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Creative Manager • Professional Manager • Song Plugger • Vice President Creative Services


The goal here is to discover and sign new writers and exploit the catalog of songs. Additionally, you want to further develop the careers of signed writers.

As EMI Vice President of Creative East Coast, Paul Morgan's main duties are to find and sign new talent, whether they are artist/writers, producer/writers, or songwriters, to work with the company's roster of staff writers, and to exploit the catalog. It is crucial that Morgan keep abreast of when artists are recording, who is producing their record and for what label, so that he can pitch songs to them or arrange for a co-write with one of his staff writers. It is important for him to maintain relationships with record company A&R staff, producers, artists, managers, and attorneys.


To be successful, you must have an ear for great songs and the ability to match the song to the right artist. Strong personal contacts are necessary with A&R people, artists, managers, producers, and anyone who selects material to be recorded. You should be friendly, outgoing; self-confident, self-motivated, and driven to succeed. It is helpful to have a love for songs and a working knowledge of diverse styles and of the history of recordings. An understanding of publishing contracts and main deal points is important as is the ability to negotiate.


Morgan begins his day by checking his incoming mail, which may include a CD requested from a band he is interested in signing, or artist material that an attorney has sent him. He prioritizes the music and then listens and responds to it. “I try to get through five or six tapes in the first hour and a half of the morning, and then I spend quite a bit of time working with the roster [staff writers].” Morgan listens again to new songs from his writers and goes through older catalog, while analyzing a pitch sheet of artists and record labels who are looking for particular types of songs. When he hears a song that inspires him, that he feels would be great for the artist, he fills out a pitch form and sends it to the tape library so that a tape or CD can be made and sent out as soon as possible.


If you are a non-musician, learn about the fundamentals of music so that you have a better understanding of composition and song structures. The more you know about music, the easier it will be to talk with artists and writers about their songs.

Study Billboard and other music trade magazines to learn who is who, what songs are being recorded, who wrote them, and who produced them.


Competition for a job in the music industry can be fierce, so you have to be determined and resilient to disappointment. “A lot of people begin as interns and don't get a salary. I would recommend even that as a way in. In essence that is what I did for a year. In the evenings I went out and scouted talent for no money. I was only given expenses, but for me it was great because I was doing something I really wanted to do and somebody else was taking care of the bills.”


In 1983, Paul Morgan was working a 9 to 5 clerk's job in the pension department of a huge firm in England, never thinking that his dream of a career in music was possible, when through a distant acquaintance, he was able to get an interview with a music agent. “The fact that I knew someone who knew someone who knew someone that worked in the industry suddenly sparked my interest. As soon as there was a slim chance, I was on it immediately.” Although the agent had no job to offer, the meeting proved the adage of “being in the right place at the right time” true. One week later, the head of Atlantic Records walked into the Warner Brothers music publishing office, where the agent's wife worked, and asked if anyone knew of a young man interested in scouting talent for the American market. Word got back to Morgan, who came in for an interview. Instructed to return with his ten favorite singles the following week, he proved he had an ear for talent when a song by The Gang of Four prompted the Atlantic executive to place an excited call to the United States office to acquire it.


“As I look at my cluttered desk, I'd have to say it's the minor details that I like the least. The administrative sidethose things tend to bog me down. My real role here is, first and foremost, to be proactive with the roster and acquire new acts, etc. I'm very thorough; I leave nothing to chance. It means I spend a little bit less time listening to music.”


“The idea of finding someone that has yet to be discovered by anybody else, and being able to take that vision of what I see that they can become and help to nurture that within the artist or the songwriter. Hopefully, in the long term, see that writer or artist fulfill their dreams. Frequently, people that want to be a rock and roll star have wanted that for an awfully long time. To see those dreams become fulfilled is a wonderful thing.”

Continuing to work his day job to pay the bills, Morgan saw three to four bands every night for the next year, bringing in acts like New Order, Dream Academy, and The Cult, all of which Atlantic passed on. When these acts were immediately signed elsewhere and achieved huge success, Atlantic finally recognized Morgan's talent and gave him a full time position.

Morgan moved to EMI Records in 1987, originally hired as a talent scout, but within a month he was given four acts to A&R when his immediate supervisor suddenly left the company. Having to sink or swim, he worked on the albums of Talk Talk (which went platinum), White Snake, Saxon, and New Model Army (which produced four Top Forty singles). A move to Polydor Records had him working with Siouxsie & the Banshees, resulting in their first Top Twenty United States hit, “Kiss Them For Me.” Morgan found he had a talent for developing acts that other people signed, but not such good luck convincing the label to sign acts he discovered. Although he brought in acts like Radio Head, PM Dawn, and Nirvana (all of which found success elsewhere after Polydor passed on them), after three years Morgan was fired “for not finding any new talent.” Questioning whether he still wanted a career in A&R, he moved to Los Angeles for a brief stay in 1990 to try his luck.

Shortly after returning to England, Morgan got a call from EMI Publishing, who had just taken over Virgin Records' song catalog, asking if he was interested in working for them. Released from the responsibility to sign new acts, Morgan was able to concentrate on what he did best: developing talent. Ironically, as his artist signings of the past few years will attest, he has discovered that he also has a gift for finding talented songwriters. His marriage to an American woman prompted Morgan's 1995 move to EMI's New York office, where in 2000 he was named vice president of creative, East Coast. During Morgan's tenure at EMI, he signed Third Eye Blind, Bubba Sparxxx, and Chumbawumba. After several years with EMI, he left to accept a director of creative services position with Cherry Lane Music Publishing in New York. In 2007, he was promoted to senior director of creative services, where he is involved in new acquisitions, exploiting the catalog, and helping the current roster to pursue recording opportunities. www.cherrylane.com

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in the Music BusinessMUSIC PUBLISHING - Executive Office: Chief Executive Officer • President • Vice President/general Manager (major Music Publisher)