A short film about my record label, Orchid Classics www.orchidclassics.com
There are 6 days left to listen to this concert, broadcast live from Glasgow yesterday, of Tchaikovsky and Copland trios.
Starting Orchid…..A blog post by Matthew
When I look back on it, the very first thoughts I had of starting a company were not particularly steeped in the intellectual pursuit of high art.
I think I was interested in the fact that it might be quite cool to have my own record label, a thought that had mutated from one years earlier that I’d like to own a chain of night clubs. (My old school friend does that now and frankly it looks exhausting.)
The tipping point came when I sat next to a record executive at a function one afternoon, drank far too much and came home saying I was going to do that too.
I immediately called my brother-in-law, whom I seem to remember had been drinking too, and told him I would require some of his money.
What followed was a lot of dreaming, a bit of very unrealistic planning involving some hilarious projections for our intended venture, and the search for a first project began.
As we got started I became more and more aware that what I really wanted was to create a community of artists, people whose work I loved and admired, and that it would be a huge thrill to be part of the process where the projects these artists had put so much into were brought into the world for everyone to see.
But at every step I moved happily onwards, quite unaware of the sheer effort required to develop a structure worthy of a serious album release, let alone the degree of expert knowledge needed to administrate such a thing.
It was a slow first few years I must say, but we managed to get four albums out, each one a huge labour of love and an equally large loser of money.
I remember a rich man asking me a succession of business questions relating to my company, which was fair enough as I was asking him for his money, but I thought he was completely mad. I think I muttered something like “but this is the arts my good man” before he sent me away with a cheque, almost certainly just to get me out of his house.
But he was right of course, and it was only when we persuaded a couple of very serious business people to buy into our idea that it became really clear how different things would be with such professionals involved.
And I wasn’t the only one concerned.
I remember explaining the ethos behind our company to Lawrence Power, who very politely asked if there were any grown ups involved.
Systematically building up a distribution network to cover all the major territories of the world, creating the necessary PR connections, organising everything from stock holding to royalty accounting, profit and loss reports and release schedules, it has been a mesmerising learning curve for me to see what it takes to create a serious business, and a master class by those involved who have done this before.
In those years since we took Orchid off my kitchen table and into an actual office, I have worked with huge pleasure to find those artists and projects that I felt really meant something, and that I’d be proud to be a part of.
As we release our 40th album this month with the wonderful 18 year old violinist Callum Smart’s debut recital disc, I can say honestly what a thrill it is to be involved in it.
And while I do enjoy our board meetings, where I pretend to understand the numbers and even make the odd reference to the need for a hostile takeover (I’ve always thought they sounded like fun,) my favourite thing about it all is that it remains what it always has been- an artistically led enterprise, where finding the most creative and brilliant people to be part of our family is the chief purpose.
And for that, I thank the grown ups.
The New Orchid Classics Blog
Check out the new Orchid blog, and come back often for pictures, videos, blog posts by our artists and lots more.