Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
From Hello to Hallo: Growth and Creativity with MassiveMusic's Charles Gadsdon
Music & Sound
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Director of growth on innovative collaborations, life-changing experiences and the power of music

MassiveMusic's Charles Gadsdon is a multi-disciplinary sales creative, always looking for innovative collaborations. He has conceptualised, pitched, managed and delivered both creative and engaging solutions in the music, sports, branding and entertainment industries. 

His most recent moves? They involve a new job title (from head of creative development to director of growth of international creative music agency MassiveMusic) and a new city (from London to Amsterdam). Nobody ever writes his last name properly so make sure you do. Or call him ‘The Gadfather’. Here’s an interview to get to know him a bit better. 

Q> How did you end up at MassiveMusic?

Charles> I’ve been lucky enough to have always worked in the music business since being in a band and finishing university. I have managed artists since 2009 and although it was always more of a side hustle, I was able to experience all facets of the music business. After speaking to a close friend who was a composer, he told me that I should consider looking at companies that acted as a bridge between music and brands. After a brief stint at a music agency working with brands and developing strategies, I was given an opportunity to set up my own agency focusing on brand partnerships - so together with two friends, I did just that. 

In just over a year, we worked with the world’s biggest brands and talent such as Daft Punk, Rihanna, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Hardwell, Lotus F1 Team, Dior and so on. It was a steep learning curve but gave me some life-changing experiences that I’ll never forget. 

Yet, I always felt there was something missing. After taking some time out of the industry, I wanted to make sure that the next thing I did was creatively fulfilling but also gave me a team to be part of. I’ve known of MassiveMusic for a long time and after meeting with Paul Reynolds (MD MassiveMusic London), I knew that the culture, ethos and creative abilities of the business were the perfect fit for me. 

Q> Who is Charles and what does a day in the life of Charles look like? 

Charles> Simply speaking, my role is to grow MassiveMusic across all of our departments – whether that be sales, marketing, PR, productisation, operations and so on. It means that no day is the same and enables me to travel and meet lots of interesting people, which I love. 

Q> What special skills do you bring to the music industry and specifically to MassiveMusic? 

Charles> My business card says that my special skill is ‘Ping Pong on the Wii’ - however, I’d like to hope I can bring more to my colleagues and industry than that! For me, the ‘music industry’ as an industry is becoming questionable. If you consider most of the key players in the music industry and their core businesses (Access Industries, Vivendi Group, Tencent, Liberty Media, Amazon, Facebook and so on), it’s clear that they weren’t founded in the music business, but are investing serious money into the long term future of it. 

I believe that the separation between brands/investment companies/rights owners will become less clear as we move forward into the future and technology will have a huge role to play in this bleed between industries and roles. Where I currently sit, there will be more open opportunities for music and brands to have a more transparent and strategic conversation rather than just a supplier > buyer one. Which is amazing, because it allows me to be part of that conversation that will effectively shape the future industry for all involved. I hope that’s a skill? 

Q> Are there any past projects that you’re most proud of?

Charles> I’ve been really lucky to work on some incredible music projects with brands. At MassiveMusic, I’m fortunate to work with household names and be given the opportunity to create memories, not moments building a legacy for them in sound and music. Mum’s always proud when I let her know of a new project that was something I was involved with. That’s enough for me!  

Q> “People working in sales are not creative.” Is it just a cliché? And what about corporate brands? Do you have any compelling examples?

Charles> Whoever said that clearly isn’t working in either area. Some of the most creative people I know are in sales and I believe that creative people are effectively sales. Creative directors are always finding innovative and creative ways to sell their ideas to partners and are some of the best in the world at it. 

I wonder what Sir John Hegarty would be like at selling lightbulbs? Probably quite good (not as good as us though..)  

Q> Also, at Massive everyone is a musician at heart. What about you? What’s your personal relationship with music?

Charles> I was taught to play the drums at 4 years old and was fortunate enough to be in a band (a few years later). I toured, worked at labels and artist management companies, ran my own management company. And I’m still surrounded by music and talented people every day. 

Music is at the heart of what I do and what I love most is the way it brings people together regardless of language. It can tell stories without words, can elicit feelings and memories like no other and, most importantly, make you feel that special something that only you can feel. I wouldn’t replace the impact music has had on my life with anything else.

Q> Are brands acknowledging the power of music more and more?

Charles> I’m pleased to see that music is being given the respect it deserves. Believe it or not, being seen as a commodity or brand equity really is a good thing because brands are seeing its true value and therefore having music work for them. For too long music has been seen as part of ‘the marketing budget’ or given the last thought in a project resulting in the last crumbs of a budget. Thanks to companies like MassiveMusic and what we do, brands are becoming smarter about the way in which they use music and future-proofing themselves accordingly. 

Q> Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Charles> Tony Clifton.

Work from MassiveMusic Amsterdam
Sing Along for Christmas
The Sound of O2
The Sound of TikTok