Mardi Caught is going solo with The Annex, a Sydney start-up that will work with talent, management and labels to tailor and deliver marketing strategies.
The veteran executive, who has deep experience with major labels on both sides of the globe, today launches the new marketing services company after departing late last year from Warner Music Australia, where she served as general manager of frontline marketing.
The Annex will also offer DSP strategy, project management, international exploitation and creative direction. Already on board are JOY., Didirri, Passenger, Pnau, Kota Banks, Unified and Sheppard, among others, and Annex continues work with WMA.
Watch Didirri’s video for ‘Jude’ below:
And through a partnership with Jaddan Comerford’s Unified Music Group, the Annex will reside at the independent music company’s premises on Sydney’s William Street.
”I’m thrilled about the new path I’m about to embark on,” Caught says in a statement. “The music industry is currently incredibly testing for developing artists in the domestic market. But the continually evolving marketplace also gives great freedom, which is both challenging and invigorating. I’m excited about The Annex being able to add those extra elements to the vision artists, managers, and labels have.”
This year marks a decade since Caught returned home from the U.K., where she worked in executive capacities with EMI, MTV and Sony Music. The time was right to take the plunge into the indie world, admits Caught, who brings with her a wealth of experience, a peerless CV, and a passion for artist development.
Previously, Mardi Caught served as managing director Atlantic Records, and as GM before that, and as general manager of Day One Entertainment at Sony Music Australia in 2009 and 2010. In her most recent role with Warner Music, Caught worked on campaigns for Ed Sheeran, Twenty One Pilots, Dune Rats and many others.
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TIO caught up with Mardi Caught for a chat about all things Annex.
Congrats on launching your new company. What are the goals for The Annex?
I just want to take the experience I have and offer it out to more people. It’s great when you work in the label system, and I’ve enjoyed every minute there but I think also being ambidextrous, for want of a better word, different people can access you and can have different learnings from your experience, which is a good thing. It’s what it was built for.
It’s called The Annex because we’re the little bolt-on, the little addition to whatever it is you’re doing. It’s not one rule for everyone; you can use us wherever you need us, based on what your demands and necessities are in the market place.
Watch JOY.’s video for ‘Change’ below:
You’re spent so much of your career in major-label land.
I have been there a long time. There was a detour to MTV which was fantastic because I learned what it was like to be on the side as a media partner. It’s great being on the other side and looking at it from a granular level and working alongside the management to build the artist up to a point where they might want a deal, or not.
That’s the beauty of the industry right now. You can choose wherever you want to sit. Whether it’s the major label model, which is great and works for a lot of people. Or if you want to work in distribution and lock in someone else to deliver services around it.
It’s quite exciting you can do that now. That’s part of the reason why I made this choice to throw myself out there.
You’ve teamed up with another smart head in Jaddan Comerford.
Jaddan is one of the first people who called when it became public that I was leaving Warners and we talked about what we could do together. That global network he has helps me and helps people access international markets, which is really exciting.
Observers and industry professionals were campaigning for you to get the top job at Warner Music Australia. Is launching an indie a reflection on not getting the role? Is there a sense that the glass ceiling is still unbreakable for a woman at the majors?
No, I think whatever happens in life, you can get upset about it (or) work out what the future is and take charge. It’s one of those things that happened and I love Warner and it’ll always be a part of me and who I am. And we still work together.
At the end of the day, I decided to do my own thing and have a go at running a business, which is something I’ve never done before. Throughout all my time, I’ve been within a company so it’s quite nice to be taking on a challenge and learning again.