The Board of Directors of the MMF-US took a long hard look at what was imbalanced about the manager/artist side of the music industry. We scrutinized what we have been able to do the last few years, what the MMF as an association should aim to do in the future, and even what any individual manager could hope to do to make a 'more level playing field.' Everything pointed towards a need for one fundamental factor to change before most other efforts are going to have any enduring effect. We need to be more unified. Whether within one state in the U.S., one region of North America or in the entire world, there are career development conditions that affect every manager and artist — and these conditions deserve to be better than they are.
How do we coordinate and become a stronger, more cohesive check to the other well-developed powers in the music industry?
In the U.S., we need to overcome the geographic challenge that spans our vast countryside. The MMF-US, rather than revolving around New York City as it has, needs to grow as a hub with spokes in every major city and region in which managers and artists are based. Managers need to organize themselves in their respective regions, to share ideas and concerns, and to become a part of the greater communication network.
The MMF-US in NYC has positioned itself to act as the unifying clearinghouse for all of these regional groups. We can organize manager-related events such as the ones this month at SXSW, we can give guidance and advice, we can compare notes, we can provide a central website to instantly make the network of information accessible — with all of this we can work towards a cohesive mandate for managers and artists throughout the country. Then, with a powerful focus and establishment as a national force, we can conduct ourselves with more confidence and efficacy as part of the international MMF presence.
Fortunately, we have some great examples to learn from in our MMF-colleagues across the Atlantic. As not only the initial impetus for the MMF idea, but also as gleaming proof of how effective it can become, the MMF-UK has provided help to the MMF-US in building its structure. These words from founder & Chairman of the MMF-UK, Dennis Muirhead articulate basic principles that are hard to ignore no matter what your management perspective:
"Until the formation of the MMF, music managers were the only part of the industry that did not have their own association. They had to work alone, play alone, make mistakes alone and negotiate with powerful multi nationals\ on their own. There were no means of sharing and learning from the experiences of other managers, no forum for discussing common problems or concerns and no specific formal training — just learning from their own mistakes.
New technology, new legislation and the growing strength of the multi-national record industry has made it more important than ever for individuals to work together if they want to have a say in how the music business develops over the next few years.
While our primary aim is to redress the imbalance in the relationship between the artists we represent and the music industry, we also recognise that both sides must work together to achieve future prosperity. But the MMF thinks that cooperation between its members and the major companies can only take place if artists are treated fairly."
We hope you will join and participate in the MMF and we hope to hear from those of you who, like Boston has done, are coordinating with other regional managers to build the supports that the national structure must have.