23Jul
Songwriting camp number 1 is finally here.
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It’s a beautiful sunny day over Dublin and it is also the first day of our first ever songwriting camp. Over the next 3 days we have some of Ireland’s finest young songwriting talent at work in different locations in the city. From here on we are running the camps every month and already have the studio space and accommodation booked until early 2018. We are starting small, with approx 20 writers and we’re not making a song and dance of it (forgive the pun!), the plan is to learn as we go along and constantly improve and help the writers with us create great work. Next month will be bigger, and the month after will be bigger again. I can see our songwriting camps becoming an important part of what we do, for both our own talent and for songwriters coming from abroad to work with us.

As I write I can hear the strains of a song that Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Janet Grogan are putting together, as they sit outside enjoying a break in the sun. It is incredibly satisfying to hear such high quality music being brought to life within the cocoon we have created for writers.

Song 1, day 1, camp 1. Many, many more to come.

Hamlet Sweeney

hamlet{at}thenucleus.ie

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18Jul
What if…
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What if…

…the value gap is reduced and safe harbour is removed from YouTube.

… most music users become paying subscribers to streaming services like Spotify.

… the blockchain, or something functionally similar, creates data points for all song uses.

vinyl sales stay healthy.

CDs become retro enough to be cool, and become like vinyl for the millennial generation.

All of these things could happen, and they could even happen within the same decade. If they do, let’s hope the industry keeps its feet on the ground.

Hamlet Sweeney

hamlet{AT}thenucleus.ie

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04Jul
Introducing our sub-publishers
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The Nucleus is proud to be partnered and sub-published by an exceptional set of music publishers in individual major music territories around the globe. Our sub-publishers include:

Elevate Music, Ireland

Round Hill Music, USA

Downtown Music Benelux.

Bjorlund, Scandinavia

 

BMG Brazil

Victor, Japan

 

Red Brick Songs, Canada

IMAGEM, Germany

Native Tongue, Australia

After serious amounts of work at The Nucleus HQ by songwriters, staff and tea makers, our publishing catalogue will be going live to the world very soon, with each of the above publishers representing our work in their respective territories. Excited? Very, very much so!

Hamlet Sweeney, hamlet[at]thenucleus.ie

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14Jun
So What Was MIDEM 2017 Like?
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We have returned from our first MIDEM last week. What did we learn? We learnt that, on the Cote D’Azur, a yacht can never be too big. We also learnt that not everything in Cannes is oversized and that MIDEM is a fraction of what it used to be. Compared to our recent visit to the Texas-sized SXSW, MIDEM is petit. But there can be no doubt that business is being done on every second table.
Our main purpose behind visiting MIDEM 2017 was meeting-up with the partners and sub-publishers with whom we work around the globe. We are proud to have such strong international sub-publishers representing our catalogue around the world. Our sub-publishers include Roundhill Music in the USA, IMAGEM in Germany, Red Brick Songs in Canada, Native Tongue in Australia, Bjorlund in Scandinavia, Downtown Music in Benelux, Victor Entertainment in Japan, and BMG in Brazil. Not to mention the very close relationship we have with Elevate Music, at home in Ireland.
One of my personal MIDEM 2017 highlights was a beach front party celebrating the Concord Bicycle acquisition of German publisher IMAGEM for US$600m. There was an AV presentation outlining IMAGEM’s work over the last 12 months. It’s impressive to see the synch fees of a single song amounting to over $2 million and to hear superb songs that have entered the lives of millions from creators like Daft Punk and Mark Ronson.
As our German market sub-publisher, it was great to hear about IMAGEM’s work and discuss the future with their MD, Jens-Markus Wegener. We take inspiration from the path they have forged as an indie music publisher and are very excited to be working with them in such an important music market.
It may not be as big as it once was, but MIDEM delivered everything we wanted, and far more too. We will definitely be attending MIDEM 2018, 2019, 2020… Even if the oversized yacht takes a little more time.
Hamlet Sweeney
Hamlet@thenucleus.ie
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06Jun
MIDEM 2017
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I’m very happy to be here in Cannes for The Nucleus’ first MIDEM. We will be around the Palais until Friday, and are planning on bring the sunshine back to Ireland.

Hamlet Sweeney, hamlet@thenucleus.ie

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18May
Discussion panel at YouBloom Dublin 2017
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On June 3rd at 3pm I will be on a discussion panel in IMRO’s office as part of the YouBloom Music Summit and Festival. The subject will be about how the song is at the centre of the music business’ universe. I couldn’t agree more and am very much looking forward to the talk, it’s going to be a great one!

More details to follow soon.  http://www.youbloom.com/dublin-2017

Best,

Hamlet Sweeney, hamlet@thenucleus.ie

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24Apr
Thanks to ‘The Sunday Business Post’
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Thanks to The Sunday Business post for the great article about The Nucleus in yesterday’s print edition. It’s also here in the online edition: https://www.businesspost.ie/business/nucleus-opening-doors-irish-songwriters-385631

Hamlet Sweeney

hamlet@thenucleus.ie

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20Mar
So how was SXSW 2017 for The Nucleus?
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The Nucleus will be attending many of the world’s major music industry seminars in 2017. SXSW happened to first on the list. What a start. It was a riot of private parties, public personalties, international music, and local hospitality. It was also the best conference, of any type, I have attended.

