Can you introduce yourself a bit and tell us what it is that you do and who you represent?
I go by the name of E. I own and run The Trafficker Management.
We manage several producers, most notably: MegaMan, Tommy Gunnz and Boi-1Da. We also manage one rapper, Richie Sosa.
What’s the big difference for you as a manager, representing producers vs representing artists?
I would say managing an artist is a bigger challenge then managing producers.
The reason I say that is; with an artist there are more politics involved. It’s a lot more work and it takes a lot of patience. When handling artists you are not just selling a sonic product but a visual one as well.
Remember, an artist’s career is a lot more complicated than that of a producer. With producers, if they are talented then their beats can be sold.
My theory, is a great record will always find a home, no matter if it is a unknown producer from England or Timbaland. But don’t get me wrong, I do believe producers have a certain image to uphold. I also believe they should be out and about making sure people put a face to their beats.
Who are some of the artists you and your team has worked with so far?
Our collective production resume includes the likes of 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, Kardinal Offishall, G-Unit, Young Jeezy, CTE, D-Block, Drake, Trey Songz, The Dream etc.
We have been working hard recently on some new projects as well, but don’t want to let the cat out the bag as of yet.
How did you get into managing producers? Did you learn along the way or was there somebody there to show you the ropes?
I have always been fascinated with the art of production. Growing up, I always wanted to be a producer, but I realized I have no musical talent whatsoever (too bad I learned that after buying all the equipment).
I started off running an independent label in Toronto, which was a great learning experience for me. After seeing that running an independent label wasn’t feasible at all for me, I decided to start managing producers.
I already had all the connections in place; the only thing I needed was talented producers. I think the experience with the indie label was a blessing in disguise: I get to deal with production all day, and I’m good at placing records. I learned a lot from trial and error, I am still learning up until this day, I can’t say I had anyone mentor me.
What direction do you see yourself and your company take?
We’re in a digital age right now. The constant evolution of technology is forcing the music industry to become a lot more interactive. You can no longer just rely on record sales; you have to focus on corporate branding and other modes of fiscal success (getting music in television shows or movies, video games etc.).
There are plenty of outlets out there for producers and artists through social networking, but I truly think these artists & producers need to create their own outlets – whether it is a website or a blog.
Have the fans get familiar with you through the social networks, and reel them in to your blog or website, and lock them in to your fan base.
You’re in Toronto, Canada, yet you’re placing a lot of work with some major US acts. Is a move to the US inevitable, or do you think it’s manageable to remain living in Toronto?
I actually relocated to Miami in April 2008. I also lived in Queens, NY for about 8 years.
I love Toronto, but there is only so much one can accomplish in Canada. There’s an abundance of talent in Toronto but there’s virtually no music industry out there. Even with technology today it is a lot easier to communicate by email, mp3 and that jazz, but a face to face relationship is key.
Miami contains many of the industry’s biggest recording studios. It makes it a lot easier to interact with artists and industry people. It’s also helpful that Miami is only a 1 hour flight from Atlanta, and the winters aren’t as cold as in Toronto.
I do go back to Toronto on occasion, my family is back there and so are 90% of my roster.
What’s the biggest advantage that you believe you have over others, that helps you place tracks?
That’s hard to answer without coming cocky or arrogant. Honestly, I think the fact that I have such strong relationships around the industry, people know me and trust me.
I believe in the talent of my clients and I always make sure they get their whole rate. Great music speaks for itself.
If you could change one thing about how the music industry is today, what would it be?
I think that the music industry is over saturated. There is an abundance of rappers, producers, managers and singers. I think that the over saturation of artists is degrading the art form to a certain extent.
If someone introduces themselves to me and says they rap or make beats right away, I usually thing to myself “this is going to be great”.
We have an email for demo submissions; 98% of the time the music being sent, whether producer, artist or singer, is not up to par. There’s a lot of people who should leave their music aspirations and just stick to being a fan.
What’s one of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned since you’ve been a producer manager?
A lot of new, and inexperienced producers do not really understand the actual concept of having management. A lot of producers just want a manager just to say “hey, I got a manager”. I take loyalty very seriously, and think more producers need to grasp the idea of a manager.
Managers are more than people who just send out your beats. We are the first people to believe in you as a producer. We are nurturers, and we are motivators, yet we are always the bad cop.
The most important thing I learned is that to survive in this industry, whether you are an artist, producer or manager, is that you have to have leather skin. What I mean by that is people will shit on you, people will not always like your stuff; but the way you persevere through all the criticism is how you measure your success.
Having longevity as a manager usually doesn’t consist of how many placements or deals you get; its how much shit you can take from people.
Why did you get into music and at the end of the day what is your overall goal?
I’ve been a fan of music my whole life. As I mentioned earlier, I was never musically talented; but I still wanted to be involved. I’ve always had business instincts, so naturally, I ended up going the management route.
I’ve been offered label positions, but I enjoy working for myself and I feel that managing is my true calling. Not to say that if the right label position came up, I wouldn’t necessarily turn it down.
To answer the second part of the question, I think that my goal is to see my clients prosper and make music that people can enjoy and relate to. I come from Toronto, and we never really had any hope south of the border, so, I think that part of me has always wanted to help put the talent in my city on an international pedestal.
You can connect with E from The Trafficker Management on Twitter.