Blue Raincoat Music
The BBC’s weekly The Boss collection profiles completely different enterprise leaders from world wide. This week we converse to UK music business veteran Jeremy Lascelles, the co-founder and chief government of Blue Raincoat Music.
Jeremy Lascelles says there was “complete and utter panic” throughout all the file business when unlawful music file sharing took off.
“Individuals had been saying it was the tip of file labels, and that we had higher shut every thing down, and sue completely everybody who was illegally downloading music. Everybody was taking the view that we had been completed.”
Talking at his workplace in central London, he says the explosion of unlawful downloading in 2000 terrified file labels. “It was such an apparent risk to our enterprise mannequin. And for most likely the following 15 years the file business did certainly go right into a tailspin.”
On the time Jeremy was on the council of the BPI, the UK file business’s commerce physique. He was additionally the chief government of music writer Chrysalis Music.
Whereas most of his colleagues on the BPI needed to sue unlawful downloaders, he argued towards it. “The final view was to sue everybody, you recognize, even some granny in Swansea as a result of her grandson had used her pc.
“I believed this was simply insane, that the PR can be catastrophic and the genie was out of the bottle anyway,” he says. “I did not know what the answer was myself, however I knew that threatening individuals was not the way in which to resolve issues.”
Born in London in 1955, Jeremy says he turned obsessive about music from concerning the age of seven. “I had two older brothers, and we would pool our pocket cash to purchase the newest singles or albums. You might get three singles for a quid.”
In his late teenagers he dropped out of college to handle a band fashioned by one among his brothers. “The identify of the group was the International Village Trucking Firm,” he says. “I used to be tasked with reserving them gigs. So I took an enormous bag of two pence items, went to the native telephone field, and simply began calling up pubs that had reside music.”
Jeremy then spent a lot of the 1970s as a tour supervisor for bands together with Curved Air, whose drummer – Steward Copeland – went on to kind The Police.
In 1979 he was supplied a job within the A&R division at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin, the place he stayed for the following 13 years, rising to move that division. A&R stands for “artists and repertoire”, and entails each discovering new expertise, and taking care of the event of a label’s present artists.
Trying again, he says the 1980s was “an ideal interval for British pop music, a special world to at the moment”. Through the decade file gross sales soared, additional fuelled by the introduction of the compact disc, which meant that many music lovers purchased CD variations of albums they already owned on vinyl or cassette.
Throughout his time at Virgin, he labored with acts comparable to Phil Collins, Tradition Membership, the Human League, and Easy Minds.
“I labored very carefully with Phil Collins particularly, and I’ve nothing however good issues to say about him, he’s a stunning man,” says Jeremy. “Even on the top of his success he was fairly insecure. He thought it may all disappear in a single day.
“He used to ship me demos of his songs to take a look at, and he’d say that I used to be the one one who would inform him something apart from the solar shines out of his proverbial.
“And Tradition Membership had been within the workplace on a regular basis. They’d simply flip up unannounced, however you at all times knew once they had been on their approach, as a result of a bunch of their actually devoted followers would arrive about 15 minutes beforehand, and stand outdoors.”
Blue Raincoat Music
In 1992 Jeremy left Virgin shortly after Sir Richard had offered as much as EMI, then the UK’s largest file label. He admits that he and Sir Richard had an enormous falling out over the sale. “Richard had misplaced curiosity within the file label, he was obsessed together with his airline by that time. We had an enormous, ugly row, however that is historical past.”
After working as a advisor for a number of years, in 1994 Jeremy took up the highest job at Chrysalis Music.
Did he suppose that the file business had obtained complacent by the point unlawful music downloads burst onto the scene in 2000? “I do not suppose that we thought the great instances would go on perpetually, however actually we realised that they had been good instances.”
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After plenty of years of actual ache within the business, he says it was successfully saved by Spotify and the opposite streaming companies. “The file business was incapable of considering its approach out of the difficulty, after which music streaming simply fell like a present from the gods.
“Streaming has its critics, but it surely’s only a completely different enterprise mannequin to promoting bodily data,” says Jeremy. “It is a quantity or nickel-and-dime enterprise – tiny margins, however from enormous streaming numbers.
“You do hear arguments from artists that they don’t seem to be incomes some huge cash from streaming, however that’s most likely as a result of they’re caught on previous contracts with their file labels. However if you’re an artist who does direct offers with the streaming platforms then you may make good cash.”
However streaming has significantly diminished the significance of the file labels, he agrees, with energy primarily transferring to the artist administration corporations. “An artist’s supervisor is now on the centre of every thing,” says Jeremy.
Whereas the worldwide file business has seen “a powerful restoration” over the previous 5 years, “we have not but, on a macro degree, re-entered the glory years,” says Tim Ingham, of commerce web site Music Enterprise Worldwide.
“Remember that the annual income of the worldwide file business was basically lower in half between 1999, circa $29bn [£22bn] and 2013, slightly below $15bn,” he says. But with worldwide business revenues topping $19bn final 12 months “there’s loads of cash to be made, and loads of progress forward,” he says.
Since 2014, Jeremy has been chief government of London-based Blue Raincoat Music, which mixes each artist administration and music publishing, alongside working the Chrysalis file label.
“It’s a supply of complete, utter astonishment that I am nonetheless working within the music business after 47 or so years,” he says. “I am nonetheless getting paid to do what is actually my passion. I am a really fortunate man.”