Art creates culture for UNIFIED Music Group
When music lover Jaddan Comerford was looking for an outlet for his passion that would enrich the careers and lives of performing artists, he chose to create his own solution.
The result of his efforts is UNIFIED Music Group, which delivers a suite of services for the music industry, including recorded music, performing artist management, and services relating to touring, events and merchandise.
Comerford said he loved music but the idea of becoming a musician himself wasn’t something that ever really sparked his imagination.
“I wanted to do something that inspired me and decided that if I could build a music company then I’d be able to get the best of both worlds,” he said.
Setting up what would eventually become UNIFIED Music Group was a massive undertaking that involved a certain amount of trial and error, Comerford said.
“Experience is everything and there’s only one way to get that, so starting out it was a lot of gut instinct and unfortunately learning from and making mistakes,” he said.
“It took a lot of hard work but I tried to take an organised approach and stay focused on what exactly we were trying to do and the reasons for doing it.”
The company has enjoyed significant success and growth since the original launch in 2011, with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, and now also in Los Angeles and London.
Despite this growth, Comerford said he views success as a subjective thing and that he and his staff try to be driven by more than money.
“Obviously we need to be sustainable but beyond that we talk a lot about culture, and the idea of being able to contribute to that is very powerful,” he said.
“Every song, every concert, every photo is art and art creates culture.”
Touring the world
In 2017, the company had grown from an original eight employees to 35 team members, so Comerford decided to adjust the structure and rebrand the new-look organisation.
UNIFIED Music Group now consists of four pillars: UNIFIED Artist Management, which represents a range of artists, including Vance Joy, Amy Shark, The Amity Affliction, and Tash Sultana; UNIFIED Touring and Events, managing music festivals and tours in Australia and internationally; UNIFIED Merchandise Services, producing a range of innovative direct-to-customer commercial products for artists; and UNIFIED Recorded Music, boasting six record labels and an award-winning music publishing arm.
“I just wanted to freshen things up and provide a little more focus for the group, both internally and externally,” Comerford said.
“It also gave us the opportunity to make some key staff promotions to reflect the new structure of the company.”
Comerford said he always intended UNIFIED Music Group to have an international presence and that his early interest had him looking to the USA, then branching out to other markets.
“We do business almost everywhere, especially across Europe and Canada, and beyond that we are quite interested in South America right now,” Comerford said.
“A lot of our artists are touring there now more than ever and, thanks to streaming services, we are starting to see a return on investment on recorded music.”
UNIFIED Music Group has been a recipient of several Export Market Development Grants, which provided the company with a level of certainty and support that helped expansion into international markets.
“From a financial point of view it’s been very supportive for our company and our artists,” Comerford said.
“It allows us to take a broader view in international investment, as we know that we have the support and the eventual repayment of certain funds.”
The company intends to keep doing what has made it so successful as it grows and expands, nurturing artists and helping them to achieve success and recognition internationally.
“We are just going to continue to keep doing what we do. Work hard for our clients and work to build opportunities and deliver on a global level,” Comerford said.
While the success of UNIFIED Music Group is an achievement of which Comerford is proud, he said that the thing that brings him the most satisfaction is recognition of the talent the company represents.
“I get to be a part of building people’s careers and making dreams come true,” he said.
“Watching an artist quit their ‘real’ job to then watch them buy a house off their art is something that always makes me very proud.”
Jaddan Comerford built UNIFIED Music Group as an outlet for his passion to help performing artists achieve success. Photo credit: Kane Hibberd