Daniel Glass on A&R, Apple Music, Mumfords and the majors


The August edition of the Music Business Worldwide podcast is now live, featuring an interview with special guest Daniel Glass.

Once again, it’s barely half an hour long and is stuffed with wisdom. Listen here:

The MBW podcast is supported by CI, experts in digital music delivery since 2003. Renowned for reliability and superfast delivery to Apple Music, Spotify, Google, Amazon and dozens of other digital music platforms, CI are a trusted partner for many of  the biggest independent labels,  distributors and aggregators in the world.

Glass is a widely-respected veteran of the music business – one who worked his way up from DJ to plugger to major label kingpin, before risking it all to set out on his own.

Glass moved through the ranks at Chrysalis Records in the 1980s under Chris Wright and Terry Ellis, helping break acts like Sinead O’Connor, Billy Idol and Spandau Ballet in the process.

He then joined SBK/EMI, first as Senior Vice President of Promotion and, eventually, CEO of EMI’s US-based operation.

By the mid-1990s, Glass was headhunted by none other than Doug Morris to run Rising Tide Records – a new label which would later become Universal Records (what ever happened to those guys?).

But it was Glass’s big independent play, founding Glassnote Entertainment Group in 2007, which solidified his reputation as a forward-thinking industry player.

Glassnote’s roster features an array of acts that have refused to compromise their sound for chart hits, but achieved them anyway.

The most famous name on its books remains multi-Grammy-winning UK band Mumford & Sons. But there’s plenty more where that came from, including Phoenix, Childish Gambino, The Temper Trap, Two Door Cinema Club, GIVERS, CHVRCHES and Half Moon Run.

After launching a London office in 2013 to complement Los Angeles and New York HQs, Glassnote – which runs a successful publishing outfit as well as its records operation – has brought through new talent including Tor Miller, Robert DeLong, HOLYCHILD and Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear.

Another of its emerging British acts, Flo Morrissey, is currently starring on Apple Music posters the world over.

In our latest podcast, MBW asks Glass about the difference between the indies and the majors, his approach to artists, his thoughts on new industry platforms like Apple Music and, of course, those extra-special executives that have inspired him.

Some key quotes:

“I wanted to have a legacy… I didn’t ever want to feel we were under the gun to merge or sell. It’s very, very scary when it’s your own money and you’re going out on your own.”

“In the beginning [at Glassnote], we didn’t need an office. We used to go to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. We stayed there for a few months and had our meetings there. Until we got thrown out – they thought we were running a prostitution ring.”

“No-one’s working harder [than Zane Lowe on Beats 1]. I don’t think Zane has slept in three months. He’s delivering a show which is so superb. You can feel the preparation, the entertainment, the discovery… Everyone’s  upping their game.”

[On digital/streaming artist payments.] “I don’t think Taylor Swift is having a hard time… Mumford & Sons are not having a hard time. Childish Gambino had an amazing year. You make great records and they sell – and they stream.”

“Mo Ostin said something to me once, after SBK had sold… Don’t chain-smoke planes. When Prince, Madonna or Michael Stipe call, they want to know that papa is behind his desk. Show up for them – don’t always be where there are artists you haven’t even [signed] yet.”

“Glassnote is family, and that’s not a contrived thing. I wouldn’t sign an artist we wouldn’t have over to our house for lunch or dinner. I don’t need the record that badly, we don’t need the money that badly.”Music Business Worldwide

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  • Harry Inglis

    Very much enjoying these, please make them available in the applestore, so I can grab them on podcast apps & applestore

  • Sonya Gregory-Hayes

    Thanks so much for airing such a great interview. I’m working with an up-and-coming pop/R&B singer/songwriter and she absolutely loves Daniel Glass and the label. She got a little sad that he stated something about pop not being for Glassnote, but I told her that’s o.k., what will be will be. Daniel is still a wealth of info so thank you for sharing and maybe, just maybe he’ll have a change of heart!

  • MusicRX

    Starting a podcast like this was a great addition to the site. I find the music business and the key players endlessly fascinating from the outside looking in. As one that subscribed to Rhapsody at launch and is still with them, as well as Spotify and Rdio, I have been a believer in streaming and what it can do for lesser know artists who’s records the majority of people would never even know about, except that you just happen to come across them in a random playlist someone created (curated) in these streaming services.

    Once these artist start to get a buzz going, millions of streaming subscribers can easily check out their work using a streaming service. And, every 150 or so plays from those services= the revenue of a track download.

    Streaming is perpetual revenue from millions of people and playlists, downloads are limited revenue from a much smaller customer base. It’s nice to hear a seasoned music executive believe in and promote streaming services and the fact that they can help push acts to gold and platinum status and that they do actually allow the label to hand the artists royalty payment checks that amaze them.

    Keep the podcasts coming!