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The Music Business Worldwide Podcast
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The Music Business Worldwide Podcast

Author: Music Business Worldwide

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Music Business Worldwide (MBW) is the leading information and jobs service for the global music industry. The MBW Podcast profiles some of the brightest sparks – and most successful executives – working in the global business today. Recent interviews include: Kerry Trainor, CEO of SoundCloud; Steve Stoute, CEO of Google-backed UnitedMasters; Milana Rabkin Lewis, CEO of $12m-backed Stem; Daniel Glass, CEO of Glassnote Records; and Justin Tranter, songwriter for artists like Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony, John Legend and Gwen Stefani.
18 Episodes
Troy Carter has seen the music business from all sides. He was the manager of superstar artists like Lady Gaga and Eve at Los Angeles-based Atom Factory; he was also an early investor in Spotify, Uber and Lyft.In 2016, he joined Spotify full-time as the platform's global head of Creator Services, with a direct line into Spotify CEO & founder, Daniel Ek.  There, Carter helped transform the record industry into a streaming-led future, while bringing Spotify closer than ever to artists.In 2018, Carter left Spotify before launching his distribution, services and tech company, Q&A, the following year. Q&A services major-league independent artists such as Pink Sweat$.In April 2019, Carter announced that Q&A had merged with J.Erving's Human Re-Sources, a fellow independent artist services and distribution company with particular success in hip-hop. In December 2020, Q&A and Sony announced that Sony Music / The Orchard had acquired Human Re-Sources from Q&A, bringing in J.Erving as an EVP of the major record company.
On paper, Richard "Biff" Stannard is having one of the toughest years of his life. But music, as it has time and time again, has steered him away from the shadows – and towards celebration.Stannard says that his songwriting style has always been to "write myself happy". This approach has led to him writing and producing some of the fizziest and most successful pop songs of all time, including a run of Spice Girls' hits such as Wannabe – a timeless No.1 record in both the US and the UK."Writing himself happy" is also a big part of how Stannard has dealt with mental health issues across his whole life. That life began in East London in 1966, in a house typified, he says, by an "environment of hyper-masculine men". Stannard had a troubled relationship with his father, a boxer, who didn't take kindly to his son's childhood love of music.In this candid MBW Podcast, Stannard discusses his personal journey, including his early relationship with British maverick impresario, Tom Watkins, who gave the songwriter his break working with boyband East 17 in the 1990s. Watkins sadly died earlier this year – as did Stannard's mother, at 91. Stannard says his mom was particularly "protective" of him during his youth, and the only member of his immediate family that didn't discourage his love of music and creativity. That's not the only trauma Stannard has faced in the past 12 months, either. Having re-invented himself as a weight-lifter – replete with muscles like beach balls – Stannard broke the UK record for bench-press in his age category during a competition. He walked off stage jubilant, an official master of yet another discipline... before suffering a life-changing heart attack.This narrative, though – again, thanks to music – has a happy ending. Stannard has co-written two singles on Kylie Minogue's DISCO, which has just become the UK's fastest-selling album of 2020, even outstripping the first-week performances of new records from superstars like Lady Gaga.As such, DISCO is Stannard's biggest career success since he co-wrote and produced Ellie Goulding's worldwide hit Lights six years ago – and the beginning of a new chapter in his book of triumphs.Kylie has been a constant collaborator in Stannard's career, which has seen him work with everyone from U2 to Little Mix, One Direction and Leona Lewis – and win both Ivor Novello and ASCAP Awards.
Is Larry Mestel about to raise a billion dollars? Don't bet against it.Mestel's Primary Wave has already raised over $800m in the past four years via two IP funds: a $300m fund in 2016, backed by Black Rock, and a further $500m-plus fund launched last year.This money has been used by Primary Wave to acquire assets that live up to the company's billing as "the home of legends". As such, Primary Wave now owns substantial stakes in the song catalogs of the likes of Ray Charles, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, Smokey Robinson and the Four Seasons.Now, Mestel tells the MBW Podcast that Primary Wave is plotting an additional raise of equity that will be "significantly bigger" than those that have come before – although he's remaining tight-lipped on what form this might take.Other topics covered in this discussion between Mestel and MBW founder, Tim Ingham, include Primary Wave's record label-esque approach to marketing,  why the firm might consider a fundraise on the stock exchange, and the fiercely competitive modern music rights acquisition marketplace. 
Jason Boyd aka Poo Bear is one of the most successful songwriters working in the modern US pop music industry.During a storied and Grammy-winning career, he's written and/or produced tracks for the likes of Pink, User, Lupe Fiasco, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and Ty Dolla Sign. He's perhaps best known as a long-time collaborator of Justin Bieber, for whom Poo Bear has co-written hits like What Do You Mean?, Where Are U Now? (with Jack U) and Yummy, as well as working on Bieber's record-breaking remix of Despacito in 2017.Poo Bear is now readying his own new solo album (set to be released via Platoon), Bars & Guitars – a follow-up to 2018's Poo Bear Presents... Bearthday Music, which featured the likes of Bieber, Jennifer Lopez and Zara Larsson.We talk songwriting, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, getting ripped off by the music business and much more.
