PROMISE 80, DELIVER 120 — The best advice I’ve ever received was from my dad. He said “promise 80, deliver 120.” For him, as a sports photographer, this meant overdeliver on the amount of great content from each photoshoot. Watching him quite literally break his back to get the perfect picture informed me on how I should approach my work within the entertainment industry. Exceeding expectations helps build your rapport with clients.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Montgomery.
Amanda Montgomery is the Head of Music at CAD Management, an entertainment consulting firm that assists in the development of brands and artists. Amanda leads all A&R, sync, and oversees the roster’s day-to-day management. Amanda also helps build out virtual concerts, marketing plans for record releases, and brand partnerships all remotely fit to COVID-19. She has written for Hypebot, Celebrity Access, and the Fast FWD newsletter, and has also been quoted in Reuter’s, The World Economic Forum, and the New York Times.
A Music Business / Management major at Berklee College of Music, Amanda is the President of the Music Business Club. As President, Amanda coordinates and moderates weekly interviews with industry professionals for students across all majors at Berklee.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I have wanted to perform for as long as I can remember. My family jokes that I used to “chassé” down the basketball court as a little kid. I eventually became involved in my community theater and outside music lessons, but as I grew older, I realized a growing interest around the people whose job was to put the production together, rather than those performing on stage. By the end of my high school career, I was managing two student-run high school A Cappella groups, and was set to attend Berklee College of Music as a Music Business/Management major.
I became President of the Berklee Music Business Club in my third semester. I conducted weekly interviews with industry professionals and organized trips to New York City for students to connect with and learn from companies within the entertainment industry. This gave me streamlined access to industry professionals (and landed me some internships, too!)
A music business club interview was actually how I connected with Clayton Durant, Founder and CEO of CAD Management. I interviewed my now boss via Zoom to discuss virtual event coordination during COVID-19. I soon after joined CAD Management as their Music Management intern, and was recently promoted to Head of Music in September.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
The touring business has been completely upended from COVID-19. Despite all the changes, this represents a new opportunity — touring from the comfort of your home by utilizing digital platforms as the new “stages” to connect with fans around the world. In April, the team at CAD Management and I began to build, produce, and distribute digital tours to help artists connect with their fans while in quarantine.
For example, CAD Management partnered with RZ3 Recordings to build MK xyz’s digital tour to promote her single “Pass It” feat. G-Eazy. The goal was to build MK xyz’s social following, expose new fans to her single and back catalog, as well as build up anticipation for her forthcoming EP. CAD Management booked MK for social media livestreams on platforms such as a MTV, BET, Triller, Bandsintown, #BeApp, and various independent venue social channels. Our digital tour strategy garnered over 26,000,000 impressions to date, with a double digit increase in the artist’s social following.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the habits I used to have coming into CAD Management was over-analyzing the emails I would send to clients. My boss Clay runs a self-managed organization meaning he gives enough direction to get tasks done with flexibility to make the task your own. In the beginning, I can certainly say this leadership style was new for me since much of my past work experience was top down directional leadership. I would in the beginning ask him to read over many of the emails and call him for advice on how to handle client situations. Now, looking back, I am so glad that I went through this process under this self-managed system. It has really forced me to remain “uncomfortable” which in my opinion has been the catalyst to my fast paced professional growth at the firm.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Clayton Durant, CEO of CAD Management, has been an incredible mentor to me. When I started interning at CAD, I was not subjected to coffee and lunch runs. He immediately jumped in trying to build my executive brand — sending out articles I write to be published and giving me notes on how to build out my LinkedIn. What could have been just a summer internship turned into true mentoring and a friendship. I am so grateful for the continued opportunities Clay provides for me, even when he’s spamming my inbox at 2am.
Andrea “Ani” Johnson is another person who has had a profound impact on my professional development. Through Ani’s help and motivation, I continue to provide impactful programming during COVID-19 each week to the Berklee Music Business club members via zoom. Not many professors would attend a student’s club meeting after a long day of teaching, but Ani does. She helps me with outreach to guest speakers & with formulating high quality questions to ask. I simply feel so supported.
