The following MBW blog comes from Annette Barrett, MD of Reservoir/Reverb Music (pictured, main). Over a 30-year career in music publishing, the British exec has worked with artists including George Michael, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Prince, Sting, and The Police – including stints at Virgin Music and Warner/Chappell. Since 2001, she has been MD of Reverb, which was acquired by New York-based Reservoir in 2012. The firm’s roster includes Ina Wroldsen, Lucy Rose, and Apollo 440.
‘Where do you discover the talent you sign?’
You would be hard-pressed to find an A&R executive who hasn’t been asked some version of this question at least once in their career.
In today’s industry, when outlets for user-generated audio and video content seem to multiply every day, you might presume certain answers to this inquiry:
- ‘I comb Soundcloud extensively.’
- ‘I track the most popular video performances on YouTube.’
- ‘I watch clips of contestants from X Factor and The Voice.’
There’s no doubt that the proliferation of platforms for showcasing talent and gleaning real-time public feedback has been both empowering for aspiring musicians and useful to an industry that, despite its best efforts, cannot predict every success.
Signings and other triumphs from Reservoir/Reverb Music’s own catalog have arisen from online enthusiasm – events for which both the talent and team have been grateful.
In fact, since the first YouTube video of a bedroom performer went viral, the idea of being plucked from obscurity because of a million-view clip or high play-count audio stream has been an alluring best-case-scenario for self-promoting artists and producers, and a seemingly safe bet for those who sign talent.