Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Alan has been committed to a career in music from an early age. After beginning as a professional musician he founded a full service music company - recording studio, concert production, and label - catering to the early 90’s Belfast indie scene. Upon relocating to the US Alan joined Wind-up at its inception in 1997 and has held a variety of positions since, including VP - Promotion, SVP - International & Business Development, and GM since 2011.
How did you get into the music industry?
I have been a music fan for as long as I can remember. I started a band when I was sixteen, ultimately getting signed and dropped twice – first by Atlantic and then Hollywood Records. That process took over ten years and by the time it was done I had learned a lot, both good and bad – about labels, touring, recording, all the business of being a band. Although my band was Irish both our signings were out of the US, so most of my experience to that point had been here. I relocated permanently in the mid-90s determined to work my way into the business and, by pure luck, ended up meeting Alan Meltzer (Wind-up’s original owner) back when he’d just acquired Grass Records. We hit it off and I am still here, although sadly Alan passed a few years ago.
Tell us about Wind-up Records. What's the inspiration behind the label and what is the vision for the company?
Wind-up has always been about artists’ careers, not just the next single. Staying true to that while running a viable business is important to us. We are definitely looking for artists who can write ‘that’ song, but sometimes the hit is on album three and not many labels will let an artist get that far. Over the last few years we have been refocusing the roster and are now actively building up a new stable of artists we are very excited about. At the same time we have expanded our publishing operation through a strategic partnership with Round Hill Music, started a management company, and are relaunching the Sno-core Tour. There are many other things in the works that I can’t quite talk about yet.
What strategic partnerships have you implemented that have attributed to Wind-up 's success?
I’ve helped with many, from multiple global distribution and label partners, neighboring rights collection arrangements and sync pitching partnerships, to name a few.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
I am on the A2IM Board and through that I stay well informed on the issues affecting the industry, and the indie sector in particular. I apply what I learn through that to my role here at Wind-up. Having a good grasp of the big picture issues helps me make better day to day decisions.
Focus on the journey, not the destination
Wind-up 's Motto?
Developing Career Artists
Your greatest success as at Wind-up ? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
I believe my greatest success is still in front of me. It is hard to pinpoint a most difficult moment. There are many challenges today for indie labels, all labels for that matter. Overcoming them is part of the job and there is always a solution.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Believe in what you are doing and don’t let naysayers and the inevitable setbacks shake that believe.
How do you motivate your employees?
Wind-up has a great group of passionate, committed people. I encourage them to be a true team and for everyone, regardless of position, to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Of course there is a hierarchy, but we operate outside of it as much as possible.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
What literature is on your bed stand?
The last two books I have read are “Last Train to Zona Verde”, Paul Theroux and “With Fire and Sword”, Henryk Sienkiewicz. I am currently reading “All The Light We Cannot See”, Anthony Doerk.
Role model - business and personal?
Most interesting headline you've read this week?
This mid-term election headline on BBC.com “US mid-terms: Pigs, 'therapy chickens' and the Senate
What's next for Wind-up ?
I predict 2015 will be a pivotal year for Wind-up. Watch and see.
Wind-up Entertainment, one of the largest independently-owned music companies, was founded in 1997. The company was responsible for establishing and breaking many multi-platinum and diamond artists over the years. Wind-up Records continues to develop and build a great young roster of alternative artists, such as Civil Twilight, The Virginmarys, Young Guns, The Griswolds, Strange Talk and The Revivalists. The roster also includes amazing singer-songwriters Five for Fighting, Jillette Johnson and Genevieve. True to its history, great rockers like The Darkness, Filter, James Durbin, Aranda and our newest signing, Crobot, will keep Wind-up Records a powerhouse in the rock world. The Company also has Wind-up Publishing, which includes many of its label signings and 251 Management which represents careers of music artists and television personalities.