Tape: Reaching beyond the British borders

by Brit Es Magazine

We talked to Daniel Cross, one of the directors of TAPE Music, a London music management company, about the reasons behind opening an office in Spain, the bands his company manages and where the industry is heading. But most of all, we talked about our mutual passion — music.

We talked to Daniel Cross, one of the directors of TAPE Music, a London music management company, about the reasons behind opening an office in Spain, the bands his company manages and where the industry is heading. But most of all, we talked about our mutual passion — music.

Daniel Cross, along with Dan Garber, is the director of management company TAPE Music (FEMME, La Shark, Dooks, Josep, Mikko Gordon), and also CEO of music consultancy RecordPlay, where they advise brands on how to use music in marketing and communications.

He is an Irishman who lives in Barcelona via London, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast.

What motivates an English company like Tape Rec to have an office in Barcelona? We have offices in London, Barcelona and Berlin. The hub for us is London, as the UK is such a difficult market to break into as an artist, we feel that you have to have someone on the ground there who’s constantly networking and who’s able to support the artists and represent the company.

Barcelona is a great international centre for us. This is partly down to its very active music scene, and also to the international festivals that are hosted in the city which draw artists and professionals from all over the world.

First and foremost for us is integrity, we don’t want to make promises to artists that we don’t have the resources to fulfil.

You have been working in other European cities and you may have seen people consume music in other languages. How important is the language when you take on a new artist? It’s very challenging to break a new artist into the market, you really need to have all the parts in place including the team, timing and content, we would certainly be making our lives harder if we tried to break a non-English-language act into an English-speaking country. That said, it’s not impossible. Take Sigur Ros for example, their lyrics and language are a mystery to all but themselves. Another positive worth considering is the number of international instrumental artists breaking the UK, John Talabot is a great example, Alizz is making it happen too. Yeah I guess people like Talabot, Pional, Arca (from Venezuela), are making the language or physical location argument obsolete.



Do you think we will be ever see a Spanish artist breaking into the UK market? Even if they have financial support from their label, artists need to make sure they can keep the costs of a live show low so the overheads don’t outweigh the earnings so the tours are more than just a profile booster but also a money spinner.

I see you are looking after some Spanish bands and artists like Stand Up Against Heart Crime or Jose Xorto. When did you say to yourselves, we want these guys on TAPE? How is the response in Spain and in UK?I met SUAHC when I first arrived in Barcelona, we had the capacity to take on a few new artists, they had a recorded album ready to go so we stepped in and supported the campaign, releasing 3 singles and then the album. We had PR support in Spain and the UK, pick up in Spain was solid, but it was challenging to get the band abroad to support promo just based on the costs. I felt they deserved wider coverage for the work they had created.

With Jose, we supported him in recording an EP and helped to promote the singles that had already been released. Spanish national pick up has been great, we have an excellent publicist here (Eneida from Fever Productions) and have had good radio, online and print coverage. He is a versatile artist who, along with Arnau Obiols on drums and Daniele “Raver Jewish” on decks bring a pretty amazing live experience which includes the live set, plus DJing. Their capacity to reach out beyond the Spanish borders is much stronger, in fact they have already played in Bali and are now booked for Hong Kong and Shanghai later this year, and this is definitely something that we need to look at when working with potential new TAPE artists.

I guess you are always on the look for new talent, have you reached the point you just wait for stuff to land on your desk or you like to roll up your sleeves and get down to some grotty bars to see the next big thing? We get a lot of demos sent our way, plus we have a really solid local and international network who keep us updated, its just difficult though because you want to help as many artists as possible but you just don’t have the time. First and foremost for us is integrity, we don’t want to make promises to artists that we don’t have the resources to fulfil. I do, however, love a grotty bar, so checking out new talent is a great excuse for a few “cañas”.

Can you recommend any up-and-coming acts we should keep an eye on? Do you keep an eye on what’s going on in other Spanish cities? We look for artists who we can develop internationally, so if they show up on our radar, it doesn’t really matter where they’re from or which city they’re based in, our other company is a music consultancy and one division of it is called Music Map. We have agents in a number of different countries who keep us posted on new artists and music, so that’s a great way for us to stay in the loop. We just put a playlist of 10 tunes together, there are some bangers in there. But more specifically, I’d say BSN Posse are going to properly kick off this year, and Alizzz has also got some big new tunes on the way.

The clever bands will play fair and not exploit artist for a the short term saving…

The music industry seems to have gone a bit loopy, with the comeback of vinyl, more interest in live music vs fewer places to play, the rise and fall of the music algorithms and the new importance of the music curator… Where do you see it going? Well if you believe Neil Young then the vinyl renaissance is a flash in the pan born out of a mixture of nostalgia and novelty merchandise… I think there will always be commercial provision made for the audiophiles who demand the highest possible sound integrity, hence the likes of PONO and other high quality audio digital distribution platforms. However saying that, people love free stuff so streaming services will continue to blossom new platforms, though expect consolidation and if I were Spotify, Deezer, Mixradio or Pandora, I would be deeply anxious about Apple’s next move…

On a positive note, streaming is gradually nullifying piracy and opening up new markets which have historically been dead when it comes to monetising music through digital sales, so that’s a good thing.
I also think the importance of the curator will increase, especially as price and access to digital music-making equipment means anyone can be a musician, we need someone or something we trust to guide through the millions of songs out there. Going back to Apple, they just appointed Zane Lowe in some capacity in their radio department — that for me seems like a big statement.

Commercially, the value of brand connections and music in advertising will increase, this is an area which has become a lifeline for many artists, especially in the downturn of sales revenue. The clever brands will play fair and they won’t explot artists just to make a short-term saving…something we feel strongly about.

Damn, there’s loads of change all the time, ask me again this time next week!

And finally, What was the album you will associate the most with 2014? Well, there was a handful, but for me it was a year of debuts…

Glass Animals’ debut was amazing.
Nick Mulvey’s debut was amazing.
Jungle’s debut was amazing. 
Daniel Avery’s debut was amazing.
Chet Faker’s debut was amazing.

Loads and loads of great new music!


Official Site: www.taperec.com

Cover image: La Shark: www.taperec.com/artists/la-shark/

Daniel has started a Barcelona networking group, by invitation only: www.linkedin.com/groups?mostRecent=&gid=8260465&trk=my_groupstileflipgrp

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