Here at the Rock and Roll Report we feel it important to not only highlight amazing bands and labels but also people involved in all aspects of the music biz. Whether it be management or promotional companies, club owners, web 2.0 pioneers or media people, we hope these features give musicians the benefit of some free advice by people in the rock biz trenches.
Today we speak to Ivan Gospich of management firm Mandatory Music Group about music management, artist development and when a band should start considering hiring management.
Mandatory Music Group officially launched in October 2008.
RRR: Where are you located?
San Jose, CA (USA)
RRR: What are some of the services you offer through the company?
Artist development, production/recording, marketing and management.
RRR: How are you different from other management companies out there?
We focus on nurturing the talents of the musicians we choose to represent, instead of trying to mold them into something we think the main stream will like and buy. When all is said and done, it truly is all about the music, not personalities.
RRR: Are there specific people you are looking for that can use your services? (Do you only accept certain people? Or if they can pay, you’ll take anyone on as a client?)
Our mission is to help great original rock artists who exhibit musicianship and meaningful messages in their music, get heard! We accept music submissions and only take on artists that we believe in.
RRR: About how many bands are currently on your roster? Give us a brief rundown of them.
The band WYLDSKY was the catalyst that inspired us to form. I first saw Tyler Nelson of WYLDSKY performing blues covers and mixing in some of his original songs in the Los Angeles area and was completely blow away by his talent, so I kept in contact with him. Speaking for myself, I’ve been growing tired of listening to the same rock music for the past 3 decades and how most current main stream music all sounds so similar. After doing a couple of years of research (thank goodness for the internet), I was pleased to discover that there are great artists out there, but with little to no representation and a lot of them ready to give up, because the entertainment business is so difficult, plus there are a lot of scammers in the business, bleeding artists pocket books and dreams. I contacted Mr. Nelson to see if he was interested in our debut, debuting him, which he accepted. Currently we have another band and artist we have our sites on, but since contracts are underway, I cannot mention their names until everything is official.
RRR: Some of the up-and-coming things that will be happening to your company?
We are currently working on marketspace marketing, partnerships with renowned booking agencies and building relationships with brick and mortar distributors in Europe & Asia. The marketspace is our biggest concern currently for the future, what works and what does not?
RRR: Who are you excited about and why?
Obviously the success of the musicians we choose to represent. Their success equals our success and WYLDSKY’s debut album has just been nominated by the founder of the LA Music Awards for a total of 4 Best-Of-2009 music awards, which is rewarding to us all.
RRR: In this world of the Internet and Web 2.0 where there are so many ways for bands to promote and book their own gigs, why do you think having a team like MMG matters?
The 3 M’s: money, management and marketing! A label is supposed to provide such to their artists, so the artists can focus on their music and performances.
RRR: At what point should a band consider signing with management?
It really depends on the band. If they’re hobbyists, do-it-yourself. Already a successful band, do-it-yourself, as long as they have good honest management, or try to workout a distribution deal with a successful label. If they are an unknown band that yearns to make music full-time, start soliciting there music to independent labels, larger labels nowadays usually only sign bands that are already a success, one of the downfalls of the industry. There are not many a&r reps willing to risk their jobs if they have their company invest in a band and the band is not a success, a sure thing is what they are looking for.
RRR: What should young bands be on the lookout for these days? What advice can you give them for avoiding common pitfalls?
Its so easy for bands to record their music nowadays, they need to record and copyright it and give the music to people who will provide them honest feedback. If the feedback is good, start working on their live performance and start playing at parties and local venues. Work on finding a good booking agent who wants to work with them, create a website and myspace page for possible fans and once they start building a fan base, start soliciting themselves to independent labels. Again, there are lots of scams and ways to throw away money in this business unfortunately. There are lots of great independent labels out there that are scouting for new talent and if they believe in the music, will handle most aspects of the 3 M’s.