"If you're not thinking globally, you're going to miss out": Red Light Management's James Sandom talks strategy

In the new issue of Music Week, Red Light Management’s James Sandom steps up to tackle the Big Interview. With an office in Bristol as well as London and six different US locations, Red Light is the epitome of the modern, multi-faceted management company, with US ancillary businesses ranging from live promotion (Starr Hill Presents), to records (ATO Records), to branded entertainment (Green Light). Music Week asked him about the keys to success, business philosophy and what has and hasn't changed for managers in 2017 and beyond.

In the interview, Sandom said he believes campaigns need a global emphasis to ensure success.

“If you’re not thinking globally, you’re going to miss out,” he said. “There’s a certain path for how people are consuming music. As you build a campaign, it has to be global, because the consumption is global. Obviously, you can have an artist breaking a specific territory, or an established artist selling some records in a specific territory, but as soon as you’re making noise, that noise is global.” 

Sandom also shed light on the overarching philosophy that governs Red Light Management.

“There’s an ethos and philosophy in terms of the type of individual, but not a strict blueprint by any means,” said Sandom. “We’ve tried to bring people in with a range of different experience and expertise. We have a former lawyer, people from A&R, etc. We are building a team – hopefully that means that there should be a good flow of information so we are plugged into all sorts of corners of the industry and media.It’s just [about] finding good people with a good work ethic, with good business ideas that stand up. For Red Light in general, the philosophy is both entrepreneurial and hard-working.”

Sandom also explained that, while the duties of a manager have changed, certain things remain business as usual. Central to this, he believes, is a question of psychology.

“The key with management is, you’re managing artistic characters – they have great creative moments, personality quirks, a certain way of thinking,” said Sandom. “Being able to absorb all of those moments and try to bring a degree of strategic thought and an understanding voice – that’s been the same for 50 years plus. It’s both very fulfilling and very enjoyable when those elements come together to form a greater good. Trying to navigate towards a goal, which you can see, but an artist doesn’t see, that’ll always be the same. And finding an artist with a great song and a unique personality that stands out from the crowd. Any degree of analytics or research cannot account for that.”

To read the full James Sandom cover feature, see this week’s edition of Music Week, or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big music biz story, click here.

Meet Red Light Management's rising stars here and read our interview with company founder Coran Capshaw here

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