Hangin’ with our friends @mailchimp before @whiskeyjam!
The first time I remember waking up this early in the morning wasn’t from the sugared haze of too much wine, or the screaming of night terrors coming from my son’s head in his bedroom… It was when a new record (RECORD=ALBUM, not SONG singles) was coming out that day. That I wanted. Real bad.
Love this blog from Butch Walker about record store day!
YEP board member Lee Krabel of HoriPro Entertainment Group shares what he looks for in discovering songwriters…
My biggest complaint when I meet with new writers/artists is they play me bad versions of what already was going on. I’ve had the pleasure of following Kacey Musgraves and Florida Georgia Line since the moment her heels and their boots set foot on music row. Watching each carve out a place in country music, that didn’t exist before them. It’s not to say you can’t hear they’re influences when you listen to their records. But there is something special about these two artists.
They have different audiences and different styles. Kacey can make you feel the struggles of living in a small town, of which there are many. “Merry Go Round” reminds me so much of my hometown it’s scary. Florida Georgia Line’s “Here For the Good Times”, on the other hand, always has me reminiscing the best experiences I had in my little town of Chrisman, Illinois.
Kacey and the FGL boys both have benefited from amazing teams and have set a high bar with their incredible work ethics. To me though, their success has everything to do with being real. They’re writing & singing songs that they have lived. You can feel it in the passion they bring to each performance. Neither set out to be the next anything, they didn’t write for radio, they wrote for themselves. By doing so, they grabbed the attention of people who are just like them. FGL has found over 2 million; Kacey is well on her way to finding her own million. People, just like them, waiting to hear their music.
So go out and carve your own place in country music’s history. Be yourself, write for yourself. Chances are there are a million people just like you just waiting to hear THEIR music.
Community Partner Report: Andrew Cohen, Manager at Crush Management in Nashville!
Brittany McGarity, one of our WATK Community Partner corespondents in Nashville recently took the time to interview Andrew Cohen at Crush Management. Below is her interview with Andrew. Read on to learn about Andrew’s responsibilities as a manager, and how he got involved in the music business!
Interview with: Andrew Cohen- Nashville, TN
Job(s): Manager at Crush Management (Ashley Monroe and Striking Matches), Founder and Executive Director of YEP Nashville
School: Texas State University, transferred to Belmont University c/o Dec 2009
Best advice for those who want to work in the music industry: Go ask for stories – it’s a people business.
Brittany: What is your current job title and your day to day role?
Andrew: I am a day to day manager for Crush Management and I work directly with Ashley Monroe, who is one of the Pistol Annies, and we do her solo career. We have an album coming out on her on March 5th, which is what I’m in the midst of right now, it’s absolutely crazy at our office! We also work with a band called Striking Matches, an up and coming amazing guitar duo. They’ve had their song featured on ABC’s show ‘Nashville’ and all sorts of stuff, so it’s been a really good year for us.
The other job that I do is I am the executive director of YEP, Young Entertainment Professionals of Nashville. Which is all outside of my day-to-day duties, I do most of the work on that at the end of the day.
What exactly does a day-to-day manager do?
Well you can get into all sorts of detail. We sat around one day at the office and rambled off other job titles that we do. We are business managers, merch guys, roadies, photographers, videographers, publishers, critics, it was like a 30-minute conversation! It was really funny because if you really decide to pick apart everything, you could go on for about a year just coming up with job titles that we are.
So it’s kind of an all-encompassing job…
How did you come about that position at Crush?