Mattias Tengblad is co-founder and CEO of Stockholm-based Corite, which believes it can revolutionize the way artists generate money from their recorded music.Corite is, at first glance, a simple digital distributor, in the same core space as TuneCore, CD Baby, United Masters, Ditto etc. But it has a key difference: Corite enables fans to directly invest in artists themselves  – and then take a share of money paid out to these artists from future streaming royalties. As such, it enables fans to collectively act like a record label, financing artist campaigns while financially benefitting from an act's success.Tengblad previously worked in eSports (as Head of Digital Development at MTG) as well as spending nearly five years at Universal Music Group as Commercial Director in Sweden, where he launched both UMG's flagship playlist brand, Digster, and the major's own DIY upload service, Spinnup.Corite released its platform in beta in October 2019, and has since run over 25 campaigns that have raised over $30,000 for artists during its Swedish pilot. In the past two months, it has launched out of beta in Europe and raised an inside seed round to fund its growth.
Dooney Battle is CEO & Founder of Tha Lights Global – a record label, publisher and artist management company whose clients include Dominic Fike and Lil Pump.Lil Pump previously signed to Warner Records in an $8m deal but now, two albums on, is back independent and releasing with Tha Lights Global direct, via distributor Vydia. Battle initially built Tha Lights Global as a home for social media influencers, especially on Musical-ly – the karaoke app which would go on to power TikTok.Here, Battle explains why Tha Lights Global and Lil Pump have spurned major record company offers to stay indie this time around – and what he’s learned from his time in the business so far...
Merck Mercuriadis is Founder & CEO of UK-based Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which has acquired songs – or pieces of songs – that have fuelled hits like Rihanna's Umbrella, Al Green's Let's Stay Together, Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You, Beyoncé's Single Ladies, The Chainsmokers' Closer and many more. Hipgnosis floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2018 and, according to Mercuriadis, as of April 2020, has spent over a billion dollars acquiring music catalogs.
Steve Stoute is the founder and CEO of UnitedMasters – the US-based music distribution and services platform that in 2017 raised $70 million from backers including Google/Alphabet and 20th Century Fox.UnitedMasters has signed brand partnership deals with the likes of the NBA and Apple Music, while helping break artists like NLE Choppa who – according to Stoute – signed an $8 million deal with Warner Records last year.Stoute knows about the major label world: he's the ex-President of Urban Music at both Interscope and Sony Music, and rose to EVP at the former company.On the podcast, Stoute explains why COVID-19 lockdown presents an opportunity for independent artists, why in his view modern record labels are over-spending and playing a "lottery" game with their money, and where UnitedMasters is going next.
Stem is one of the most talked-about companies in music distribution. The Los Angeles-based company was founded by Milana Rabkin Lewis (pictured) in 2015, and has raised over $12m to date, reportedly from figures including Scooter Braun and Mark Cuban. Here, Rabkin Lewis sets out Stem's vision for the future of the music industry, and explains why Stem quit DIY distribution last year to focus on making tools – particularly financial tools – for VIP artists.
David Israelite is President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA).The NMPA is up in arms over the fact that Spotify and Amazon - in addition to Google and Pandora – are objecting to a ruling offering songwriters a streaming pay rise in the United States.Apple Music has declined to oppose the royalty rate rise, which has been decided by the Copyright Royalty Board.David explains: "[Spotify and Amazon] have shown their true colors. They don't respect songwriters, they are attacking songwriters to try to cut what they pay them. It's time for everybody to rise up and say: enough."
An exclusive interview with SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor on the MBW Podcast. Trainor, who took charge of SoundCloud in August 2017, discusses a range of topics with MBW, including SoundCloud's power for emerging artists, the company's financial health, his hopes for the future of the industry and Spotify's recent flotation on the New York Stock Exchange.
An interview with Justin Tranter, one of the most in-demand pop songwriters in the world today. Tranter has written hits for the likes of Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears.
An interview with Mike Caren, the founder of APG.Mike Caren started his career in A&R 21 years ago, aged 17, at Atlantic subsidiary Big Beat Records. Since then, he has signed or co-signed over 20 artists that have achieved gold or platinum status.From 2009 to 2012, he served as Co-President alongside John Janick of the relaunched Elektra Records (Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Cee Lo Green).He established Artist Partners Group in 2013 as a sister company to Artist Publishing Group, which is administered by Warner/Chappell.In addition to APG, he has a global remit as Warner Music Group’s Creative Officer.
From John Lennon to Ray Davies, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer and One Direction, New York-born Downtown Music Publishing represents some of the most valuable and beloved songwriting copyrights in existence. Justin Kalifowitz is the New York firm's founder and CEO.
Creation Records/Management founder Alan McGee discusses his new label, as well as Creation, Oasis, Primal Scream and working with the major labels. 
Chrysalis co-founder Chris Wright discusses his career, the major labels and how it feels to sell a music biz legend. 
Glassnote Entertainment Group founder Daniel Glass discusses his career and working with artists such as Mumford & Sons and Phoenix. 
Former Sony Music UK, Island Records and EMI boss Nick Gatfield discusses his career and his new venture, Twin Music Inc. 
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