For the first instalment of our Women in Sync series in association with global Women in Music network shesaid.so, we chat to the all-female Manners McDade sync team.
Can you tell us a little bit about Manners McDade and what services the company offers?
Catherine Manners: Manners McDade Music Publishing was formed in 2006 to administer the rights from film & TV composers managed by sister company, Manners McDade Artist Management. The publishing roster grew to include composer lead projects and soon became known as a specialist publisher in the field of new classical and electronic music.
What does your roster look like?
Harriet Moss: We have a very particular catalogue that is new classical music and electronic music, with the fabulous melting pot that sits between those two genres. Our roster includes Nils Frahm, Max Cooper, Poppy Ackroyd, Fabric’s Houndstooth label (18+, Snow Ghosts, Throwing Snow) as well as the whole Ghostly International roster for international sync representation. We love working within such a niche genre, particularly one that is continually evolving.
Can you talk us through your all-female sync team? Was it a conscious decision to put together an all-female team?
Catherine Manners: Our first creative hires just happened to be female and then we found that an office of women produced an incredible energy and work ethic in a non-competitive, creative atmosphere.
“We found that an office of women produced an incredible energy and work ethic in a non-competitive, creative atmosphere.”
– Catherine Manners
Ruby Wasmuth (composer manager) manages the day to day business of the composers who write bespoke compositions and regularly deals with TV and film companies across Europe.
Milly Paine (publishing manager) handles incoming sync requests and licenses and manages the relationships with our network of sub-publishers overseas.
Harriet Moss (global creative manager) drives the creative side of the business – proactively seeking out sync opportunities and pitches, building our extensive network of music supervisors, film & TV, advertising and games companies.
Justė Survilaitė (creative assistant) supports the Creative Services department, specifically in the area of marketing and PR.
Catherine Manners (founder and company director) oversees all aspects of the business including contractual and license negotiations.
You work with various agencies across international territories – how does that work?
Milly Paine: We have a network of sub-publishers around the world who advise us on their local rates and collecting society rules. We work hard to maintain good relationships with them by keeping in regular contact via email, newsletters and in person. We provide them with not only the technical information they need but also the creative inspiration they need to promote our catalogue worldwide. It’s important for us that we travel regularly to promote our catalogue ourselves in all major territories to supervisors and agencies. All of this enables us to maintain our reputation as specialists in our niche genre.
Harriet – how did you first get involved in the shesaid.so community? What impact has it had on you and your career?
Harriet Moss: I first noticed their events on Twitter around December 2014, and was recommended the group too by friends, as it’s right up my street! I started to help out with organising almost straight away and then officially helped manage the London community from early 2016. It has been such a joy and an immeasurable part of the last few years of my career.
“Being involved in shesaid.so has been such a joy and an immeasurable part of the last few years of my career.”
– Harriet Moss
We cover all international territories at Manners McDade so there’s a lot of travel involved in what I do, so I love to reach out to women in the group to meet up with them during any free time in their city. I also try to see as many of the women visiting London too, the sense of community we can build is so important and empowering. We definitely have a similar wonderful, empowering atmosphere at Manners McDade.
Can you tell us about a memorable recent sync placement?
Justė Survilaitė: Our artist Alev Lenz’s song “Fall Into Me” (produced by Martin Phipps) accompanied a very powerful moment of the recent Black Mirror’s ‘Hated in the Nation’ episode (now on Netflix). The haunting and suitably surreal track captured the mysterious tone of the scene masterfully.
What advice would you give to female composers and artists trying to make a name for themselves in the industry?
Ruby Wasmuth: Your individuality is key to standing out from the rest, so identify your sound and what makes you unique. Decide which direction you want your career to take and research key contacts in the industry (music supervisors, specialist music publishers), and maintain those relationships. So: find your niche and be confident!
Can you tell us about your recent launch of Cognitive Shift Recordings in partnership with One Little Indian?
Harriet Moss (creative director, Cognitive Shift): In 2016 we launched Cognitive Shift Recordings, a new label for contemporary classical music, with One Little Indian Records (home to Bjork, Asgeir and Tusks), who we’ve always had a relationship with, through repping their catalogue for sync. We wanted to create a home for beautiful music within our genre and pool of composers we work with, and the first release (Roger Goula – Overview Effect) is just that: dark, powerful electronics with stunning strings. We’re releasing everything on vinyl and working really hard to promote it as hard as possible. It’s been a great experience!
As AIM’s Lara Baker recently explained in a post, women are more reluctant than men to speak on industry panels. How can we encourage more women to get involved?
Justė Survilaitė: Start to encourage women in your own environment, to create a confidence-building atmosphere that supports collaboration and active involvement. The next step could be taking part in a global Women in Music network, which is a great opportunity to uplift your successful partnerships, exchange ideas and grow opportunities for women coming into the industry.
“Start to encourage women in your own environment, to create a confidence-building atmosphere that supports collaboration and active involvement.”
– Justė Survilaitė
Harriet Moss: Research panels and talks on your expert topic and go for it! Ask to be on the panel, practice exactly what you’re going to say (even if it’s just your introduction) – that can be so scary if you’ve never said it in a mirror or to your friends before! Girls get together: if you’re asked to speak, suggest fellow colleagues as additional speakers or replacements if you can’t make it.
Can you talk about any exciting upcoming projects for Manners McDade?
Harriet Moss: 2017 sees us launch our latest venture: Manners McDade Creative Services, offering an innovative international promotion strategy for labels and special projects, by bringing together sync, PR, marketing and brand-building.
Catherine Manners: Offering Creative Services is a natural progression for Manners McDade. We work in a specific genre of music and our knowledge and expertise is highly sought after.
Harriet Moss: Within our genre, we’ll promote labels, their artists and their brand across all media, as well as their full rosters to supervisors, producers and broadcasters.
Justė Survilaitė: Our Creative Services will be operating internationally with the focus on UK, France, US and German speaking territories. It’s a great opportunity for the labels and their artists to be exposed globally and reach out to new, wider audiences.
What one piece of advice would you each give to women pursuing a career in the music business?
Catherine Manners: Don’t ever feel that you need to play the game. A successful negotiation is one where both sides feel they have won something. That builds relationships that will last a lifetime.
“Don’t ever feel that you need to play the game. A successful negotiation is one where both sides feel they have won something.”
– Catherine Manners
Harriet Moss: Have confidence in your own abilities and don’t let anybody intimidate you because of your gender or age. Be friendly with every person you come across – the nicest person in anybody’s inbox and the highlight of everybody’s day.
Justė Survilaitė: Don’t be afraid. Seize every opportunity as it comes, listen to your intuition, follow through and enjoy change. It’s a beautiful thing.
Ruby Wasmuth: Do your research and surround yourself with good people. The industry relies so heavily on contacts, so be hardworking, helpful and friendly to everyone you work with. A good impression and a ‘can do’ attitude will go a long way.
Milly Paine: The best thing about being a woman in music is that there are so few of us that you will stand out. Ensure that you are networking and gaining a good reputation as someone who is hardworking, authentic, open to constructive criticism and, above all, nice to work with!
We’d like to say a huge thanks to the Manners McDade team for speaking with us!
Find out more about shesaid.so:
Founded in 2014, shesaid.so is a global network of women who work in the music industry. Our vision is to create an environment that supports collaboration, creativity and positive values. With over 1,400 members ranging from A&R, creatives, management, PR, music tech etc., the shesaid.so community programs monthly speaking events around the world and works closely with conferences and festivals to curate top female talent.