Richards, George Benson and Jack Bruce play together was so surreal!

The Great Music Experience in Japan in front of the world’s largest wooden temple and featuring Japanese and western musicians including INXS, Joni Mitchell, Jon Bon Jovi, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

To see an unsigned Ed Sheeran play to 15 delegates after a music conference he had been hanging out at to make contacts – I still have the demo EP – probably the only time I’ve seen a hardened music crowd instantly stop and listen! I love seeing new acts so early….in recent years I’ve seen Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Dave, Celeste, Lewis Capaldi, Georgia, Sam Fender and so many more play in tiny clubs before taking off.

Are there any slightly unusual claims you can reveal without breaking confidentiality?

The more serious situations range from civil unrest – more recently, in places such as Hong Kong and Istanbul. Volcanic ash grounding flights across the world as well as general airline strikes and a drone closing Gatwick. One particular ill-fated tour included a brain aneurysm, an intestinal adhesion and a ruptured hernia…..and all that after one of the band had already suffered Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever, which is a potentially fatal disease.

Perhaps more humorous, would include insuring a single against reaching number One (the song was Happy Talk by Captain Sensible), or Mari Wilson who was famed for her beehive hairdo and insured it against falling down in stage. Finally, I can’t forget the poor lady at an early festival when loos were a plank across a pit – yes the plank gave way and the distraught lady disappeared!

Thank you Martin and Miller Insurance for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associates programme.

Contact Martin at martin.Goebbels@miller-insurance.com 

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“Meet Our Associates #2 – Jim Sanders, Ochre

03 November 2020

Today we speak to Jim Sanders, Director of Business Development at Ochre.

Ochre is a powerful D2C technology platform running artists and labels direct-to-consumer ecommerce operations. In addition, Ochre offers warehousing and store management services, providing a flexible set of tools for music companies.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Ochre and how you work with music managers.

Over the past 15 years I’ve worked at various digital music companies including 7digital, Deezer and Vevo implementing business development strategies to help grow their businesses.

I joined Ochre in March 2019 on an exciting journey just as the music industry began to adopt the technology we’ve built to optimise its D2C retail, marketing and operations.

We’ll often be working directly with managers to give them complete control and flexibility over their artists retail business. And sometimes indirectly, by instead giving access to data and other features from artist stores run by their label or merch partners where those stakeholders are using Ochre for their e-commerce solution.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

This year I’ve really loved Laura Marling “Song For Our Daughter” and Fontaines DC “A Hero’s Death”. Partisan Records label store is run on the platform, so it was very satisfying to see lots of these records being sold via Ochre.

Also, with the recent lack of gigs and festivals, Nick Cave’s Idiot Prayer live streamed performance at Ally Pally was a big highlight.

How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?  Any significant challenges?  How are you are adapting your services?

Business has been good as a lot of retail has moved online, although many larger release campaigns have been pushed back to next year.

Our overall services have not been affected or changed significantly, but there are lots of people wanting to scale up their D2C quickly and we have been able to help them do this.

D2C remains one of the few revenue streams that an artist can be in complete control of and so in recent challenging times we’ve seen various positive and creative reactions to the situation from limited merch drops creating brand new revenue streams, launches of online stores to sell stock manufactured for cancelled tours, through to clients running fundraising projects in support of talent and other great causes throughout lockdown.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report Managing Expectations, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Ochre?

Managers have been taking on more and more responsibility in recent years and working directly with Ochre allows our clients to retain strategic control over important areas. When this happens with D2C there’s often a real impact on the success of that artist store.

When a manager and therefore the artist is closely involved in decisions over their own retail brand and product offerings this always leads to more transactions outside of the traditional music release cycle, which can have a huge impact on an artists overall income.

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field?

There are a couple of things that spring to mind. We work with Dan Jenkins at Raw Power Management on their artist store for Don Broco and I love the effort they put into lookbook style fashion photo shoots for each merch drop. It’s much more engaging for fans, it also shows that they care about this stuff and really get their audience.

