What did you wake up thinking about this morning? I woke up thinking about our future U.S. headquarters that we’re building here in New York. I dream about it almost every night. It’s a pretty massive undertaking — three floors in a 150-year-old cast-iron building in SoHo. We bought it almost two years ago and we feel like it’s probably about a year away still, but I’m excited for it to be a new home for the company. Since Beggars first started in the U.S. almost 20 years ago, we’ve always rented a space. We’re at a point now where we want to further establish ourselves, and buying an office really commits us to the market and what we’re doing here in the U.S. It’s pretty exciting, but it’s also a massive amount of work.
Describe a lesson that you’ve learned from a failure. Years ago when I was working in the marketing department here at Beggars, I remember a particularly unpleasant interaction with an artist who was out on the road and was unhappy with the way promo was going and the way records were selling. At that point I learned that when dealing with artists and dealing with people in general in the business, a good dose of honesty and transparency is a really necessary part of maintaining good relationships. It’s much better to be working on the same team with everyone — be they artists, managers, third-party partners or employees — and for everybody to know what’s going on and where we stand. If not, you’re just creating a more complicated situation that you’re going to have to dig yourself out of. There’s never anything to be gained from creating adversarial relationships with people that you need to work with. We’re all working toward the same goal.
What will define your career in the coming year? We’re in the process at Beggars of creating internal systems globally that will run our business into the future. We’re doing a major overhaul to our accounting and sales and royalty systems. The need to supply metadata and that kind of information to support our digital business is becoming more and more important. You have to have the technology that will allow you to meet the needs of an ever-changing market. Developing those systems will be a big part of our approach to new models and new revenue streams going forward.
Name a project that you’re not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past year. The one that’s most impressed me is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They built an audience through hard work and a lot of touring and, obviously, social media tools as opposed to relying on gimmicks. It was a very small team that created something that eventually grew into the juggernaut that is that record.
Name a desert island album. Neil Young’s “On the Beach.” It’s a record that I never get tired of. I love the loose sound and how rough the production is. I can listen to the song “Revolution Blues” over and over again.