The music industry is expanding every day, with exponential growth in all sides from PR to label managers becoming even greater. To see how the industry is moving, we talked to Oliver Kamyszew, a graphic designer turned PR, artist manager at Scarim Management and Black Box Booking about the industry and how it’s moving.
Who are you and how did you get involved with Scarim Management?
My name is Oliver Kamyszew and I am an artist manager and public relations representative at Scarim Management (www.scarimmanagement.com). I also book tours under the moniker Black Box Booking Agency. I got involved with Scarim Management during a time where I was working as a graphic designer and I came across a great band called, “Of Virtue”, whom I now represent. The band had a powerful album but little traction meanwhile I saw that my current colleagues & old friends had launched a management agency and I met with them to see if they’d be interested in representing Of Virtue. Instead they inspired me to take them on and start my current management career. This, of course, didn’t come randomly but instead because I had previous experience being in bands where I was in charge of finances, booking, and so on. Here I am today!
You also run Black Box Booking, an American based booking agency. Do both jobs as a PR manager and booking agent crossover? (EG: Is it easier to book the bands on your PR roster onto tours because of the agency?)
That’s correct, I run Black Box Booking Agency (can be found at www.facebook.com/blackboxbookingagency while we rebuild our website). I do not believe that either job crossover. In the case of that guy recently, whatever his name was, who spoofed the UK with his fake ticket sales and such, surely you can say they CAN go hand in hand if need be – but realistically speaking, when I work one job I do one and when I do the other I do that one. The only way it helps each other is if either one is well received for marketing purposes – so if a band is doing great things press-wise, the booking will be easier. If a band is touring hard and has a lot of attention because of that, it’s easier to get press interested. So on and so forth.
Do you feel that living in America makes it easier to get a job within the international music business path? (such as PR, management, labels etc)
No. What I believe has helped me, if anything, is living overseas in Asia for a number of years and learning about a number of scenes as well as having many friends and colleagues who have spent a lot of time in the international touring community.
What has been one of your greatest achievements working in the music industry so far?
First – Finding a team that believes in me and bands whom I respect and admire who allow me to work with them. Second, 1M+ streams on Of Virtue’s single “Surrounded” in 2018 alone, but that was this year and I’m only looking forward to a bigger, better 2019! Ask me this question again next year – I’ll have much more to say.
With streaming at its peak, from an industry perspective, do you feel the number of streams online more important than physical or online purchases?
Well – both are quite important, as they define different things and it takes many more streams to technically sell one cd (so support your friends by streaming a LOT or buying physicals!). However, if you’re looking at the future (which if you’re working any role in the music industry you always should be) then I would say streams are significantly more important now as they’re more accessible and now you don’t need as much help from an external source such as a label to help you reach your fans or get you paid if you know how to set up distribution and publishing collections. Basically – you can be more independent with streaming than you ever could be with a physical product.
With the closure of grassroots venues being a prevalent issue both in America and the UK, what do you believe can be done to stop these closures?
I believe this is a tough one. First, government art budgets. Second, more needs to be invested into making each small show with as much effort as a big one on the part of the promoter and the bands involved. There’s a lot of areas where bands and promoters could be picking up slack in both, America and the UK, especially with how oversaturated both markets are. But – this is also a time thing. We’re in the age of hip-hop and rock/metal are slowly dying – it’s an ebb and flow … It will come back, just like fashion.
Finally, what is your most controversial opinion about the music industry?
Maybe a few. First, there aren’t enough hours in the day for this line work and if you believe this is a 9-to-5 job then it’s not for you. Second, there are too many people not giving this job close to 100% of their time or effort band making the hard workers look bad. Go big or go home.