SXSW has the perfect hometown. Nowhere is as Austin-tatious as Austin. The city’s famous 6th street is an ideal place to showcase live music: The venues are side by side and many have their stage at the front, right beside large open windows, so even if you don’t go inside, they’re actively reaching out to you. You could hear 10 bands from 10 different countries within a few minutes walk. Remember the scene from Star Wars with the intergalactic band playing in the bar? I’m pretty sure that’s on 6th street.

Nile Rodgers, SXSW 2017, photo by Jay Nicholas.

SXSW is a proper music festival, the party is real (my own musical highlight was the debut performance of BNQT (Bella Union records)). But the industry side of the music industry is heavily represented and is there to grow its connective tissue.

At a send-off talk for the Irish SXSW delegation in the Irish American Ambassador’s residence, Una Johnston (SXSW UK & Ireland manager), suggested we aim for garnering a year’s worth of business while there. It’s hard to quantify what a year’s worth of business looks like before it has happened, but there is no doubt that the relationships and deals started at SXSW 2017 will be meaningful and stretch far beyond a single year.

SXSW 2018? I only wish it was sooner.

Hamlet Sweeney

hamlet@thenucleus.ie

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14Mar
SXSW 2017
Business

I have been here in Austin, Texas since Saturday for South by Southwest 2017. After 2 days of the tech and film conferences, it has already been an amazing and fruitful experience, and that’s not just because of the local BBQ food, I promise.

The music side of it all hasn’t actually started yet, so I expect everything to ramp up even further. At its simplest, the modus operandi of The Nucleus is to nurture and develop the best songwriting talent in Ireland and then take it to the world. We have come to the right place, because the world has come to SXSW.

SXSW has long since become more than a music festival and conference. 25,000 attendees are here for music. 25,000 for film. 35,000 for tech. Many more come for the education, food and comedy conference events too. But there is no doubt that at its heart SXSW is still a music industry event, and still an important one too. There is a pleasant paradox in the fact that so many companies here are promoting VR, AR and online interaction technologies, yet they’ve all spent money and time to be here in the flesh. SXSW is about seeing the whites of peoples eyes, kicking the tyres, and finding out that the random person you just had tea and great chats with, runs a company in another territory and you can both use each other’s services.

SXSW is big. Texas big. If a band or startup were to come here too early, they could be lost like a tiny piece of whirling crushed ice in a margarita machine. But if they come at the right time, it’s like one of the local Southern BBQ joints where everything is just-perfect-and-just-right. So how is it going for The Nucleus? … Pass the sauce please.

Hamlet Sweeney

hamlet@thenucleus.ie

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27Feb
Music, rights holders, and tech. It doesn’t make sense.
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Adam Robinson is a high finance investment guru and a former chess prodigy. I discovered him on a recent podcast by ubermensch Tim Ferriss. Robinson’s work has no apparent connection to the music industry, but he seems like an interesting and clever guy. When asked about his investment philosophies, he has said he looks for situations where people will say, “It doesn’t make sense.” It is there, he claims, that opportunities lie.

Hi Adam, we are the music industry. And… well… the thing is you see… it doesn’t really make sense.

  • A business can purchase an advertisement before/beside an online video of a song to get its message out to the listeners of that song. The video hosting website can receive income that is an unfair multiple of what the rights holder of that song will receive. It doesn’t make sense.
  • Music fans want music like never before, they want to support the music makers they love, and they want the convenience of having their music wherever they are. These elements do not have to be mutually exclusive, but presently that’s how they often are. It doesn’t make sense.
  • The downloading/streaming of pirated and unpaid for music creates huge demand for internet connections and data providers. This helps generate vast income for business, but nothing for the creators of that music. It doesn’t make sense.
  • We live in the era of the database and the algorithm. Anyone can punch a phrase into a search engine and, within seconds, find millions of iterations of that exact phrase all over the web. Yet knowing where a song was used, and tracking down the rights holder, can be incredibly difficult. It doesn’t make sense.

From comfort to excitement, from sadness to glee, music makers feel, capture, and convey emotion. A world without their music would be a far emptier place. Imagine if the songwriters, producers, and music makers of the world removed all of their work from everything for 3 months. How attractive would that smart phone be if it couldn’t play music? Would streaming services make it through the quarter? How would internet and mobile data providers be hit if their networks no longer had music, and the soundtracks were removed from every downloaded film and TV series?

Perhaps Robinson’s ‘opportunity’ lies in what happens next. All these different problems and paths are converging towards a point on the horizon that no one can quite see yet. It feels like we are the 90s kid with the CD player, the phone, the camera, the gameboy, and the laptop being carted around in our backpack… while the iPhone is just around the corner. Before we reach that point, our opportunity is to come to a fair deal for music makers. I hope we get there soon, because at the moment – it doesn’t make sense.

Hamlet Sweeney,
hamlet@thenucleus.ie
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