Former co-owners of German booking and artist management agency Swinque, Martin Königsmann and Marco Völkel, have recently stamped their mark on 2021 with the launch of their innovative new multi-service entertainment agency, MGNFY. A boutique 360-degree agency which rethinks the structure of marketing in the live arena and synergizes the four pillars of music management, booking and live events, data-driven marketing and business management together under one roof, MGNFY offers its clients a unique combination of tailor-made services; from talent and music management, career planning and strategic consulting, brand development, digital marketing, product management, music publishing, merchandising and more.
DMCWORLD sat down with co-founders Martin and Marco for an exclusive interview to find out more about the new venture.
Hello Martin and Marco and welcome to DMC World. How are you both doing today?
Hi, we are doing well considering the circumstances. We are looking forward to everything that is coming up for MGNFY and are full of beans.
Can you please introduce yourselves for our readers?
In the summer of 2020, we decided to open another chapter. MGNFY was founded and from that moment on it is the logical continuation of SWINQUE, the agency we founded 10 years ago. With MGNFY, it becomes much clearer once again with which philosophy we founded the agency 10 years ago, namely, to unite all important activities for an artist or an event under one roof. In addition to the areas of music and live, the additional areas of marketing and business were created.
We are also owners of MGNFY Edition at ROBA Music Publishing, founders and co-owners of Zeitgeist Entertainment, the event agency behind the Sunset Beach Festival with 12,000+ visitors annually and booked headliners such as Martin Solveig, Jax Jones, Alle Farben, Ofenbach, Kungs, Los Frequencies or Felix Jaehn, as well as co-owners of the content creation agency Lemonade Productions.
At MGNFY, Marco manages techno titan Felix Kröcher, Virtual Riot, one of the fastest rising DubStep artists in the world, Marten Hørger, who is internationally one of the top names in the bass house scene, Cuebrick, who is one of the hottest German newcomers, as well as Franky Nuts, the young Dutchman who is currently causing a lot of positive excitement worldwide.
Where are you living right now and how has the last year been for you given the global situation?
We live in Germany, in the northern Ruhr area, and at the beginning of 2020, almost all our artists and our own festival were set for growth and another record-breaking year. Until the global shock hit us in March, too. We had to cancel Virtual Riot’s worldwide tour, Marten Hørger’s North American tour, Felix Kröcher’s European tour and last but not least our Sunset Beach Festival. Then, of course, there were the postponements of all our artists’ festival bookings.
When it became clear to us in the summer that this pandemic would not disappear so quickly, we used the time to ask ourselves:
Even though the last few years have been very successful: What exactly have we been doing and what do we need to do to really develop further? Have we remained true to ourselves and our values? Where are our strengths, what can we do better? How has the business changed and what will be the challenges of the future?
How did you both get into the world of electronic music?
Marco: My musical journey began about 15 years ago when I started Movement and the Rock Inc. event series with partner Phillip Nieland. The mostly sold-out parties in Lüdenscheidand the surrounding area quickly became some of the hottest events in the entire Sauerland region. After a few years, I moved to Recklinghausen, where I met Martin, who was responsible for booking MOGUAI and Phil Fuldner, the PUNX and POLO labels and various events.
Martin: My musical journey began about 20 years ago when I started working with the artists MOGUAI and PHIL FULDNER, their labels PUNX and POLO RECRDS and relatively quickly also took over the booking and management of the two artists. Marco joined me in 2006.
Tell us some more about the idea behind the new company…
We live in a digital world where reach seems to be a currency, outside influences can determine an artist’s vision and algorithms tell you what to like. – Is the system broken? No, it’s not – it’s just a new system! Just imagine if you could combine the control over data, the systematics, the loyalty, the innovation, the structure, the truth and the reliability of data science with the passion, the creativity, the love, the fairness, the respect, the sensitivity and the emotions of the human soul: That is exactly what we do. That is our mission.
We help artists and promoters position themselves clearly so they can tell their own story. At MGNFY, we aim to manage the interplay of music, live, marketing and business under one roof. We are partners, idea generators, co-thinkers and trendsetters all in one, helping artists and event organizers to translate their respective values into brand identities that take a stand, arouse curiosity and create emotions. We are convinced that this is the only way for artists and event organizers to develop and grow.
Do you already have some clients to launch the new agency?
In addition to our “MGNFY artists, such as Virtual Riot, Marten Hørger, Felix Kröcher or Cuebrick and Mark Reeve & GNTN and our own events, such as the “Sunset Beach Festival” among others, we are already looking after the “Strandkorb Open Air” at locations in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, especially in the area of marketing. At the moment we receive almost daily enquiries from tour organizers, local promoters and also artist management.
From discussions with artist managers who are friends of ours, new approaches are constantly developing to further think about this “Marketing Euro” concept and its holistic view of a brand as a missing piece of the puzzle in artist management. Which is of course very exciting and extremely enjoyable for us as team players.
We are very interested in your idea of the “marketing euro” and how you want to rethink the structure of marketing in the live sector. Can you explain this to us a little more? With the “marketing euro” we have made it our task to democratize the fee structure in ticket sales. For a fixed fee per ticket sold, the tour, concert or festival organizer receives a holistic marketing strategy to promote his event as cost-effectively and successfully as possible and, in the best case, to sell it out. The combination of classic & digital communication measures, or the interplay of paid advertising, a cross-platform social media strategy, the targeted generation of traffic through PR and the right content are the relevant building blocks of our concept.
Looking into the future, do you think the electronic music scene will be able to survive after this pandemic?
I am convinced of that! It just won’t be the same as “before the pandemic”. I’m very excited about what will change and how, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that change and maybe contributing a small piece to it in a positive way.
Do you think we can learn something positive from this situation for the future?
If you don’t learn from this “crisis” or if you don’t learn from crises, you will be left behind. In the German techno scene, there was a motto: Forward ever. Backward never.
Finally: What are you most looking forward to when a certain degree of normality returns?
I’m looking forward to going out for a big meal, having barbecues and, above all, seeing our guests at Sunset Beach dancing and laughing to all our favourite music: House and Techno!