Rich is focused on building his business as a booking agent with Midnight Mango while living in the Czech Republic balancing family life and fun stuff.
Rich, what brought you to Midnight Mango?
I’ve been in and around the music industry for some time, having worked as a press officer straight out of university, but even at the age of 14, I was organising older teenagers who could drive to take me to gigs. After a brief spell in the tourism industry, I fell back into the music world by becoming an agent for The Undercover Hippy, whose album I helped crowdfund. It progressed from there as people put me in touch with others and I’ve now been a booking agent for about ten years.
It’s not easy working on your own all of the time though and going to conferences by yourself is quite a challenge. It’s much easier to forge links and be more effective for business when you go as a team to events. I knew Matt, Pip and Ethan already. I liked them and they’re usually open to ideas – that was a big part of the decision to work closer with them. I realised they would give me a good support network.
The accounts and training support offered was a really big thing for me because I’m really not brilliant at accounts (and they’re boring) – but that’s all now taken care of through the Midnight Mango software platform. The booking software is great too, even for people who don’t like booking software! I’m a continual learner and happy to adapt.
“it’s much easier to forge links and be more effective for business when you go as a team to events”
How’s it working out for you?
I like it very much. I like the risk and reward of the role and the occasional large reward. Shows are still getting cancelled due to Covid across Europe unfortunately, so income has been hit, but I’ve got transparency on this and can plan for it. I like that I’ve still got all the flexibility I need to earn a good living while continuing to live in Prague and work around my family and fun stuff. Plus I get to go to a lot of gigs and events – that’s the wonderful thing about the music industry, all the free tickets!
What kind of bands do you like to work with?
Creatively, I’m like to diversify and work with a spectrum of genres but currently I’m moving more towards kind of alternative chilled world music and experimental stuff that pushes the boundaries.
From a business perspective, I’m focused on moving in the direction of working with bigger, more established bands that have already toured rather than those just starting out. I’m not afraid to be proactive and knock on doors but the Midnight Mango association definitely helps opens the doors to the kind of acts I want to work with. Some artists are recommended to me and some I proactively research and approach.
“the Midnight Mango association definitely helps opens the doors to the kind of acts I want to work with”
What advice would you give someone considering joining the Midnight Mango team?
Musical knowledge is key of course. If you’re new to being an agent then perhaps be prepared to work with artists that aren’t going to make you a lot of money to begin with, there’s knowledge that needs to be gained only by experience.
If you’re a newbie to the industry, accept that you’re going to make mistakes so maybe consider starting as an assistant with the aim of developing your skills along the career path to becoming an agent. You’ll build industry knowledge and technical knowledge through the structured software training provided.
Also, know that the day never ends. For every email you send, you’ll get ten back and they don’t come in 9 to 5 so it can be tough for mental health. But, in every bit of chaos, there’s opportunity. That’s why it’s good to have the support of the others around you to work through it, like you do at Midnight Mango.
“in every bit of chaos, there’s opportunity”
Who would you love to have on your roster?
First festival Phoenix Festival where I saw Bootsy Collins and Cypress Hill.
Best festival Dreamersland in Poland –unique magical jamming concerts.
First gig Depeche Mode in Birmingham
Best gig (so far) Bedouin Soundclash in Bristol – wild and beautiful