Also, we’ve very recently begun a project with Candy Artists who have taken a refreshing approach which will see them launch and run multiple artist stores for their entire roster of acts including Dream Wife, Our Girl, Willie J Healey, Dry Cleaning and more. Taking this strategic decision to become retailers operating multiple stores is a very smart move and will benefit from many long term efficiencies created.

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re through the other side of all this” (Covid)?

Since March we’ve been working with a number of clients to create a solid long term retail set up, rather than something that is simply reacting to the current changes and so these positive initiatives will definitely help those businesses thrive well beyond the current pandemic.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Ochre or finding out more about what you do?

Take a look at some of the amazing clients we work with and their unique approach to D2C marketing and retail.

But more importantly say hello! I’m always happy to hop on a call, share my screen to demo the platform and talk through how other clients are working with us.

Thank you Jim and Ochre for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associates programme.

You can contact Jim at jim@ochre-platform.com

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“Meet Our Associates” #1 – Hannah Logan, Tysers

28 October 2020

This week we speak to Hannah Logan, Client Executive, Music & Live Events at Tysers.

The Tysers Music & Events team is made up of industry experts who cover all areas of the sector and provide specialist insurance covering a variety of events across the entertainment world; clients include independents, boutiques as well as many of the biggest promoters, artists, recording labels, festivals and live music events.

Firstly please tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do at Tysers and how you work with music managers. 

Yes, we have changed names again I think for the 4th time but it’s still the same people working behind the scenes. I work with managers in conjunction with Tour Managers and Accountants depending on what type of insurance is needed and help to advise on what is the most suitable policy and crucially, at the moment, when is the best time to buy. Usually the most involvement I have with managers is when placing Non Appearance insurance cover ahead of a Tour as a lot of this is based around the budget and logistics of the tour. I will also work with managers when it comes to the day to day insurances such a travel and liability for their artists also.

What new music releases are you enjoying currently?

Celeste – Hear My voice (Still love Stop This Flame), Maisie Peters – Maybe Don’t Winona Oak – Control (not sure if its new but it is to me), Leon – Who You Lovin’.

How has business been for you since the COVID-19 pandemic hit?  Any significant challenges?  How are you are adapting your services? 

As we specialise in placing insurance within the Live events industry the pandemic has been a particularly challenging time for our business also. The most positive thing for us this year is that our non- Appearance policies had cover for communicable disease on the policies.  I know this is not available now, but it has been at least positive to be able to work with our clients in settling their claims in what has been an extremely tough year. The major challenge we now face is that it isn’t possible to insure against Covid 19 as an insurable loss. We have adapted our services during the pandemic by making sure clients are still insured but we are negotiating premiums with insurers to make sure they represent current business activities.  It is so important for us to understand the evolving needs of the client and Tysers have been working with the MMF, CPA and many of the other associations in Live music to proactively put forward a proposal so that we as an industry can at least plan for the future.

The role of the manager has evolved massively in recent years, as highlighted in the MMF’s 2019 report, with managers taking on an increasing amount of responsibilities.  Has this influenced the way you work with managers at Tysers? 

I am increasingly seeing managers being involved with placing insurances for their artists whereas the actual placing of this business has quite often come through other channels such as accountants. Whilst this is still common, its incredibly helpful when Managers are involved as they know every detail about the artist/ tour routing/ crew etc and this is extremely helpful when placing insurances to make sure they respond how you would like and need them too.  Whether it be management or accountants, it is great to work with all of the layers throughout the industry vertical.

Are there any managers you particularly enjoy working with – or consider to be doing brilliant work in their field? 

I don’t think there is a manager that I have not enjoyed working with.  This year has been tough for everyone and it is great to be able to pick up the phone to managers and for them to be able to pick up the phone to me when it is a good or bad day.

Do you think there are any positive opportunities or changes in the music industry you believe we will see happen “once we’re though the other side of all this” (Covid)?

Absolutely.  Internally, if we do not have hope for a brighter future there is no chance that there will be one.  We will endure some pain for the moment but there is no doubt about the resilience of the people within this industry.  It is not an industry that is going to re-train.  Music forms such a large part of people’s lives and whilst the landscape might shift a bit, it will come back with a vigour and enthusiasm that we have not seen in years; we’ll all get that old fashioned feeling.  It will be like the first drink after three days in the desert, the first kiss of someone you have been campaigning for two months or a hot bath when you have come in from a long dog walk in the rain.  When live music gets up and running again, it is going to feel amazing.

