Monte Conner: Toughest Negotiator in Metal
Full Sail University
August 14, 2015
Monte Connor is a well-known figure in the metal music industry. He was born in New York City, NY where he attended New York State University and received a bachelor’s degree in math. However, while he was in school, he DJ’d a metal show for the college radio station. Per a Metal Injection interview ‘This is where he learned about the different bands, genres, and sub-genres of metal music’ (Metal Injection, 2015).
Monte Conner began his record company career in 1987 with Roadrunner Records. His twenty-five-year tenure at Roadrunner Records is the stuff of legends (Rosenberg, 2016). Mr. Conner is the President of Nuclear Blast records and is also the Sr. A&R Representative. Monte move to Nuclear Blast Entertainment August of 2012. This move made Nuclear Blast become the only Independent world label. Monte is a pillar in metal music and is reputed for spotting talent and turning them into major money makers.
Mr. Conner has contracted numerous acts during his tenures at both Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner, making him the go-to man in metal music. He has been an innovator in artist relations, contracts and artist management for the metal genre in the music business. Many A&R reps have emulated his management and negotiating styles, using his business techniques all over the world. He’s the A&R guy other A&R guys aspire to be (Rosenberg, 2016). Monte has signing bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Earth Crisis and Chimaira; to name a few.
While researching Monte Conner, I have gained a lot of respect and a desire to learn more, and to possible meet him. I would love to be given the chance to interview Mr. Conner on his industry experience and negotiating style. I would inquire about how he has experienced the changes in the metal industry and his views on whether he feels that metal music gets disregarded in many other major labels. I would like to learn what negotiating style he prefers and if there have been any negotiations or renegotiations where the artist was very hard to work with, or had unrealistic expectations and how he dealt with that while maintaining the best outcome for both the label and the artist. I would like to ask Mr. Conner if there was any one person he encountered in his career that had the biggest influence on his business and negotiating style. I would also like the chance to be mentored by Mr. Conner, as he is an amazing icon, innovator and negotiator in the music business and a fellow lover of Metal music.
I chose to study Mr. Conner because he is well known for being a tough negotiator that has consistently shown the leadership that it takes to get bands to the forefront for their respected genres, and has negotiated contracts with companies like World Wrestling Entertainment for artists to have their music featured on this primetime monster. He’s known for good artist commutation and support as well as making sure all the contractual commitments are met by both artists and labels. I respect Monte Conner for his desire, not only to support the metal genre, but to support the industry and he artists as well. Mr. Conner is a music industry pioneer with visionary’s ability to be in touch with the times.
A&R Legend Monte Conner Discusses What He Looks For When Signing Bands; Discusses Signing SLIPKNOT, SEPULTURA, TYPE-O. (2015). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from http://www.metalinjection.net/interviews/a-discusses-signing-slipknot-sepultura-type-o
Ex-Roadrunner VP Monte Conner Talks About New Gig With Nuclear Blast Entertainment. (2012, August 20). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1084101/ex-roadrunner-vp-monte-conner-talks-about-new-gig-with-nuclear-blast
Metal Injection. (2015). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fYX5NVE80Y
Beyond the Band with A&R Legend Monte Conner | Metal Injection.
The history of Nuclear Blast. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from http://www.nuclearblast.com/en/company/history/2012.html