Ok so here’s my whole story: I knew at a really early age that I wanted to work in the music business, I guess I was lucky that way. I was probably 10 years old and for some reason I knew every word to very country song on the radio. I was raised in Texas but my parents are from New York, and somehow at 4 years old I discovered country music, my parents had no idea really how. It was a little strange. But I always knew I wanted to work in the music business, I never really had another plan. So I went to Texas State University for 2 years and transferred to Belmont here in Nashville for the music business program there. That was a decision I made: to grow up a little before I up and moved here and didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know the industry, I didn’t know anything, so I was a little worried about coming here straight out of high school. So I went to school in Texas first then transferred here, went to Belmont for 3 semesters and graduated early in 2009. Then after graduation it took me about 7 months to find a job, even though I thought that I was pretty well connected at that point. I got a job at a booking agency, and I promptly quit 4 months later. Which is funny because I envisioned myself in the industry for so long and then I get it and then all of a sudden I go, I think I’m gonna quit. It was definitely a hard pill to swallow for the parents. So for a few months after I looked around, trying to figure out what my next move was gonna be, then I got a lead from a friend of mine about an artist who was looking for a merch guy for the road. It turned out to be David Nail. I had been one of his fans for a long time so I jumped at the opportunity. Within the same month, right before I took the job officially, I was sitting at the Tin Roof with a friend, who was also unemployed at the time, and she bought up somebody in the industry that she knew but I didn’t. She asked, “oh do you know so and so?” And I go, “how do I not know all of your friends by now?” So I started thinking that maybe we should get all of her friends together and all of my friends together so we all meet each other and hang out and we would all be better because of it. So we did it about 3 weeks later. I came up with the name YEP and made a little Facebook group and told everyone to just bring their friends out. 100 people showed up for our first mixer at the Tin Roof. That’s when we knew we were onto something. Next thing you know, we’re like ok let’s do another. And that snowballed into showcases for friends and people we knew who were really talented, and then we did educational events, and it just kept snowballing from there. I had the time to do that because I was a merch guy. On the weekends I would do merch to pay my bills and during the week I would work on YEP. And then I saw that Crush management had launched in Nashville. A friend of mine told me that it was her dream company to work for, so when it launched I emailed John Grady – who is my boss now – my resume and told him about YEP and my time on the road. He actually allowed me to come to his office one day to sit down and just talk about what was going on. We ended up meeting once a month for 6 months, and he would always ask, “what are you up to now?” And we would talk. He told me recently that looking back, he gave me the job because I was always busy. He said, “You were a merch guy, but you stayed busy. You figured out a way to keep yourself here in town and be here when most people would realize it’s not what it cracked up to be and just leave town and go home. You stayed and kept yourself busy and made yourself better. That’s why you work here now.” He told me he would bring me on as a day-to-day. When the company actually started, it was just me and Grady for maybe 8 months. I did day-to-day for all 3 acts on Crush. I was back on the road tour managing for Kristin Kelly on the Brad Paisley tour in March of last year, not long after I had come off the road as a merch guy. I had to get my footing as a day to day manager and started that and tour managing at the same time. He finally brought on my coworker about last August to split the duties for each artist, and now here I am.
I think it takes about 2 years once you’re out of school and getting going to find your footing and find out where you’re supposed to be, where you really want to be. Like for me, yeah it took 2 years and it was hard, it wasn’t easy, but I found where I’m supposed to be and where I enjoy being. I love every day being here.
That’s awesome. I am kind of right in the middle of that, I just graduated college last May and just moved to Nashville. I don’t really know what I’m doing but I’m trying to figure it out.
Yeah, I mean the best thing you can do is just jump in headfirst. Like our YEP events are built to create an environment where you can just walk up to anyone and talk to them. “Hey, I don’t know you, where are you from, what’s your story, etc..” That’s some of the best advice I can give to people: just go and ask for time with somebody in the industry and ask for their story. There are people especially in this business who love to talk about themselves, and if you can give them time, they’ll invest in you and give you their time. When they’re done with their story they’ll hear yours. It’s a people business. And if you can learn to read people and get to know them, find out their goals and help them along the way, everybody is better off for it.
That’s one of the things we try to do with YEP. We’re trying to bring everyone in the industry together because one person’s success within the group is everyone else’s success within the group. So let’s say I know someone who gets a promotion from being a catalog manager at a publishing company to a song plugger at a publishing company, well now I know a song plugger who can send me some songs for the artists I manage. Things like that. Everyone’s success in the group is everyone else’s success. That’s the fun part about it, is getting to root for each other. It brings about this whole new generation to the music industry who are closer and makes them create new opportunities for each other. The next big thing in the industry might come from a few people who know each other within this group. It’s really cool.
It sounds like fun!
It is fun, and it’s supposed to be! It’s a lot of work, you gotta live and breathe it every day. They asked us in the music business program at Belmont at orientation, “How many of you have a backup plan, like something else that you want to do?” A few people raised their hands and they said, “yeah, you should just go off and go do that.” When it comes to music, you can’t have a backup plan. You have to want to do this more than anything. I think every person I know in this industry never wanted to do anything else. It’s not often that people leave the music industry and go do something unrelated and then come back. You know, there’s not a lot of money in it, especially right at the beginning. So you’ve got to really want to be in it to be successful. I go home every night happy. I’m not shining my gold shoes, but I’m happy because I have a great group of friends that I get to work with every day. It’s such a unique and people driven business that you’re friends with everyone you do daily business with. From what I hear not many industries are like that.
It sounds like it’s more of a community than an office.
