The Hot Seat: Paul Dainty

Published in The Music Network

 

Paul Dainty, Chairman, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment (DCE) talks to TMN about touring Eminem and more.

Let’s start with Eminem. What hoops did you have to jump through to land that tour?
In one word, persistence. That’s what it was. It took a long time and a lot of persistence.

How long?
Probably nine or ten months.

It’s been ten years since he was last here. Anyone might think he wasn’t interested in coming this far from home.
He’s not a touring artist in the traditional sense. So he does these huge one-off shows, like he did Lollapalooza and V Fest the other week. That’s the issue. He’s not a touring artist in the traditional sense. It’s getting him to do these big one-off events.

There’s only two shows on the slate. Is there a chance for more?

Well, the way we saw Melbourne go in a blink – which is north of 60,000 – that’s one of the biggest onsales for a long time. We’d love to, and we’re going to try. We’ve got the first ones out the way, and they’ve been huge. Maybe that’ll spur the momentum to get more shows. Is there potential for a handful of extra shows? I don’t think there’s room for a number of dates. It would be a case of would he stay on for another day or two? It’s a little bit premature. But we’re trying. It won’t be for lack of trying, that’s for sure.

Will you be showing him Australia?
Perhaps take him to a beach. I don’t know if he’s a beach guy (laughs). If he is, we will. But we’ll have to wait and see what he wants to do when he gets here. Who knows, it might be a novelty.

We talked late last year about it being the busiest summer in about a decade. On reflection, how did it hold up?
Last summer was awesome. A lot of people came into it wondering can the market sustain all those tours. It was one of the busiest summers ever. From our company’s point of view, we had tours with Bon Jovi, Michael Bublé, Miley Cyrus, Enrique, and they all did storming business. Especially Bon Jovi and Michael Bublé. Bon Jovi did incredible numbers. Bublé sold out something like 16, 17 arenas a year ahead of time. It was a phenomenal summer. We had no complaints. Basically everything we did was sold out. You can’t ask for more than that. Was there any softness? Not for us, no. Across the board, most people had a good summer. The market was incredibly resilient and most tours did great.

Any cause to think there’ll be a slowdown in future?
We’re seeing a little bit of tightening, definitely in relation to tours that have very high premium ticket prices. People are smart enough to look around at the prices and buy the cheaper tickets. If you see a $300 ticket, it’s getting much tougher to get those away. People are targeting those second price tickets, which might be $150-$170. That’s the big difference between last summer and what’s happening now. [Ticket price] is the most important issue now. We’ve all talked about this in the past. But now, it’s really starting to bite and become a real issue. We have to be really sensible about fighting to keep prices realistic and attractive to the public. If you want to have successful tours and sell-outs and everyone making money, it’s going to be more crucial than ever before.

You’re mentioned a number of times in Michael Chugg’s biography.
Is there a book in you?
There is, but I don’t think it will ever be written. I’m not sure I’d want to go there. You never say never, but it’s not particularly my style to do that sort of thing.

So what is your style in the way you do business?

We try to make a tough deal, but a fair deal and make it a win- win for everyone. And do the right thing by people. We trade on our reputation, which to me is the No. 1. Reputation is everything. Contracts don’t mean a lot. It’s your handshake and reputation.

You’ve a deal with Sandalford. How much growth is left in the wineries market?
We’re looking at expanding in that area. We just signed up with Tempest Two in the Hunter Valley on the same basis as Sandalford. We’ve got two or three people we’re in partnership with working on expanding that whole winery concept. But it’s like everything. As much as you can create a great ambiance and setting, you’ve still got to have the talent. If you don’t have the great talent to put on the shows, you’re not going to sell the tickets.

Ticketek Australia recently announced it was seeing a “strong shift” toward mobile. Apparently, 10% of tickets for the 2011 Foo Fighters summer tour were sold via mobile. What are you thoughts on mobile ticketing?
It’s inevitable and it’s probably a good thing. You can’t fight it, you just join in and go with it. Mobiile ticketing will grow, big time. It’s going to become 40-60% (of the business) faster than you think.


