Have you ever wondered what goes through someone’s head sometimes? Have you ever really thought about the process of becoming a star, or how much work goes into putting on a show? Well, thanks to DJ Ron Slomowicz, (about. com) we get a little peak into the management side of the Dance Music community. He recently sat down with artist/producer/DJ manager Gary Salzman from Big Management to talk about the Amsterdam Dance Event and its effect on the electronic dance music world. Here’s the interview below. Source
DJ Ron Slomowicz: Why do you go to ADE?
Gary Salzman:I go to ADE so I can meet my partners from around the world. We have the #1 youth TV music show in Latin America and Chris Willis signed to 15 record labels throughout the world, territory by territory, So, this convention is very useful.
RS: What are you looking for?
Gary Salzman:I’m not really looking for anything, just to meet all the labels that we work with, and talk to everyone about what I’m working with and what they’re working on. Its information. It’s face to face, to have a drink, a cup of coffee or some dinner in a relaxed setting with people you do business with.
RS: How aggressively do you set up meetings? Every 15 or 30 minutes?
Gary Salzman:Every 30 minutes. I want time to get from one to the other. I don’t want to run behind and if we get into an in depth, interesting discussion about a possible license, I’d like to have the time to talk about it.
RS: How selective are you with meetings? Will you accept a meeting request from anyone who contacts you?
Gary Salzman:I really don’t accept meetings from people I don’t know, people I don’t want to know or know of. There’s more then enough time to meet people while we’re passing, drinking and partying. It’s just too busy.
RS: What meetings do you personally go after?
Gary Salzman:I don’t go “after” meetings. The people who want to meet with me know me, and they know why they want to meet with me. If you’re talking about making sure that I see all of the labels that I have artists signed to, then I go after those meetings.
RS: When meeting with artists, what do you look for?
Gary Salzman:I don’t hold a lot of artist meetings. If someone has sent me a demo that blows me away, I’ve probably made contact with them already. I have a new artist out of Latvia that I’m very, very excited about because she’s got such an amazing voice, writes and is an excellent performer. She just came up to me and met me at another convention and made sure that I sat down with her and listened and talked. Without that, I probably never would have met with her. Artists have it very hard. They have to be able to accept the word “no” thrown at them constantly and work through it. I like to hear a record first that I really, really like before I sit down with someone.
RS: Do you only look for completely finished projects? If you hear a really cool track would you get involved with the project and find a top line singer/songwriter?
Gary Salzman:Your reference is interesting because that’s one of the things that I look for in my meetings with the people I know. I have top line people who I want writing for Tool Room and other exceptional labels, so that’s one of the specific things we all talk about. But I don’t know that I would do that with a label that I don’t know. I would take it much slower and see how they work first so I know what I’m getting into.
RS: At ADE, is there often pressure to make immediate decisions?
Gary Salzman:Not really. I think that’s a characteristic of Midem years ago. There aren’t that many labels that there are six people in one territory competing for anything. Besides, I think pressure is imagined. You’re looking to talk to people, do business with people. Why would you put yourself in a situation where you have to make a spot decision or lose?
RS: If you were pitched an amazing song that didn’t have an artist attached, would you still be interested? How about a studio project?
Gary Salzman:It’s rare that I hear a song and just get blown away. They are so few and far between…..but if I did, I would be interested. As for studio projects, I don’t love them.
RS: When you take on a project, is it strictly for the US? Or do you look for worldwide deals or is it specific to the project?
Gary Salzman: It’s specific to the project and what they want me to do. I very rarely take on a management project just for the U.S. It would have to be a very special management project. But I’ll promote just for the U.S. all the time. We do a lot of radio promotion and other types of promotions without managing the clients. Those we take territory by territory.
RS: How full is the your pipeline? Are releases scheduled three to six months out? If you find an amazing project at ADE, when would it get released in the US?
Gary Salzman:If we found an amazing project anywhere, it would be scheduled specifically how that project needed to be scheduled. I can’t imagine putting something out in four weeks … it just doesn’t happen. But we would find a spot for any amazing project we’d find. That said, we have a very heavy pipeline. Between our projects and our partners’ projects, like Randy Jackson’s label, Chris Willis’ single/label, we have a lot coming. We’re easily scheduled four to six months in advance.
RS: If a track is already selling on Beatport, does that affect your interest? Specifically, by its initial buzz vs. potential lost sales?
Gary Salzman:That’s not the type of company we are. We’re a management company that does radio promotion, club marketing and publishing. If something’s on Beatport, it usually has nothing to do with what we’re doing. Beatport is not a vocal-oriented medium. It’s a dj-oriented medium and it’s very underground. Our records have to work to a larger audience.
RS: What’s the biggest project or song that you’ve discovered from ADE?
Gary Salzman:I really haven’t discovered those at ADE. It’s more about meeting people who we already work with and getting our plots coordinated for the upcoming year. It’s more about making sure we’re all on the same page with Chris Willis and our other clients then discovering something.
RS: What effect do you think ADE has had with the current Dutch dance music movement with producers such as Afrojack, Chuckie and Fedde, etc. ?
Gary Salzman:ADE is huge…….I think it’s more because of the Dutch dance movement then the other way around. I also think it’s taken over from WMC as a place to do business.
RS: Aside from Romania and Netherlands, what countries do you think are developing a dance music scene and sound that is ready for a global movement or success in the US?
Gary Salzman:I always look at Italy and the UK for what they’re doing because their product usually does well in the U.S. Historically they’ve been very successful territories coming over to the U.S.
RS: What advice do you have for people attending ADE for the first time?
Gary Salzman:If you’re attending for the first time, hopefully, you did some homework and set yourself up with meetings of people you wanted to see. If you didn’t….just give out cards and talk to absolutely everyone! You never know who you’re going to meet.
RS: When you see US people attending ADE, does that change your perspective of them? In particular, does it change your perspective about the more serious in their craft or business?
Gary Salzman:No. Why would it? Each of us, have to find our own way towards success. We all need working business models. It’s just another convention. Get in, go to your meetings and have a great evening. Why would going or not going to a convention make them more serious or less serious?
RS: What do you think is the perception of American/US dance music at ADE?
Gary Salzman:I have no thoughts on perceptions. I don’t care about them. People spend too much time thinking about silly things like that. Who cares? How does it help you? I want to make records, I want to get my artists, producers and writers out there and working. Who cares what other people think?
RS: Do you bring US artists/projects to ADE to try to license to other European labels?
Gary Salzman:I bring projects and links and songs to ADE. When I arrive with an artist it’s to have a dinner or do a performance. It’s to have them meet their partners, kiss babies and throw snowballs, but not to put them in a place where people are going to say no to their face. Let them say yes or no to me. Let’s license or not license. But don’t bring someone in here to get hit with disappointment. That’s what a manager is for.
RS: The Chris WIllis project is one of your current priorities. At ADE, what do you hope to accomplish with regard to this artist?
Gary Salzman: We want to schedule the new release, to set him up with other co-writers, to talk with DJ’s about future projects, etc. The more the merrier. We’re specifically coming in to license the new Randy Jackson Project of Gladys Knight and all of the other things I described earlier.