"“We’re trying to get away from a copyright trading model more towards a venture capitalist approach with artists,” says Message. Think of it as Dragons’ Den with guitars – with Message as the thoughtful-looking entrepreneur sitting with fingers interlocked while some young beat combo pitch their wares (“So, we’re kind of like The Smiths meet Funkadelic…”).
“More and more managers are having to take more responsibility to put money up front,” Message says. Adam Tudhope, for example, began his career managing the platinum-selling Keane. Two years ago he put £40,000 of his own money into Mumford & Sons, a fast-rising London band now signed to Island Records. “Every band is going to need £20,000-£40,000 for the first two years of their life, and then they’re probably going to need £200,000 for the next stage of their career,” he says. He didn’t want to risk his own money on the £200,000 stage with the Mumfords: thus the record deal."