Just over six years ago, Dan Medland could be found on the streets of Brighton selling CDs, alongside a busker – a folk singer by trade - who Dan had been managing for a while. That busker was called Mike Rosenberg, a 20-something trying to make few quid from an album he’d just made.
Not many people had heard of Mike before 2010, and if we’re honest, you probably wouldn’t be too familiar with his birth name in 2016 either. But 3.6 million Facebook likes, and 1.5 billion YouTube views later, we bet you’ll have heard of his stage name – because now, most people know him as Passenger.
And it just so happens that this week, Dan and his award winning ‘Let Her Go’ singer, are launching their latest album, ‘Young As The Morning Old As The Sea’, something Dan says: “…couldn’t have been done without Dropbox.”
Dan’s now Director of i.e:music, a company boasting other major acts such as Robbie Williams, Lily Allen and Ladyhawke. And as part of our series looking into how the cloud’s being used in media, we were lucky enough to catch up with him on the eve of Passenger’s new worldwide release: “All the work that’s been done to get us to this point has been done through Dropbox, it’s made tomorrow possible. Mike’s been working on the album for a couple of years, but the launch operation started 6 months ago – and that’s involved working with over 100 people across the world.”
Something we found out in our chat with Dan is that planning an album is a logistical nightmare; everything from bringing the final tracks together, to composing and selecting the CD and Vinyl art work, to collaborating with partners and co-ordinating the media, the list goes on says Dan: “Music is globally accessible, it always has been, but Dropbox enables me to work anywhere in the world, and when you’re managing artists like Mike, and launching a world-wide album, you need to be everywhere at once.”
Dan continued: "Dropbox is our hub, our hub of information and our hub of resources, and when you’re dealing with so many creative people, you need something that’s easy to access. Without fail, every time a piece of content, critical to our workflow (in this case critical to our album) is created, it goes on Dropbox.
Although I’m out tonight, most of the time I’m tied to computers – and music these days is mostly a communications business, it’s communicating with your direct teams, the wider teams, execs, journalists, everyone; the cloud is the vehicle to manage that, Dropbox is ultimately our virtual office.”
So does the cloud have a part to play in the future of the music industry? According to Dan, it does, a very big part: “People listening to music right now probably don’t know just how big a role the cloud’s already played in getting that sound from the studio to their headphones. But in terms of distribution networks it could be the next big phase of streaming. It could be that the cloud becomes, in essence, a place where streaming services exist in a different context.
Currently it’s quite walled between certain services, and maybe the next incarnation is more cloud based. I’m certainly no technical expert, but as long as we can find a way to monetise it, then I think we’ll be looking back in a few years time wondering how it all worked without the cloud."
But, what about Passenger’s new album? While we had him, we had to ask that, right?: “It’s an album that’s been created for Mike’s incredibly loyal fan base, and there are lots of them! We’re expecting it to do well, people have already told us they like it, but what’s more important is that his fans are happy.”
At Drop Everything, we like Passenger. We like Dan a lot too, and we’re happy to empower the work he’s doing. We love the insight he’s given us into how the cloud’s playing such a big role in music. Above all though, we’re incredibly excited about how Dropbox has helped deliver this great new album – a taste of which you can get by watching Passenger's video, ‘Anywhere’.