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The Hot Seat: Mike Bradshaw, Manager of Neil Finn

Published in The Music Network

 

When Neil Finn returned home to New Zealand last year, he entrusted label veteran Mike Bradshaw to look after business. At the time, Bradshaw was leading Sony Music’s NZ company. But it was an offer too good to refuse.

Bradshaw and his partner Malcolm Black established Meniscus Media, which manages Crowded House, Neil Finn and Pajama Club. Bradshaw entered the record industry in 1981, joining EMI as a sales cadet. From 1988 to 1999, he served in various positions at CBS/Sony.

In 2002, Bradshaw was appointed GM of BMG and three years later was promoted to MD when the company’s recorded music division was merged with Sony Music.

Mike, can you give me a sense of what it’s like to manage a guy the calibre of Neil Finn?

I don’t like to call it an empire, but there’s an enormous amount of tentacles that go out into the world. There’s a huge logistical job to be done. There’s representation with legal which is based in LA, there’s accountants in Australia, UK and US. It’s been a massive learning experience. Plus we’ve recently signed a new publishing deal [with Kobalt Music Group]. It’s a full-time, seven-day- a-week job. It’s cyclical, obviously. With this Pajama Club record, you’ve got three time-zones all happening at the same time. My relationship with Neil goes way back. Perhaps as far back as the Mullanes. In 1986, I was Neil’s promo guy at EMI in NZ. I worked on the first Crowded House album.

What was the appeal of taking on management after so many years with major labels?
I have something of a history; I voluntarily leave about once every seven years. The last time I walked was in 1999, because no one was taking any notice of the Internet. It was a very frustrating time. The music business is, especially in the majors, a quick-changing place. I’m 48 years old and it was just my time to go. You need to have lots of energy and people are having to do more for less. It was really important for me to have my time and then move on. There’s nothing worse than someone who sticks around for too long. It coincided with Neil talking about having management based in NZ. It’s a much more day-to-day management relationship, rather than a business one. He’d never really had that before.

What skills did you bring to the table to manage a world-class artist?
Being able to deliver an understanding of the marketplace. And having a good set of ears. Also, the ability to be able to talk to people in a business that’s fairly unique, albeit getting smaller. Like any business, you tend to see things in a different light when you come into it for the first time. So, I see lots of opportunities for Neil and us moving forward. I’m using this opportunity to learn and try and absorb as much information as I can.

You’ve an extensive background with the majors, but Neil’s Pajama Club project is released through largely independently networks?
We wanted to put a clear line in the sand between what Neil has been doing, and what he is doing now. It’s about separating two different worlds. Neil lives in Auckland above his studio, which is a commercial enterprise. We went ahead and made the record, but it was really important for us to be able to put the band in a place where they were going to get some attention from people who really loved the music. It’s not to say the majors wouldn’t have loved it, but there’s only so much they can do with so many acts in a year. Coming from that system, I know they are short-staffed, and there’s more music than ever that they’re under pressure to succeed with. I’m not sure we might have got the priority that we required. The other half of the story is that it was an incredibly important learning process for us all that we wanted to go through. I’m dealing with press and retailers on a one-to-one basis. There’s no filter. Although it’s very work-heavy, it’s incredibly important to have those direct relationships with people.

What’s next for Neil?
There’s a Crowded House album which is about 40% finished. And they’ve been working with Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Nick Cave), who’s got a pretty impressive record. I suspect that when this Pajama Club record reaches its natural conclusion, which might be at the end of the festival season next year, there’ll be a Crowded House record in late 2012. And in that period, Neil will start to work on his solo record, which he’s been really looking forward to getting out and demoing. It’s something which is very, very personal to him. It’s going to be a real cracker, that record.

You’ve had a great look at the major and indie label worlds. What are your thoughts on where they both sit on the landscape?
It’s really important that they work together as time goes on. There’s a symbiosis that can exist between them both. They shouldn’t be up against each other. They should be helping each other.

