Cliff Burnstein & Peter Mensch: The 2014 Billboard Power 100
NO. 60

Cliff Burnstein & Peter Mensch

Owners, Q Prime

As labels have cut back, Q Prime has stepped up to champion its artists with a range of services and financing options

“I don’t have any influence or power if my records aren’t any good,” says Peter Mensch, who co-owns artist management firm Q Prime with Cliff Burnstein. “It’s all about the music for us.”

That simple approach has helped grow Q Prime into one of the strongest independent management firms since being founded in 1982. With offices in New York, London and Nashville, the company’s 22-act roster includ-es Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, the Black Keys, Snow Patrol and Eric Church.

Q Prime is “highly selective” about the artists it works with, Mensch says, adding that the company doesn’t “trade out favors” or “pimp our acts out.” To ensure the firm’s roster is getting the proper exposure in the marketplace, the duo has focused on staffing up Q Prime with all the amenities one would find at a label, including more than a dozen in-house radio promotion people and others who focus on digital, marketing and sales. “More and more, record companies become less helpful,” Mensch says. “We feel we have to step up.”

The strategy has proved beneficial. The firm’s acts reigned atop Billboard’s Alternative chart with two No. 1s in 2013: Muse’s record 19-week No. 1 “Madness” and Cage the Elephant’s “Come a Little Closer.”

The company has also started financing new albums from clients that are coming off label deals, beginning last year with Los Angeles folk-rock band Dawes. After a two-album deal with ATO Records, Dawes decided to partner with Q Prime on third album Stories Don’t End.