Our December blog post features the man that runs it all, CEO of Angry Mob Music and recently elected VP of the AIMP Los Angeles Chapter, Marc Caruso. Take a quick sneak peak inside the day to day operations of a boutique music publisher and what we represent here at Angry Mob.
1.What is life like for the CEO of Angry Mob Music?
No different from the rest of the music industry, everything is more challenging than it used to be. The uniqueness of my role is that I have to oversee what we do internally as a company, as well as how the company will sit in the greater industry. The roles are divided between internal and external, which means I am the bridge between what our company and team are doing and how it relates to the industry at large and within the market place. My job is to make sure we are defending against threats to the industry. For example, it doesn’t fall on every one of our team members to be educated about the MMA and interpret how it affects us as well as how to capitalize on it. We are making our own adjustments where it falls short. The challenge of hustle is not unique to my role, the greater the work that our team does, helps me be a better CEO for the company.
2. What drove you to start a career in the music industry?
I originally wanted to score films, so I went to school for composing and songwriting. I was always fascinated with how music worked with picture. Long story short, I became a music editor which was much more involved with the film making team. It was a blessing in disguise that I did not become a composer because for much of the time they are separated and alone in the process, so the idea of working as a team in music set a foundation over the years that led to this company. The relationships and knowledge I learned along the way is what we do here.
3. What has it been like working in music publishing for the last 10 years?
An evolution. When we started, the landscape was completely different. Even though it was at a time when sync fees and rates were starting to decrease and writers were earning less, the opportunities increased over time. The idea of not banking on a handful of lucrative sources but rather chasing after a plethora of less lucrative sources, you end up close to being on the same earning level. The biggest disappointment in this evolution is what happened with the consumer perspective; how they value music is so, so much less. New generations came into the market with a certain perspective of the value of music, which was extremely low if existent at all, and that had wide reaching effects. Our fight as publishers is to value the songwriter and their work and fight to protect it, which is the biggest evolving challenge that the general public struggles to understand. There is tireless energy, effort, and time that songwriters put into their work.
4. What are your future aspirations for Angry Mob?
To build further upon the successes we have had so far. We have traditionally done well with our synch and administration business, and I certainly wish to build further upon on those. We can always improve or innovate, and must always be striving to do so. Separately, our publishing business model is to work with contemporary, active songwriters versus existing, static catalogs. So I would like continued growth with our creative; working with more and more songwriters that we are passionate about. We truly love the writers we work with both as talented artists and decent human beings, and I want that number to grow for that very reason. Throughout it all, my job will be to make sure we never lose sight of what we set out to build: a boutique, nimble publishing company that cares and fights for each and every one of our songwriters.
5. What is one piece of advice for the music publishing industry?
Our publishing industry is different than most in that our competitors are our friends and colleagues. Some of that is due to the nature of the joint ownership of songs, which is unique to publishing. Because there are so many publishers, particularly on the independent side, we need to work together in a more single-bodied way. Even with the MMA behind us, there remain many battles ahead and our independent publisher community needs a strong, unified voice when those battle lines are drawn. In my ideal world, I would love to see a trade group strictly for the independent publishers; one which is authorized to negotiate rights and seek legal actions on behalf of its members, much like what Merlin is for indie labels. Let me be clear, however, I wouldn’t want this trade group to take anything away from the amazing work that David Israelite and the NMPA have done and continue to do. It is truly remarkable what they have achieved, especially this year! But the influence of the major publishers cannot be denied. Our independent community need a unified voice and seat at the table.
6. If you were stuck on a desert island with no way of escaping, what 3 albums would you want with you for the rest of your days?
I’m really not sure what these say about me but here we go!
- U2’s Joshua Tree – From the day it was released I have always loved this record. Top to bottom. The diversity of emotions from song to song would give me enough variety for my varying island moods.
- Pennywise’s Full Circle – Because I need my punk rock to get fired up to build shelter and hunt.
- Frank Sinatra’s At the Sands (Live) – What better record is there as I sit on the beach, drinking from a coconut, during island sunsets?