Is there anything you would like to say to managers who are considering working with you at Tysers or finding out more about what you do?

Just call me if you want to talk about insurance or anything else…  I’m mainly working from home so it can get a bit boring so the more people I can talk to, the better!
Thank you Hannah and Tysers for supporting the MMF and our membership through our Associates programme.
For more information please visit the Tysers website or contact Hannah Logan on Hannah.logan@tysers.com t: 0203 915 0466

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Q&A Paul Hourican, Head of Music Operations UK, TikTok

21 May 2020

We are absolutely delighted to announce that TikTok have joined the MMF as an Associate! Read more about the partnership in the press release. 

Activities already planned under the Associate partnership include access to best practice resources on TikTok for MMF members, exclusive virtual training sessions co-hosted by TikTok and leading UK managers, and an in-person event in London, likely to be Autumn 2020, once social distancing measures are eased.  Our first exclusive online training event for MMF members takes place on June 16th – watch this space for details!

Before that, we got a chance to sit down with Paul Hourican, Head of Music Operations UK, TikTok, to ask him a few questions.

Partnering with The MMF is a great way for TikTok to connect with the biggest community of managers in the world, and all the artists they represent. We’re hoping this partnership will help their members fully understand our platform and ensure they can make the most of its features so they can reach a wider global audience.

Paul HouricanWhy is TikTok partnering with The MMF? 

A number of MMF members are already utilizing TikTok for release campaigns, including those quoted in the press release. Their Associate Programme offers a perfect opportunity to develop a two-way dialogue with more than 850 UK based music managers and the artists and creators they represent.  

TikTok is constantly looking at new ways to support the music industry. For example, we recently worked with Help Musicians as part of its COVID-19 relief support for struggling artists. 

Has the partnership had anything to do with COVID-19?

We have been working on this partnership for some time, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this partnership isn’t a response to the pandemic, anything we create for MMF members will of course take into account the impact of COVID-19, such as incorporating social distancing measures into any events, hosting virtual sessions and providing resources that account for our current situation.

The MMF is renowned for supporting innovation. The Associate Programme plays a key role of the organisation’s activities – and helps connect the UK’s community of 850+ managers with the world’s most innovative and artist-friendly businesses, whether they’re DSPs or other artist-related services. 

What does the membership involve?

TikTok will be creating a number of educational resources, training sessions and events exclusively for MMF members. The first event will be on 16 June.

How long has TikTok signed on to be an Associate partner? How much is the cost of the partnership?

We’re not disclosing the contractual details of the partnership.

Is this a UK-only partnership?

Yes, this is UK-specific.

How does this fit with TikTok’s wider strategy for music?

Music has been an integral part of TikTok since the app launched. As a platform that was created to lower the barriers for creation, TikTok allows users to create and share video content directly from their phones, making the process of adding music to videos simple and straightforward. By doing this, TikTok has changed the way Gen Z and Millennials consume music. Everyday users listen and create videos using millions of songs from the TikTok playlist, driving unprecedented music discovery and trends.

Moving forward we want to continue to facilitate music discovery, working closely with the entire industry to bring the most exciting music content to our creative global community.

How is music monetised on TikTok?

TikTok is committed to sharing value from its platform with artists and rights holders.

How does TikTok protect artists’ licensing rights?

TikTok is an exciting platform for songs and emerging artists to gain exposure and breakthrough with a wide and varied audience. We work closely with rights holders to build and protect a library of sound on the platform which is available for users to infuse in their own short videos.

The interests-based recommendations system helps our creators to be discovered with a new and global audience. This is key to nurture transboundary communities where our users can connect, share and inspire one another with creative ideas.

How do independent artists benefit from being on TikTok?

TikTok offers a unique platform for music. By enabling artists to promote their music to a global audience, TikTok enables them to build a strong and highly engaged fanbase, giving new music talent an opportunity to be discovered and to create unprecedented viral trends.

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