Antony Bland and John Mathiason of Candyshop Management - Two Entrepreneurs and Artist Managers Sharing Stories and Lessons from 50+ Years of Combined Music Industry Experience

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When it comes to artist management, there are many different company structures, philosophies on best practices, and overall completely different approaches to managing an artist’s career. Also, artist managers and promoters, are pretty much the only ones that can get right into the industry without any proper training or education. Sure to the most part, someone can start an agency, label, PR firm, or publishing company in their bedroom, but most of the times for the people out there doing it, that’s not the case. Usually they start with some type of internship, training system, or even need a college degree (for example, entertainment attorney’s). However, if my bestfriend is in a band, I can start managing them today. If I have as little as $500 in my bank account, I can contact an agent and book a show with one of their baby bands, today.


Prior to recording this interview with Antyony Bland, and John Mathiason, we discussed that there is no rule book or system to get into artist management. We all feel very passionate about educating artists and young managers, about different approaches, and how to do what’s best for their artists. The reason this podcast started, was to create the resources for my college students and artists I mentor, that I wish existed when I got started. Antony Bland and John Mathiason are the co-founders and owners of Candyshop Management. Combined the two of them have over 50+ years of experience in the music industry, spending many of their years in artist management, publishing, record labels, marketing, merchandising, and much more. In this episode they both share their journey and lesson with a focus on the importance of education. We discuss artist management, how to become a manager, the success story of the Mowgli’s, merchandising, and much more.

Highlights from this episode
(7:15) Good management philosophy
(18:26) Resources and areas of focus in the music business
(22:58) Common misconceptions on what a manager does
(27:05) First 90 days with a new artist
(33:16) Artist’s bad decisions
(38:10) Candyshop Management beginnings and work
(42:52) The Mowgli’s Story
(49:51) Merch and Publishing
(52:39) Starting with T-Shirts
(58:56) Accessory Items
(1:00:57) How to choose a march company
(1:04:37) Who should be the march seller?
(1:08:20) How and when to have a meet & greet
(1:14:42) How to handle internet trolls
(1:19:09) Publishing
(1:22:50) Advice for emerging managers

Quotes from Antony Bland and John Mathiason
“as managers I think we take the approach that we are always learning something new even though we’ve been doing it for a long time because things change…as a manager, your artist has to look at what they do with you as a try partnership…”
“…you can breakout as an artist without the need of a record label… if you’re smart about the way you run your business and you’re good in terms of your ability on a creative level…”
“we are a society that makes stars out of people who don’t do anything”
“sometimes for us, the first mark of success is when an artist doesn’t have to have a job…”
“I think the biggest misconception for artists is that as soon as they get a manager they don’t have to worry about anything…”
“the social [networks] are the biggest drivers for us in terms of marketing and so we try to figure out what’s the best way to maximize it…we take the first three months to determine where our relationship with an artist is gonna go”
“the worst thing an artist can do for us is lie… Don’t come to us with crazy social numbers and then us finding out that 95% of them are in Shanghai… honesty is very important because if you as the artist are putting out there things that aren’t true, it just makes our jobs more difficult…”
“management is 50% proactive and 50% reactive”
“you have to know your audience..but you also have to be smart about how you’re going out. Merchandise is just as much promotion as it is earnings…”
“if the band hates the shirt and it’s the ugliest shirt you’ve ever seen, that’s usually the biggest selling of the shirts”
“you need a merch seller before you need guitar tech…I’d even put a merch seller before front of house…but you have to have a good one…”
“it is not a perfect science, none of this stuff is perfect and a lot of the times we learn from one experience that can teach us about another experience…”
“[when dealing with internet trolls] don’t engage; as soon as you engage, you’re setting yourself up and there’s nothing that anybody can do at that point. You put yourself in a position where you’re not gonna get anywhere, it’s not an argument its just someone who wants your attention.”
“when you write a song, registering everything with the publishing company is the first thing you should do as soon as you record that song you should start thinking about registering it with Sound Exchange…”
“intern everywhere…the more knowledge you have will set you up to be a manager cause you can go for for a management company but having specific knowledge of how everything works is vital.”
“education is paramount; being able to understand the business, being able to ask other people for advice, being able to share the knowledge I think is the only thing that is going to keep us as managers an keep our artists in a good stop.”

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
CandyShop Management
The Mowgli’s
House Of Blues
Blue Collar
Kevin Devine
Sound Exchange

Get in contact with Candy Shop

Definition of making it
“For an artist, wanting to be the best artist they can possibly be, as we want to be the most successful management company we can be, try to make a successful living out of that and always have fun”

Keep in touch:

Host: Chris Goyzueta (Chris G.) 
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp
Show Notes: Manuel Pachamoro