Today's interview is with Tim Ferrone, founder of Wrapped Up Music, a contemporary 'pay-as-you-go' record label. He has over nineteen years of experience in the music business and has worked in marketing roles at EMI, Universal Music and Ministry of Sound. Here is what Tim had to tell us about his fascinating job and any advice he could give to the readers.
Hi Tim, how are you and how is your 2021 going?
'Good, thanks for asking. Well, we're obviously dealing with lots of challenges in life right now, aren't we...but we're trying to take a positive approach and be grateful for the good things and patient and empathetic elsewhere'.
Can you tell us about your job and walk us through a typical day at work?
'I run Wrapped Up Music, which I describe as a 'record label for hire' or 'pay-as-you-go label'. By which I mean that unlike the traditional record company, which will typically own the artist's music for ever, I don't take any ownership - I just provide the expertise one might expect of a record company to help an artist realise their goals and maximise their reach. Hard to describe a typical day, but I spend a lot of time either helping artists identify their story, liaising with the artists and their managers, or liaising with the promotional team I have put in place around them, whether that be drumming up creative ideas to help carry the message, or nudging them to do that little bit more'.
What is your favourite part of your job?
'Definitely discovering the artist's story. It's amateur psychology in some ways, but it's well suited to anyone who is interested in people and is able to hone in on what makes a person interesting. Every artist has a story, but most of them don't know they need it, or don't know what it is. So I spend a lot of time finding out why they turned to making music and why they make the music that they do. I don't think I've ever had a boring answer!'.
You describe Wrapped Up Music as a ‘pay-as-you-go record label’. What made you decide to approach the music industry in this way?
'Good question; I felt it was unfair for someone other than the artist to own their musical output. Plus the traditional model was based on the landscape as it existed back in the middle of the last century. Nowadays, an artist can record their own material without needing a record company and release it to the world at the touch of a button. So Wrapped Up Music was created to present an alternative, whereby the artist can retain their copyright ownership, have much more say in the marketing process, yet still plug in to some much needed marketing and promotional expertise'.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
'Even better question. I've become much better at this - when running your own company, it is easy to fall into the trap of working all hours. There is always something more to do. So being self-analytical enough to know when you're exhausted and to recognise that you deserve a break, is an important skill. When I don't, my wife is sure to remind me!'.
What would your perfect day look like?
'Some fresh air, good food, good company and maybe a little cricket with the kids!'.
If you could go back to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell him?
'To trust his instincts and back himself much more. He is good enough. I doubt he'd listen, daft bugger!'.
Who would be your dream artist to work with?
'I was lucky enough to work with Stevie Wonder when I used to be at Universal Music. I suppose the answer is The Beatles, as my foremost musical inspiration, but alas, that can never be. I'm blessed to work with artists who inspire me on a regular basis'.
Do you have any people, in your life or celebrities, that you look up to and aspire to be like?
'My wife inspires me, though she'll dig me in the ribs for saying so! She has a very natural empathy which makes people warm to her. There are plenty of people in the public eye that I admire, or respect, but I would personally hate to be a 'celebrity' so it's definitely not something I'd aspire to'.
You have been working in the music business for many years now, what have been some of the highlights?
'The aforementioned Stevie W, working with the likes of London Grammar, Guns N' Roses etc. Though actually the highlights tend to be the smaller wins with up-and-coming artists. I vividly recall standing at a sold-out gig for an artist I managed at a venue in Camden Town - it can't have been a capacity of much more than 300 people - and being moved that we managed to convince three hundred people to get off their backsides and come and spend their evening listening to his music. The artist in question went on to much greater success, but that moment eclipsed most of them, in its own way'.
Do you have any goals in life that you still hope to achieve?
'I'm interested more in fulfilment, contentment and happiness, much more so than commercial or financial incentives; so as long as I continue to push out of my comfort zone, those sorts of things tend to keep happening!'.
Finally, what is one piece of meaningful advice you could give to the readers?
'I would encourage people to be actively respectful of others. If we all started from a position of respect relative to every other human being, the world would be a much more loving place'.
Follow Tim on Twitter here!
Check out Wrapped Up Music's website to find out even more about this amazing record label!
By Pia Talbot