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The Hot Seat: Jen Long, BBC

Published in The Music Network

 

Hi Jen, what’s been keeping you busy?

It’s festival season, the radio show is keeping me busy, I’ve just started a record label and I’ve moved house. It’s definitely been a busy summer so far.

You present BBC Introducing on Radio 1. The BBC is an enormous corporation with incredible influence. What’s it like working for the Beeb?
It’s incredible to be a part of it. They make fantastic programming and you get so much freedom to be creative. There are so many people who work for the BBC – it does sound daunting – but not many who work specifically for Radio 1. At the same time, you’re part of a smaller family and a bigger family.

You said you have a certain amount of creative freedom?

I get to select all the music for my show. I program two hours of brand new music each week. What more you could want, really.

Do you ever have a problem filling those two hours?
God no. We always end up dropping tracks in the studio because I talk too much. I’m often annoyed at myself for not shutting up and just playing the music. How many people tune in to your show? We’re up this quarter in audience share and listenership. We have about 60,000. It’s on quite late. Our boss always says, “you can’t trust the RAJARS (Britain’s radio ratings) at that time of night.”

You’ve also started cassette tape label, Kissability (through Transgressive Records)?

I wanted to put out a friend’s band. And I liked the idea of having this old format, keeping it alive. It’s a bit of fun and it feels a little special. There’s a bit of nostalgia as well. There’s nothing really special about pressing a download into an iTunes link. CDs don’t feel special anymore, either. I tend to buy more records than CDs. Cassette is actually having something of a renaissance at the moment. We didn’t want to do something so exclusive that it was only available in the cassette format, so we’re doing it with a QR code so you can download a lot of extra content. Even if you can’t be bothered to buy a Walkman to listen to the cassette, you can still listen to the download.

The label has an Aussie flavour to it.
The first release is the Ruined My Life EP from the brilliant Australian band DZ Deathrays. It’s limited to 250 copies [and released September 19]. They’ll do a full live set on Halloween in London. We’re going to record that and that’ll be the free content you can download. DZ are on the “Emerge NME Radar” tour this October. They’ll be playing alongside the likes of Wolfgang and S.C.U.M. It means they’ll get all over the NME. It has some real weight to it.

What drives you to always find the new stuff?

It’s a mix of things. Firstly, I have the attention span of a three-year-old. And I don’t like to think I’m missing out on something. It’s not as though there aren’t bands I haven’t loved for more than ten years. I love Sonic Youth, Deftones, Faith No More. People ask, “What’s the best thing about your job? Free CDs and concert tickets?” Actually, no. The best thing about it is when you find a new band starting out, and three years later you’re watching them play a big stage at a festival in front of thousands of people. That’s the best thing.

What other Australian bands are turning you on?
Cloud Control. Bleeding Knees Club. Dune Rats. The Holidays. Bridezilla. There’s some really awesome stuff coming out of Australia. The Jezabels was one of my best gigs of this year. We hosted their show at Buffalo Bar in Cardiff back in May. It was their only UK date which wasn’t a festival show. People travelled from all over the country to see them.

What do you rely on to inform you?
The Internet is a big player. Following various blogs you trust the taste of. Polaroids of Androids and Who The Bloody Hell Are They are two good Aussie blogs, and from the US you have Weekly Tape Deck and Forecast on Pitchfork, among others. Word of mouth is important. Most of my friends work in music, so if one of them says, “Have you seen that amazing band,” I’ll definitely check them out.

Where do you see yourself at 30?
Doing the exact same thing. Waking up at 10am on a Monday morning, feeling terrible because I didn’t go to bed until 4am and spending all weekend in a field staying up incredibly late. At 30, I’ll be basically thinking, “Why am I not an adult,” but still having the time of my life.

Jen Long is a speaker at this year’s Bigsound conference in Brisbane. It will be the 26-year-old’s second visit to Australia.

 

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