We spoke to Lynn Cosgrave, the founder of Safehouse Management, and asked her a few questions about the music industry, specifically how to nurture your talent and increase your following.
With offices in London, Uruguay, and Spain (Ibiza and mainland), Safehouse manages a diverse selection of electronic artists around the world. The agency was founded by Ian Hindmarsh and Lynn Cosgrave after the closure of Cosmack and Trust the DJ in 2004. More than just a management and booking agency, Safehouse also does recordings and remixes, events, PR, tour management, and sponsorship.
Is it possible to fast track the success of a talented DJ with the right connections/management, or is it largely up to hard work and a bit of Luck?
LC: Talent is the number one asset for any DJ, being able to innovate, read the crowd, and be flexible to an extent in their music while having a great attitude. A smile gets you a long way. Good management is essential in nurturing the talent, which in turn guides the artist to make the right decisions, which in the long run, with a little luck, means success! It’s a mixture of all three. Rather than fast tracking it’s more about long-term commitment and graft. Things that burn quickly die out fast.
What advice would you give to a DJ just starting out?
LC: Don’t give up, it can be a slog at first, it’s a saturated market so try and stand out from the crowd, keep producing, keep playing out, try to be open minded but also do not lose your integrity. A great way to build up your skill & notoriety is if you can hold a residency; it’s a great way test out new tracks on the crowd, learn to support or close for a variety of headline acts, network like crazy and get a key following. Lots of headline DJs look back on their residencies with fondness, as this is where they learnt to get to the next level in their career.
How does a DJ get on an agent’s books? Do they need to be well-established first?
LC:The most important thing is talent; if a DJ is talented, they stand a better chance. So many mixes and tracks get sent through to the office so a personal approach is often better; don’t just CC in as many contacts that you have dredged from websites. Approach each company individually. The same goes when applying for a job, but your mix is your CV.
How important are social networks in increasing fan reach and engagement?
LC: Very Important. There are numerous ways in which fans interact with talent. I think the most important forum is on the dance floor in the real world. The energy that some DJs and clubs create cannot be re-created on the screen. However, every fan cannot be at every gig so it’s a great way to keep up to date, share music and stories and to feel part of a larger community. Outside of the club, festival or after party, social networks are paramount in engagement. This, twinned with great in-depth press, a solid touring schedule and lots of good production is the key to engagement.
Which social networks do you think are most important for a DJ to be active on?
LC: They are all important in their own way, they need to be managed as a whole. Some work well together, some seem to hate each other. Soundcloud & Mixcloud are very important for sharing music and releases. Facebook is great for promoting events and sharing photos, Twitter is great for little bites and viral chat between DJs and fans and Instagram makes everything look beautiful and cool. Google + also helps your SEO. As long as it’s not too spammy and the content is interesting and catchy, then they all have their benefits.
Is a personal website a necessity?
LC: With the abundance of social media around, it is not a necessity. For more established acts I think that a platform that you have total control over is a good thing. For up & coming acts intimidated by the costs of design and hosting, then blog websites like tumbler can act as an alternative.
Is humility an important factor in long-term success?
LC: Humility is very important. Sometimes you need to shout about what you are doing to get heard over the din, but be careful of becoming a diva.
Are there any tips of the trade you’d like to share?
LC: Believe in karma: you never know when someone you supported will end up supporting you. I used to be billed above Carl Cox on flyers once upon a time. Focus on what you are good at!
Do you have an example of a DJ that has really flourished since you started managing them?
LC: Well, I think my roster stands for itself. I have worked with Carl and John Digweed now for way over 15 years, and people like Nicole Moubaber and Cassy are coming through really strong now too. It is all very exciting.
Here at JustGo, we agree, it is exciting! We want to keep up-and-coming DJ’s informed on how to get the attention they deserve, especially in the increasingly complex online world, which can be crucial to success in the music industry today.
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- Interview with Lynn Cosgrave of Safehouse Management - June 24, 2014
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