Katrina Sirdofsky, 7.31.04
(Manager of Linda Perry)

Q. How many producers does your company manage on average?

A. We are a boutique management firm so we do not take on many clients. We have four Producers and no plans to expand our roster.

Q. How do you avoid conflicts of interest between the different producers?

A. None of our Producers do the same things and they all have a niche so this is never a problem.

Q. Where does most of your producers work originate, with a request from the label, manager or artist or from your approach to label, manager or artist?a

A. All of the above. Sometimes we hear a particular act while traveling or meeting with people and you know it is perfect for someone you represent so you pitch it.

Q. Do you manage engineers as well or are they all producing either as engineer-producers or just producers?

A. Fortunately for us all of our Producers also engineer or have a team they like to work with so this is never an issue. Rarely does one of the producers engineer for someone else unless they are actually producing.

Q. Do you handle mix and remix engineers as well?

A. We have one Producer/Remixer.

Q. If so are you able to keep whole projects in house by having your mixers mix the projects that your producers produce?

A. Not really. We don't handle any mix engineers specifically and each Producer /project requires something different so it isn't in anyone’s best interest to unnaturally influence or manipulate our clients in that way. If it fits and makes perfect sense we will suggest it but only then.

Q. If the requested producer is busy how often are you able to steer the project to one of your other producers, versus the outside mixer/remixer?

A. 10-15%

Q. If an album is mixed by someone other than the album/track, producer/engineer is that mostly pre-planned or does that decision get made after the A&R person, artist or artist’s manager hears the first mixes?

A. Usually it is pre -planned but some Producers and A&R will want to make that decision part way through the project.

Q. What percentage do you charge the producers and engineers you manage?

Q. Why do you think it is important for producers to have a manager?

A. I believe it is important for most creative people to have someone else being the face of business on their behalf. For most people it's difficult to sell themselves and make their own deals. Most Producers are locked away in the studio while the managers are out taking meetings and finding out what's new and in development thereby hearing things early and having an early shot at projects.

Q. Do you give any overall career advice to your producers or do you simply offer them work that comes along and let them decide the best overall career strategy?

A. Yes, we give overall career advice. As our background is artist management we have a broad overview of things.

Q. What is the average working life of a producer in your opinion?

A. If you look at music history many Producer's have had careers that spanned several decades. I believe that for the most talented that is still very conceivable.

Q. What is the longest career you have been involved with?

A. We have only been managing Producer's for a few years so it is far too early to say.

Q. What is the age of the oldest producer you work with?

Q. Do you think there is a bias against older producers?

A. There seems to be a bias in this country of older anything so I suppose there may be some truth to that but you see it more in the alternative and urban community where younger Producer's dominate then in mainstream rock or pop where they like tried and true everything.

Q. Are you able to keep your producers working all the time or at least enough to make a good living?

A. We have been fortunate to do so yes.

Q. What’s the most money a producer can make these days in terms of fees and points?

Q. What are the lowest points and advances you see being paid to producers these days?

Q. What kinds of producers get that kind of money?

Q. Have deals gotten better or worse since you’ve been managing?

A. I think, as Producers have once again become the driving force of the music business that the deals have gotten better. Lately it seems most Producers are infinitely more talented then a lot of the artists they are creating careers for so it has certainly tipped the scales.

Q. Do you or your lawyers do the legal work on the contract or does the producer pay a separate lawyer to do the contract?

A. We do the initial negotiations and the deal memos and let the lawyers handle the long forms.

Q. How do you keep the legal costs under control if one of your producers or mixers is working on a track-by-track basis rather than on full albums?

A. Some producers retain legal counsel, which they pay a percentage of their overall income to or we negotiate flat fee or fee caps in situations like this for those who do not.

Q. Do you pursue international work or do you mainly focus on domestic projects?

A. Both domestic and International.

Q. How much of the work is repeat business from the same labels and A&R people to you and how much repeat business for the specific producer?

A. Some of each.

Q. In your estimation are artists and labels more inclined to come back to the same producers for the next project or are they inclined to try something new?

A. You get both types.

Q. How willing are labels to work with new producers who haven’t yet had hits?

A. Some are more adventurous then others. There are a handful of real visionaries who aren't afraid to takes risks with the reward being to set the trend rather then follow it but they are few and far between. I tip my hat to those who are, as our entire business was founded on that spirit.

Q. How do you get a new producer started?

A. There are really two ways. One is to do a lot of spec work initially and the other is to develop an artist and get through the door that way.

Q. How do you find new producing talent?

A. Usually by referral but mostly by accident.

Q. Do you ever work with complete unknowns or do they have to have had some success first?

A. I prefer to develop things so I am not afraid of unknowns at all.

Q. What qualities do you think make a producer great?

A. The ability to remain patient and personable while still having enough fire to pull the very best performance out of an artist and maintain their attention and respect but you must also have a huge storehouse of creativity on top of that.

Q. Do you have any funny or crazy stories that involve a producer?

Additional Producer Interviews
Arif Mardin
Lauren Christy
Linda Perry
Peter Collins
Daniel Sheehy
Peter Ganbarg
Wendy Page
Sandy Roberton
Katrina Sirdofsky
Jim Hall
TAOMP title image 2
by richard james burgess
Bill Laswell