WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
J O N A T H A N D A N I E L
FOUNDER + TALENT MANAGER
NEW YORK CITY
Photograph by Phil Knott
I. The challenge for me with the current music business is that there are existing systems, concepts and rules in place that may not be applicable in the future. Do we really need exclusive bonus tracks when people rarely listen to albums? Is radio research really the best method for deciding what works for radio listeners still? Should artists suffer and not be allowed to have their music everywhere because a corporation that owns labels has a dispute with another corporation? As Joe Strummer so eloquently put it, “The future is unwritten”. Unfortunately we are still bound by an old rule book.
II. Eugene McCarthy once said "Politics is like coaching football. You have to be smart enough to understand how the game is played and dumb enough to think it's important." I think this is true of the music business as well. I love watching team sports: baseball, football and basketball. I imagine if I lived anywhere but North America, I would love soccer. A terrific songwriter named Sam Hollander gave me a gift of a Joe Torre autographed baseball early on in my career and said "you're the skipper!" Joe had just managed the Yankees to many World Series wins at the time. I've modeled what I do after Joe and his counterparts ever since. My job is to inspire my players and devise a strategy to lead the team to victory.
III. What is Wisdom to me? “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” - John Lennon
IV. We need to talk more about transparency. In a digital era, there's no reason royalty statements should be so difficult to read nor should it be so hard to know what a hit song is worth.