Definitely. I’ve heard some people say it’s like college. Like there’s the freshmen, people just out of school getting their first jobs and figuring stuff out. Then you’ve got your sophomores, people a little more established where they are, then the upperclassmen. There’s probably a few more classes but you get the idea. There’s still gossip amongst everyone. And here in Nashville at music row, we’re all working in the same little box so it’s like we’re all on campus. Nashville is such a small town as far as the industry goes.
Seems like everyone knows everyone.
Oh yeah. Or if you don’t know somebody, you can find out about them very quickly.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Both. I guess bad because if you do something you don’t want people to know about, they’ll find out anyway. If someone is applying for a job, I can get a backstory on them. But if someone is supportive of another person, like if someone who I know and respect tells me that there is another person I need to know, I’ll get to know them. If you get the stamp of approval from someone within the circle, that can take you really far. We all trust our own mentors and there are a lot of people I trust in the industry. Someone may have an intern that was great and amazing and tells me about them, all of a sudden I’m looking for them to be my intern or looking to give them another good opportunity. The small town feel is great for that sort of thing. If you get here and prove yourself, prove that you’re legitimate and a hard working person who wants to do this and has a great head on their shoulders, people are gonna talk. They’re gonna let each other know how great you are.
What advice would you give someone who was interested in moving to Nashville to work but they don’t really know anyone? How do they break into that circle where everyone already knows everyone else?
You know, that’s really what we built YEP for. I never imagined it would be where it is now, with over 2400 members on Facebook, when it started out being a way for my friends to meet each other. Now almost daily we are getting a new post on our group of someone who is brand new to Nashville who wants to get connected and you can see other people replying to them, making a connection. At our mixers is the same thing. You just have to jump in headfirst, get out there and be seen. Go be the person that people see, because then they will ask you if you’ve met even if you haven’t yet. If you’re around often enough sometimes people will assume that they’ve met you before. I frequented the Tin Roof and Whiskey Jam all the time and just met new people every week. I developed friendships from that. It’s not easy to swallow your pride and get out there and network. Not everyone has the same personality type, but I’ve seen people who are really shy get out there and meet people because it’s what you have to do in this business. It’s tough and not always comfortable, but we try at our YEP events to make it a good comfortable environment so it’s easier. I think we’re the best at doing that at this point. But anywhere outside that environment, you just gotta take some of that confidence with you and just walk up to somebody and ask them who they are and what they do. Also if you see someone you know but they don’t know you, don’t be afraid to tell them you like what they do. Chances are they will take the opportunity to talk about themselves, and that connection is made.
Bring a friend networking if you have to, that will make you feel more comfortable. Just don’t talk to that one friend, go out and meet people. At least if you crash and burn you still have that one friend you can fall back on. You might not get along well with everyone but generally most people in the music business are outgoing and will give you a moment of their time.
Awesome. Well I have one question that I’ll end things on: what are your goals for your future? Business-wise or personal.
Well for Crush I would love to see Ashley Monroe’s record up for a Grammy next year. I think hers will be the one to do it. It’s the kind of record that people hear and they flip out over it. I would also love to see my other artist Striking Matches take the next step to start touring a lot more and ride their popularity that they’ve gotten from having their song on ABC’s Nashville. At YEP we have a 10-year goal of wanting to create a professional development center in Nashville for people in the industry. Basically we want to be able to help people out who are wanting to get their first job or who want to get better at their job in the entertainment industry. Helping young people come into the music business and seeing them be successful is the most fun we can do. It’s really cool to see how my friends and others my age have all come up in this industry together and we want to be there to help the next generation do that too.
I want to give Brittany a huge thank you for taking the time to put this informative interview together, and thank you to Andrew for contributing, and sharing your experiences.
To follow Brittany, check out her Aboutme and tumblr pages!
If you are interested in becoming a Community Partner and interviewing local music industry professionals for WATK, email Natalie at email@example.com!
An interview w/ YEP Board Member - Andrew Cohen
By Matt Cottingham, ICS Law Group, YEP Board Member
At some point in an artist’s career, it becomes necessary to hire a manager to provide guidance and advice about the entertainment industry. As with any professional relationship, it is important that the parties put the terms of their agreement in writing, which is commonly referred to as an artist management agreement. Although the overall theme of every deal is similar, the details can vary greatly and no two deals are the same. Below are several key provisions that almost every artist management agreement will likely have. These provisions should be examined closely by someone with experience in the music industry.
