The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy (BM) conducted this interview with Ulf Zick (UZ) via phone earlier this summer. What follows is a brief but remarkably authentic, heartfelt conversation. Enjoy!
NOTE: “Ulf” is pronounced like the “o” in “wolf,” not like the “u” in “gulf.”
BM: Briefly tell us your background. What would you like others to know about you?
UZ: Well, I guess the most important thing is I have always loved music. My mother’s side of the family comes from a very sort of artistic background. My grandfather was a musician. My mom was a musician and a music teacher, so, you know, ever since I was young I was sort of fascinated by it and I started playing drums when I was like eight years old and started playing guitar when I was 11. That’s been sort of the thing I always felt comfortable with, and then I got fascinated with sort of the business side of it, and I had a job as a guitar salesman and guitar teacher from like age 14. After that I started working in a record store, did all that kind of stuff. I started booking concerts like basically when I was like 18 or 19 years old, and that’s just continued to go on.
Then at some point I moved to Berlin, and went to University, but continued to do this stuff. I got an internship at a PR firm. I really loved that. I felt I had a sort of good way of connecting with people over the phone and in person, so this PR thing was sort of a natural evolution from that. Then I started my own PR firm and booking agency and continued to do that, and then I started my own record label when I was 24, continued doing that. Then at some point, you know, the music industry wasn’t exactly getting easier in terms of the recorded side of music so I was kind of like what should I do. Then I got hired to work for Gibson Guitar in their entertainment relations department – which, you know, I was there for a good number of years. I think seven years total. I always stayed in touch with the whole music industry side on the other hand, you know, with my partner; did artist management and consulting for a number of artists.
Then I quit working for Gibson. I worked for Apogee Electronics for a year as executive consultant to the CEO which was a lot of fun, really different sort of business model but really rewarding, but during that time I started working for Spotify which in the beginning was a consultancy and then evolved into a full-time gig, and I feel we are really like sort of changing the world of music in a good way. I think we are enabling people to find music and listen to music in a better way than ever before, and I think we are also monetizing the industry really fairly. I think there is obviously challenges in how that trickles down to the artist, but, yeah, that kind of works out.
Right now I am traveling a lot. I get to hang out with great people, have great people on my team, and basically I would say Continue reading