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:

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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.”

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