1. Artist Consent
As an artist, it is important to remember that although an experienced manager can provide priceless advice and guidance, at the end of the day it is the artist’s career and reputation that is on the line. Therefore it is important that the manager confers with the artist and gets their consent prior to committing the artist to anything. Consent comes in many forms. Ideally, an artist would want to require their manager to get the artist’s prior written approval for every commitment. However, sometimes a decision must be made immediately, and there may not be enough time to get the artist’s written approval. In such an instance, the artist could still require express consent, which could be given verbally. Either way, the artist is aware of the situation and has agreed to be bound by that decision. Artist’s should avoid management agreements where they give blanket approval to the manager in advance.
The term of the agreement refers to how long the agreement will last. The term can range from one year to several years and often the contract will contain language that allows the parties to continue the relationship past the initial term so long as everyone is happy. Since it is usually much easier to renew a contract than to terminate one, it is often in an artist’s best interest to have an initial term of just one year.
The real question is what can an artist do if they are unhappy with their manager? A fair artist management agreement will include a clause that allows the artist to get out of the contract if the manager is not living up to his end of the bargain. The artist should be very clear on what circumstances will allow them to terminate the deal and exactly what they are required to do in order to terminate the agreement.
As compensation for his or her services, a manager typically receives a percentage of the artist’s income, known commonly as a commission. Commissions typically range from ten to twenty-five percent depending upon the experience of the manager and the clout of the artist. The main difference from deal to deal is defining exactly what income streams are included under that commission. The commission is usually taken from “Gross Revenues” or “Gross Income” derived from the artist’s activities in the “Entertainment Industry.” These terms can have many different meanings so it is important that they are carefully defined within the contract. If there are specific income streams that are to be excluded, those should be clearly laid out and defined within the agreement.
Almost every management deal will provide that the manager is to be reimbursed for certain out-of-pocket expenses relating to services provided on behalf of the artist. A fair deal should contain limits on these expenses, including a cap on how much the manager can spend at any one time without the artist’s prior approval. The contract should also put a cap on how much the manager can spend on a monthly basis without prior consent. Additionally, artists should avoid entering into management agreements in which the artist is responsible for reimbursing the manager for his or her overhead expenses, such as rent and utilities.
5. Post-Term Commissions
Most artist management deals contain a provision which details the commissions the manager will be entitled to once the agreement has ended. This is a particularly important provision to be wary of for artists. Sometimes a manager will require that they are paid their commission in perpetuity, meaning that the manager would be entitled to their commission for the rest of the artist’s career!
More often than not, however, these deals contain what is commonly referred to as a sunset clause. A sunset clause will allow the manager to continue to receive a commission for a period of time after the termination of the agreement, but that percentage will continue to decrease over time until it becomes zero. A sunset clause can range anywhere from six months to five years. It is especially important to carefully review the post-term commissions clause, because if the artist hires a new manager, the artist will be paying two managers for that period of time.
As you can see, artist management deals can vary greatly and it can be easy for an artist to be taken advantage of if they do not fully understand what they are committing to. Therefore, artists considering signing an artist management agreement should have an attorney experienced in the music industry review and negotiate it.
Our website launched today! Go join the email list to stay up on all the latest events. Meet The YEP Board and get connected to our various social networks all in one place. The site has a link to this very blog where we’ll be posting new features from our board members on all sorts of various topics!
As young members of the entertainment industry it’s easy to get caught up in a numbers game. There are thousands of graduates with sights set on the music business as a career and an extremely limited amount of jobs. The first instincts are to figure out how to beat the odds. Meet more contacts. Apply for more jobs. Add more to your résumé. More, more, more. The real answer doesn’t lie in the numbers. It lies in the depth of those business relationships. Simply meeting someone does not move you to the front of their Rolodex. Cultivating the relationship is key.
They used to tell us in school that every artist needs a champion - someone who would shout from the rooftops to everyone who didn’t want to listen about an artist’s talent. That applies to all facets of the entertainment industry not just artists. Find your champion. Impress them with what you bring to the table. Even if they can’t help you directly, they’ll help find someone who will.
I originally offered to work for free at the company I’m currently employed at. That’s how bad you have to want to work in this industry. Eat, sleep, and breathe it and be willing to struggle for it. And do it with a smile because after all - you love it!
We’ve got a job opportunity exclusive to those of you guys who are here in the know and a part of the YEP community!
Veritable Music is a new publishing/production venture headed up by Andy Childs and Steve Mandile. They’re looking for a full time, energetic, forward thinking song plugger with some publishing experience. Please send resumes and references to Steve firstname.lastname@example.org and Andy email@example.com.