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Accelerator 2024: Lyor Cohen & Wyclef Jean in discussion with Paul Bonham

29 May 2024

Having launched our 6th edition of Accelerator on April 30th, 2024’s programme is now well and truly underway. Another new and exciting network of managers is starting to emerge.

Given the maverick nature of the participants, each cohort to date has been fantastically different and a bit of a social experiment – bringing together around 20 highly-focussed entrepreneurs from vastly different backgrounds, putting them in a single space, and encouraging them to learn and exchange knowledge.

Basically, Accelerator is a journey into the unknown!

It’s incredible to think that over 130 managers, drawn from all over the UK and with expertise in every possible genre, have now embarked upon this trip.

However, while opportunities in the music business shift and change endlessly, other aspects of the programme have remained remarkably constant.

For the managers themselves, the most rewarding aspects of Accelerator tend to be those around the fundamentals of business building – how they can reach sustainability, retain a sense of individuality and serve the demands of their clients.

The other ever-present has been the support, enthusiasm and encouragement of YouTube Music. Both publicly and privately, the YouTube team have always described Accelerator as a priority initiative – and they’ve gone way beyond the terms of our partnership in how they’ve helped us develop the programme.

One particular highlight has been the personal involvement of Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at Google and YouTube. Lyor is a legendary figure in the business, but his continued energy and enthusiasm are both relentless and inspirational.

This year, Lyor delivered something truly special by presenting an up-close-and-personal discussion with the artist, producer and songwriter Wyclef Jean.

Focussed on the unique and intimate relationship between the talent and their manager, for me there were two key takeaways from the session.

First, it’s all about the music.

From Lyor’s perspective, the manager’s role is to help their client fulfil their inspiration and locate the needle in the haystack. Wyclef illustrated this point, by highlighting how the Fugees early success was built on the bedrock of their fan community.

And secondly, get a contract. Establish clear lines around your professional relationship, and ensure you share the commitment and drive to achieve your goals.

Out of respect to Lyor and Wyclef, I won’t divulge more, but it was genuinely one of the most fascinating and insightful sessions I’ve seen on Accelerator, with a real spirit of generosity to share information and experiences.

This approach is very much in keeping with what we aspire to provide at the MMF, ensuring our community can gain and benefit through collective knowledge. If you have questions about how we might be able to support your career, please come to one of our training events, upcoming Advanced Manager Retreat, regular free workshops, socials, open member sessions – or simply get in touch via email or social media.

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