Notes From The MMF Managers Summit & AGM – 10th July, 2019
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The Music Managers Forum is the largest professional community of music managers in the world!

Since 1992, the MMF has worked hard to educate, inform and represent UK managers as well as offering a network through which managers can share experiences, opportunities and information.

From The MMF website here

The Managers Summit was an all-day conference with panels featuring guest speakers from Record-Play, AWAL, Wicksteed Works, CMU, Key Production + a handful of management companies.

I took a bunch of notes… but before I try to make head or tail of them, I wanted to share something that Kwame Kwaten from Ferocious Talent said to me after I’d sat down behind him…

2-years after the artist wants to go, you go! 1-year after management – with their rose-tinted glasses – want to go, you go!

Kwame Kwaten – Ferocious Talent

What I took that to mean (and I might be putting words into his mouth here!) is that things take longer than expected. And that it’s usually not worth chucking a bunch of money at a project until it’s really ready. So slow down!

Panel #1 – “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY”: Life, Death, Taxes and some other stuff, presented by Smith & Williamson

Presented by Kevin Broadbent from Smith & Williamson accountants, this could have been a slow subject to start proceedings with! Fortunately, Kevin is a really likeable & knowledgeable guy and is happy to shoehorn a few song titles into a presentation to keep things light-hearted… even though some of the subject matter was around spending £30 per month on life assurance that will payout £1million to your loved ones should you succumb to rock n roll excess too early! (There’s even cover that takes into account rock n roll lifestyles and the self-medication that can sometimes go along with it apparently, although you’ll pay more for it!)

As boring and un-rock n roll as it may sound, when you’re earning £125k per year, one of the best ways to bung money away (after you’ve paid off your mortgage that is!) is a pension apparently! With the right scheme, you can end up with £25k in the pot from a £10k investment!

“This time next year Rodders”

Panel #2 – DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION: Wrestling with lead-times & delivering the goods, presented by Phil Loutsis

Phil Loutsis is Vice President of AWAL Community.

This was the first panel I had high hopes for. I’m currently helping an artist self-release an album with 4-singles coming out over the next few months before his album drops early next year.

I was hoping we’d be spoon fed best practice lead-times and release schedules but in a 30-minute presentation, Phil was never going to be able to go into much depth.

Instead, he offered a few nuggets:

  • Get your assets and metadata sorted early
  • Get your marketing information together
  • Once you’ve got everything together, give yourself 6-weeks lead-time
  • 4-6 weeks before release, get in touch with your distributor and if possible, show where the track/artist is popping (the industry seems to like referring to the signs of success and buzz in the same way that I’d refer to popcorn!)
  • 7-days before the release date, use the Spotify/Deezer playlist submission tools (You need to pitch the story. What’s popping off?)
  • You (or your managers) need to develop playlist curator relationships

Phil suggested that artists sometimes place too much weight of importance on their artist profile page and making that look nice on streaming platforms when really, discovery often happens elsewhere on the platform. It might work better for you as an artist to worry less about how tidy your profile page feels if a creative release strategy is going to achieve more to move you towards your goals.

Which leads me onto the final takeaway from Phil’s presentation, ‘waterfall scheduling’.

It’s something I’d not heard of before but Phil showed us how David Gray had released his last few EPs step-by-step, adding each previous track to the new release as he went. Which meant that if someone clicked through to listen to the second single release, they would also see and hear the first. Clicking through to the third single would also include the second and first tracks.

It can get pretty complicated to administer on a platform like iTunes apparently, and there’s every chance that it could very quickly become a gimmick that’s used by all and sundry, but it’s easy to see the benefit in releasing this way.

waterfall scheduling

PANEL #3 – VINYL PRODUCTION 101 TASTER SESSION: with Mike Hicks, Modo Design & Production + Carole Mendy, Key Production

This was an interesting look inside the vinyl production process. If you don’t know your DMM’s from your lacquers, and you’re interested in using vinyl, it’s worth letting Key Production know you’re interested in future workshops here

The video below shows you a few of their options & how they’re made…

PANEL #4 – HOW TO DO EMAIL MARKETING WRONG: Examples of common errors and a word on how/why to fix them

Considering this presentation was on email marketing, it was delivered so well by Jessie Scoullar of Wicksteed Works, that it was possibly one of the best of the day!

Jessie presented a whole host of email abuses while arguing the toss that ’email still rules’ and when used correctly, should be an extension of your brand.

I’ve flipped all the mistakes into an email marketing checklist:

1. Don’t wait to start building your list9. Don’t only use images
2. Customise your sign-up flow
10. Have a clear call-to-action
3. Actually use your list!11. Don’t assume one size fits all (segment)
4. Customise email preview text12. Don’t let partners send shit emails
5. Use a good subject line13. Don’t always be selling
6. Spell subject lines correctly14. Use automation (triggered)
7. Don’t spam your list with corrections15. Review analytics & campaign reports
8. Tell your mailing list first

PANEL #5 – “SHOULD I ACCEPT THIS SYNC?” with Kier Wiater Carnihan and Lauren Wilson

Both Lauren & Kier work for Record-Play – a music supervision, consultancy and sync licensing company.

Their presentation highlighted the importance of having a sync and music supervision strategy for your artists. As to whether or not you should accept any given sync, the question posed was “What can you afford to say no to?”

Don’t be afraid to negotiate or to ask for advice and if you want to learn everything there is to know about sync licensing, Kier has written the book on it! Quite literally… It’s here >>>

Download Unblocking The Sync - A band's guide to brands and a brands guide to bands by Kier Wiater Carnihan & Eomonn Forde

There was one final panel on “The Role Of The Manager” + a quick fire talk on the MMF podcast, ‘How Did You Manage That‘, followed by the AGM with updates on the MMF and new board member welcomes.

For the £12 per month MMF membership fee (£6 for under 30’s), it is worth it just for this event >>>

PS… you need to read the song royalties guide below. Twice. Then explain it to me >>>

It was actually brilliantly explained at the summit by Chris from CMU and Ray from Craft Management… but I haven’t read the guide properly yet and knowing now what I do about it all, I think it’s going to fry my brain!

The Song Royalties Guide

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