Michiel Groeneveld had no management experience prior to managing film composer JunkieXL (Tom Holkenborg), and yet he helped take his sole client from a touring electronic music act to one of Hollywood’s most successful composers whose credits include Tomb Raider (2018) and Deadpool.
Groeneveld had to learn the ins and outs of film composer management on his own. “I learned it’s really important to understand what intellectual property means. You need to understand what people are buying when they buy a record; what labels buy when they sign an artist,” he says. “Additionally, I learned the importance of touring to bring in income.”
While working with the distributor, Groeneveld met Tom Holkenborg, who asked him to be his tour manager, and then––four years later, in 2003––his manager. “I encouraged Tom to learn the technical and political aspects of the trade. I also thought he should learn from other composers, so he spent time with Hans Zimmer,” Groeneveld says. “As a manager, you should be the voice of reason in the process, the anchor who allows the musician to spread their wings while you keep two feet on the ground.”
It’s not all that common for a film composer to have a manager, but that’s changing as the film composing world becomes more complex and composers are now a part of the editing process. “Deadlines change all the time, and it takes more manpower to be a composer––you need a team, multiple studios. And you need to be able to work on multiple films at the same time as schedules change,” Groeneveld says. “It helps to have someone manage those aspects of the business.”
But those challenges aren’t daunting to Groeneveld, who has an approach that’s surprisingly optimistic for the music business: “You just need to keep a positive attitude and trust that things will be alright.”