Music Makers Case Studies - Portugal. The Man: A Band in Love with the Road

"Portugal. The Man: A Band in Love with the Road" is a music industry case study written by Berklee student Nick Susi and Berklee president Roger H. Brown. The introduction below was written by President Brown.

  Portugal: The Man
  Portugal. The Man

The pathways to success as a musician have always been complicated and unpredictable. But today's musicians have to bushwhack new trails to recognition, audiences, and commercial success. With the rapid decline of recorded music in physical form and the decline in the inclination and ability of record labels to invest in breaking new acts, the artist or band and the manager are assuming that role themselves. In many ways this is a good thing. The age-old complaints about record labels making artists do things they abhor will diminish. And perhaps many new pathways will be discovered, creativity and innovation will be more highly valued, and great new music will be produced.

The current state of affairs is open and evolving. At one extreme, you have artists who discover ways to use the internet to achieve massive recognition and are attempting to convert that celebrity to enduring career success. At the other extreme are artists who are "touring their brains out" and using live performance to slowly build a dedicated, personally connected fan base.

Portugal. The Man may be the best example of the latter. Here is a band that found a tough-minded manager, the one who made the fewest promises and brought the mentality of a Marine drill sergeant to the task. Together, they decided to outwork every other band on the planet. And it seems to be paying off in strong, original music, growing success, and dedicated fans that have a personal connection to the band.

Read the entire case study:

> As a PDF

> At the Rethink Music blog