Charlie Lycett began his career at the Outside Organisation in 2000. In 2003 he set up The Lucid Group which became the largest online and broadcast music agency in the UK representing the likes of David Bowie, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones and The Who. In 2006 he became an advisor and shareholder in bebo, helping it become the largest social network in the UK until their sale to AOL in 2010. At the age of 28 he became the Managing Director of RCA Records, selling a stake in The Lucid Group to Sony Music Entertainment in the process.
Charlie currently co-owns Sony Joint Venture Black Butter Records (DJ Khalid, Zara Larsson, J Hus, French Montana), Stackhouse Management (Rudimental, Gorgon City), Online Broadcaster SB.TV (Jamal Edwards) and serves as a non-executive director for R4E.plc the largest transatlantic theatrical marketing agency in the world. He is a donor to the Prince’s Trust and has also served as a judge for the Radio Academy.
Tessa Packard [TP]: You are currently involved with a number record, publishing and management companies, from Black Butter Records and Stackhouse Management to R4E plc and The Lucid Group. How do you manage to maintain focus and energy when watching over such a vast array of projects?
Charlie Lycett [CL]: Someone once told me that your inbox is just another to-do list that other people dictate. I always try and prioritise my own actions and focus on the things that are important to me and to those businesses. Otherwise I could easily spend my whole time reacting to the demands of others.
[TP]: What has been your hardest career lesson to date, and what is the one piece of advice you would give any budding entrepreneur?
[CL]: It’s not just your performance or immediate colleagues that dictate your future, but what the wider electorate within a company or industry think of you. This is particularly the case in large corporations which is where I learnt my lesson! Always keep the voters happy.
[TP]: In your opinion what is the one thing that needs to improve in the music industry?
[CL]: Technology in the music industry has evolved rapidly over the last 18 years but the legal and financial frameworks haven’t kept pace. Short-term thinking around record deals and executives mean shareholder and artist value are not always the priority and this has to change if the industry wants to sustain the current levels of growth.
[TP]: Fast forward 200 years, how do you think we will be listening to music?
[CL]: On the moon with Jeff Bezos
[TP]: Overall, do you think that technology has greatly improved our relationship with music, or reduced our sensory appreciation of it?
[CL]: I think most new technology creates a paradox of proliferation. It’s now easier than ever for an artist to make and release music, but because of this there are many more artists doing it, which in turn makes it harder to get recognised. It’s the same with the sensory appreciation of music. It’s amazing that we can access music wherever and whenever we want, but it’s inevitable that in becoming more available it loses some of its scarcity value.
[TP]: If you could only ever listen to one artist who would it be? If you could only ever listen to one album what would it be? If you could only ever listen to one song which one would it be?
[CL]: The Rolling Stones; George Michael: Ladies and Gentlemen; Kanye West: All Falls Down
[TP]: What is the one artist, dead or alive, that you would love to see live, or wished you had had the chance to see live?
[CL]: The Beatles
[TP]: Where in the world would be your dream backdrop for an open-air concert? And to complete the picture, what would you be eating and drinking and who else would be there to share in the experience?
[CL]: Venice, at Sushi Yasuda, drinking Chateau LaTour 1961, with the people I love
[TP]: What do you think is the greatest music industry myth?
[CL]: That times are hard
[TP]: If you didn’t work in the music industry you would be….?
ON THE SPOT
Town or Countryside? Town
Favourite city? London
Your perfect dinner guest, dead or alive? Whoever I’m having dinner with
If you could time travel to any era it would be…? 1960s or 1810s
The best meal you’ve ever eaten is? Per se
The one essential you can’t leave home without? My Tessa Packard limited edition AirPods
Pet hate? People who stop suddenly in front of me on the pavement
Biggest extravagance? Restaurants
Favourite book? The Kid Stays In the Picture
What would your gravestone read? “Here lies Charlie Lycett, who had clean hands and a pure heart”. Not really, but I did see that on a grave stone once and made me think “wow, what did he have to hide?!”
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