HITS Daily Double
"Hopefully, what we can offer is our relationships, because that’s essentially what this business is all about."
—-Brian Message, ATC, on Polyphonic's strengths


ATC, MAMA Group and Nettwerk Partner in Polyphonic to Invest in Management, Artists
Polyphonic is a venture capitol firm targeting the music business, a joint venture between Radiohead’s Courtyard Management-owned ATC, Adam Driscoll’s MAMA Group and Terry McBride’s Nettwerk Music Group, targeting the U.S., Canada and U.K.

Courtyard’s Brian Message, one of four partners at the Oxford-based management company along with Bryce Edge, Chris Hufford and Craig Newman, stopped by the HITS cesspool to offer us a free download on the company’s prospectus.

Tell me about Polyphonic.
It’s not a label. We’re investing money in artists and their management teams. We’re saying, “OK, you go out there, run your own businesses and preferably keep your copyrights intact.” We’re not offering any services, except for our investment and expertise. It’s up to us to choose the right artists, managers and partners.

I’ve read where you’re proposing a 50/50 split between you and the artist.
There’s one pot that includes all income—touring, merchandising, record sales, publishing—all expenses out the bottom, and then we’ll share the profits. And as it becomes more profitable, and our risk decreases, the artist can earn more.

What kind of bands are you looking for?
We’re not in the superstar game. We’ll be looking at new artists as well as artists that have some traction—that may have already been on a major and gotten a divorce. But we’ll be looking at new artists with great management teams as well. This is not a tax play.

The focus, though, is artists who are currently without a label.
Polyphonic is an alternative. There are plenty of artists and managers who still want to sign with record labels. But there are others who say that’s not the path for them, and want to do something a little different. We will sit down, have meetings and work out an overall strategy together.

Will you use the leverage power of your combined companies in getting things done?
Personally, I’m not a great leverager.

Can the In Rainbows pay-what-you-want model something that can be translated to other bands?
It was never set up as a model for anything else. It was the right thing for that band at that time. Nobody has ever thought beyond that. The thing with Radiohead is, they need to be inspired by the music that they make and the business thing comes way down the line.

How do you break a new band in this crowded environment?
You need to build a level of trust with your audience. You have to give them something. Hopefully, what we can offer is our relationships, because that’s essentially what this business is all about. As part of that mix, something has to be free, something has to be premium… in other words, variable pricing. Both sides have to want to be involved. It’s not about jamming product down people’s throats. It’s a two-way street.