Paul, as the president of the most important musicians association of Europe (International Artist Organization), you had in 2015 the opportunity to meet with the most important representatives of the UNESCO, the European Parliament in Brussels and of highly influential people of the music industry in Washington DC. Can musicians still live from their recordings - or is it all thanks to concerts and events?
I think musicians have always lived from a blend of different income streams around their work – live, recorded, merchandise etc – it is become more and more complicated in the digital world as there are more possibilities – but each individual possibility does in fact tend to pay less. As always therefore, it is a careful balancing act to try to keep a good and consistent outcome. The key thing is to remember not to allow all the business side to control the art – that must always come first, have integrity and be authentic.
You meet with superstars like Stevie Wonder to fight for their music rights. What is the biggest concern of the musicians and what challenges need to be addressed today and for the future?
The only essential relationship in music is between performer and listener – if all the industry disappeared, people would still be playing music to people who would still be enjoying it. Everything in the middle that makes the business work should add value to that relationship and enhance it in some way. At the moment we are in a transformational moment for the music industry with the shift to digital and streaming. Artists are most concerned to make sure that the future is well-balanced in terms of outcomes for both creators and consumers as well, of course, as all the commercial partners that help bring us together.
As the manager of the event band "The AllStars Collective" you have been booked for the Hollywood wedding of the decade in Italy or you gave concerts during Private First Class Events in India in unique temples. In addition you are consulted by Stevie Wonder or Quincy Jones for music recordings as a trusted partner and friend or are enchanting the audience during New Year’s Eve at The Dolder Grand. What distinguishes a really good Event-band?
Music has a lot to do with context – where you are playing, when and to whom – the whole environment in which the event takes place. The best artists and bands are instinctively in tune with the environment and feel the right way for the party to go – they are flexible and responsive which makes the party feel like ‘everyone together’ rather than band and guests as ‘us and them’. This philosophy is the same in any environment and if you can apply it every time you perform, it is good place to start!
What is in your opinion the difference between a good event and a special event?
Detail. Every party since the dawn of time has some pretty standard elements – food, drink, music...what makes the difference is giving the event a real and individual personality and that is down to the skill and finesse of the team responsible for taking the vision for the event and bringing it to life.
In Switzerland there are Event agencies in abundance. How is the situation in England? Is there a major difference?
There are of course many people attracted by the apparent glamour of the music and events industries but it is a hard job with the need to absorb a lot of information and be able to work at the same time in an artistic and technical way. It is also very high pressure as you cannot go back and do the party again if it does not go according to plan. For this reason, many people try, but relatively few succeed at being really great Events Organisations. I think in every market there are a handful that are not just good, but great.
Paul, we would like to thank you for your time, your remarks and the interesting conversation and wish you all the very best for the year 2016.
My pleasure – and thank you for inviting me to do the interview! Best wishes to you and your team for a fun and successful 2016!