Any question I have or advice/support I need, I know I can turn to Clay and Ani. I am extremely fortunate to have people who continues to show up for both my educational and professional endeavors.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
When I think of the idea of disruption, there is no doubt that it is a double-edged sword. For instance, in the music industry, the idea of disruption has come historically in the form of new forms of distribution like Napster which undoubtably disrupted the way the recorded music business would deliver and monetize its product. Today’s big area of disruption is around live music, driven specifically from the quarantine culture of COVID-19. This “disruption” has put incredible financial pressure on independent venues, so much so that NIVA actually noted in a recent report that 90% of independently operated venues across the US will go out of business without some level of government support. On the opposite end of that spectrum, you have a very healthy and historically profitable company like Live Nation showing returns that were year over year 95% drops. This “disruption” has also caused a massive ripple effect of layoffs and furloughs throughout almost all facets of the live business. On the other hand, this disruption has forced the invisible hand of innovation, and through COVID, we as a collective industry have successfully tested the power of virtual touring. It is this inventiveness and willingness to take risk that will absolutely change the way live shows are delivered and monetized in the future. Needless to say, the future of live is a hybrid of physical and digital, brining both options to the market for each show to give fans no matter where they are in the world an opportunity to tune in and catch their favorite live acts.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
PROMISE 80, DELIVER 120
The best advice I’ve ever received was from my dad. He said “promise 80, deliver 120.” For him, as a sports photographer, this meant overdeliver on the amount of great content from each photoshoot. Watching him quite literally break his back to get the perfect picture informed me on how I should approach my work within the entertainment industry. Exceeding expectations helps build your rapport with clients.
KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO
Because it is so important to give each project/client your best work, another great piece of advice I’ve received (and still have trouble with) is knowing when to say no. As a current student at Berklee College of Music and Head of Music at CAD Management, I’ve had many sleepless nights full of Red Bull. The hustle is amazing, but make sure to check in with yourself, be selective in the new projects you’re taking on, and delegate out responsibilities if you can.
LINKEDIN, LINKEDIN, LINKEDIN…
One last piece of advice, especially for current college students, is to build out your LinkedIn. Start following industry professionals who publish think pieces and share their POV. It is a great way to stay in touch with what is happening in the music industry, keep your network updated on projects you’re working on, and start conversations with industry professionals.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I aim to be a mentor for future female disruptors. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to give other students the opportunity to work on cutting edge projects. Applications are now live for two Music Management internship opportunities. I plan to use my platform and resources to develop future music industry executives.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
I am very fortunate that my male co-workers at both CAD and Berklee are very respectful of my time, opinions, and work. That being said, I have experienced clients address my male counterpart despite myself being the point of contact and potentially more educated on the specific matter. Some clients believe that a male presence will move the needle more, despite how educated and experienced the woman is. Like, come on…
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
Professor Butler, J.D., LL.M, is a former record label executive, retired entertainment attorney, and the current Chair of the Music Business Department at Berklee College of Music. In June, Professor Butler launched “The BOMB Podcast”, which stands for Business of Music Bootcamp. Drilling down on the best business and legal practices in the music industry, Professor Butler’s podcast discusses everything from copyright and contracts to high profile lawsuits currently happening within the music industry. I recommend this podcast to all of my colleagues, as well as every independent artist looking to learn about how to protect themselves and their work.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Touring and music festivals are inherently environmentally unconscious, with food waste, the mass-production of concert goods, and air pollution from cars and buses all contributing to a growing carbon footprint. We’re seeing festivals implement green initiatives such as recycling centers and kinetically-powered mobile charging stations. With touring at a halt due to COVID-19, I hope the music industry takes this time to reflect on what changes can be made to make touring more eco-friendly.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Make yourself necessary and you will always be needed. I have always strived to put myself into a position where I was willing to put in the work that others weren’t. The longer hours, chances of failure, and uncertain payoff were never things that bothered me. I always learned and accomplished more by being willing to put myself out there for others, take chances, and explore new uncharted opportunities.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!