Expert Advice: A Red Light artist manager’s strategy post COVID-19

Expert Advice: A Red Light artist manager’s strategy post COVID-19

In our mission to keep artists inspired and informed as the industry recovers from COVID-19, we’ll be sharing a special edition of Expert Advice featuring those on the frontlines of the music business: managers, label runners, and other industry execs.

Our next interview comes from artist manager Peter McGaughrin of Red Light Management, the largest independent music management company in the world. While COVID-19 has all but derailed his plans for 2020, Peter and his roster of artists have focused on using quarantine as a chance to reset and explore. Read on for a recap of our chat and a list of Peter’s suggested resources.

How has Covid-19 impacted your plans for 2020?

Hugely, mainly negatively but also in some ways positively.

Negatively, all IRL interactions are on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Our artists can’t play live probably until the end of this year or beginning of 2021 at the earliest, and we can’t make videos or photoshoots or produce music in a studio setting in the same way. Also, from talking to our artists it seems that the initial wave of “great we’ll have time to be more creative,” has morphed into “without human interaction I’m not sure I have much to be creative about!” The psychological toll is hard in some cases but most people we’re working with are finding a way of making it work.

On the positive side, both we and many of our artists are tapping previously undiscovered reservoirs of creativity and making things we would never have made in ways we never would have imagined before. 

We’re trying to use this forced pause as a “RESET.” We’re looking back at what we did before and working out what we can do better. Never let a crisis go to waste!

How have you and your artists been using your time in quarantine?

As managers we’ve never been busier and our artists are all working away on things 24/7.

Everything Everything have been making their own photography and CGI videos from lockdown and releasing new music. Alfie Templeman has been home producing great new music and livestreaming to fans. Meanwhile, Nilüfer Yanya, Sundara Karma, and Django Django are all being creative in their isolation in terms of making and producing new music and visuals and planning new creative campaigns.

We’re scheduling a huge amount of releases and creative activations as well as releasing a lot of new music at the moment, so it’s super busy. But at the same time we’re finding time for real life where we can!

What is your advice to other artists who are struggling to get through this time?

Don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s not an easy time, however you get through it (as long as you get through it) is just fine. Pause, think and try to use this time to do things you’ve never done before and think in ways you’ve never thought. You are not alone and no-one is “doing just fine.” We’re all in different states of activation and contemplation, everyone has a different process.

Give yourself a break, but when you feel creative or productive grab that moment with both hands.

In particular, at the moment we’re getting a lot of joy and energy from releasing music right now. There’s a new normal to take advantage of where, if you have music you’re proud of, you can just get it out and keep building connections and momentum in the world – releasing great music has never had more opportunities than now.

What are some resources you recommend to the SoundCloud community?

  • Doing fitness routines while watching “Friends”
  • Baking bread
  • Making tea
  • Playing Shot in the Dark
  • Watching The Last Dance
  • Sneaking out late and night cycling around a sleeping city
  • Dreaming vividly

Peter McGaughrin is an artist manager at Red Light Management in London working with artists such as Alfie Templeman, Django Django, Everything Everything, Frightened Rabbit, Nilüfer Yanya, Pumarosa and Sundara Karma. Peter also co-owns Chess Club Records which is proud to have released first music by artists such as Jungle, Wolf Alice, Mumford & Sons, , Billie Marten, Easy Life and Alfie Templeman.