MP3.com: How important is it to have a live show together before getting signed?
GA: Very. VERY. You must have a great live show. And I have no interest in bands who look at their shoes! (LOL) In New Zealand, we call them “sand shoe bands.”
MP3.com: Ah...shoegazers... ?
GA: Yes. So, it’s very important...a band needs a live base. At MCA, we call it “crossing the road.” If they can’t cross the road, we don’t want them. Bands must go out and build their base. Not just for my purposes, but for theirs. With a band like Blink 182, only 25 percent of their income is from record royalties. Bands earn more money from merch, live shows and sponsorships...much more than from record royalties. Bands like New Found Glory were successful before I came along. So that is the key to a band’s success.
I have bands on my label who will play to 500 kids and they will take in $300k in merchandising. So there is a business out there. If you just wanna be about the record deal, then please don’t waste our time. If you are going to build your business as a band, and the deal is part of it, then I’m interested. The challenge is to FIND those people.
MP3.com: What are your primary responsibilities, job wise?
GA: Primarily, our responsibility is to deliver the product on time, and on budget, and really, that is a major part of it. Obviously I have to deliver the right acts, sign the right things. That is the business bottom line. I can’t just deliver all my records in January and then check in later for the rest of the year. I have to space the releases out evenly, throughout the rest of the year. It’s all about timing. The right balance. All my decisions have an impact on the band, the company, and all else—or I get fired! (LOL) It’s really that simple.
MP3.com: Do you use the Internet to discover new music?
GA: We always use the Net. We are always looking at your site too, actually.
MP3.com: Good to know! Another question: when emailing a rep, what's the best way to go about approaching them?
GA: Please use your best judgment, however. I can speak for all A&R people when I say, nobody minds getting an email, but people can be obnoxious—emailing everyday, and such. Driving people crazy is not productive. You’ve got to be patient. “Check us out.” We will do so.