John Miller

Smashing the Record

photograph by Larry Kuzniewski

Another MRC staffer, John Miller, leverages years of experience and a background in law to manage clients for the center and in private practice.

“One of the big things for me was working at Archer Records for three years,” Miller says. “Legal, marketing, Web: Having to do so much was like jumping into the deep end. Having come from law school, understanding contracts and negotiation was a big thing. Artists are often less comfortable in that zone. It results in them not getting the deal that they would be able to get if someone just stood in on their behalf and understood what the particulars were of the negotiation.”

At Archer, Miller worked with Amy LaVere on breaking her album, Anchors & Anvils — and the label — into Europe.

“We had her go over to play a show in London,” Miller says. “We had lots of people come out to see it, who we thought would be interesting partners from the publicity world and from booking. From Amy’s success there, we were able to bring the whole label over with proper distribution.” That led to deals in other countries and eventually European distribution for the entire label.

Miller works with artists in different capacities depending on the artist’s level of development.

“You can work with the hobbyist who just wants to do their hobby better,” Miller says. “We can connect people with studios, PR, and graphic designers. We’re happy to do it.”

“What are [we] looking at that can help people get their music out of Memphis instead of playing the same six bars over and over?” Miller asks. “We need PR to let writers know about new bands. We need booking agents so that we can get them out on tour. And we need management that can connect them to all of these sorts of things. If we can be an incubator for those sorts of small businesses, that’s where success comes from: from building that sustainable community. If we can do that, then I’ll consider all of this a success.”
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