With an irrefutable reputation achieved over thirty-plus years working with a stellar cast of clients which included U2, The Stone Roses, David Bowie, New Order, The Police, Depeche Mode, Simply Red, Bob Marley, Massive Attack, , REM, Matchbox Twenty, The Pixies, Elvis Costello, Genesis, Johnny Cash, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel…..and many more, it is not for nothing that U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, has said, “Tony Michaelides has long been one of the UK’s foremost record promoters and undoubtedly one of the best that U2 have had the pleasure of working with.”
Tony is acknowledged by both the artists he has nurtured and by his peers for the wealth of experience he has gained through an illustrious career that spanned more than three decades. His first foray into the music industry began in 1974 working as a sales representative for Transatlantic Records before he took on a similar role at ABC Records. In 1978 he made the move to Island Records and to work in their promotion department. After a brief spell at Charisma he was given the opportunity to return to Island to head up their regional promotion department. Following a similar offer from A and M Records, together with a reluctance to leave Island he decided to set up his own promotions company, TMP. His first two clients naturally, were Island and A and M Records. Over the next 25 years TMP became one of the most highly respected and successful promotion companies in the UK. During that time, in 1984 Tony was invited to replace Mark Radcliffe on one of the UK’s most popular radio stations, Piccadilly/Key 103 and for the next 12 years presented his own music program, ‘The Last Radio Program,’ which was a Sony nomination for ‘Best local radio show.’ In that time he interviewed some of the music industry’s most respected acts whilst also introducing the ‘live sessions’.
In the late 80’s he rekindled his working relationship with Ray Cooper and began handling all regional promotion for the newly established Circa Records and their artists which included Massive Attack and Neneh Cherry. As his operation expanded TMP undertook all regional promotion activities at Factory Records and over the next 10 years worked with Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, James etc. During that time Mute Records also approached him to handle their artists which included Depeche Mode and Erasure. With a ‘full on’ regional promotion company and an extensive range of clients, Tony took on mentoring sessions in Canada and the UK. In 1989 he managed New Order’s Peter Hook and his new band, Revenge.
The 90’s saw TMP forge a long-standing relationship with BMG lasting through to the millennium and enjoying one of their most successful periods ever with Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, Take That, Natalie Imbruglia, Westlife and Puff Daddy. During that period he also spent several years working with the ‘two Simon’s’… Fuller and Cowell.
1997 marked a personal highlight in Tony’s career when he was asked to be the publicist for David Bowie’s ‘Earthling Tour,’ responsible for all press, radio, and television. The following year TMP expanded their operations into working with more American clients, most notably Lippman Entertainment, one of the world’s most successful management companies and the opportunity to work with multi platinum act, Matchbox Twenty. They also became the UK consultants to Warner Chappell’s LA office and Atlantic Records in New York.
The new millennium dawned, record companies were downsizing and as Tony says “If I can no longer do it the way I want, then I don’t want to do it all.” Emulating Bono’s famous words at the Point Theater in Dublin as U2’s Rattle & Hum tour came to a close, “It’s been a fantastic journey, we’re going to go away now and dream it up all over again.” Tony’s new journey was about to take him to America. In the time spent waiting for the paperwork to be completed he acted as an advisor to The Music Managers Forum, “Master Classes,’ a consultant for the Manchester Business Consortium and became a regular panelist and moderator at the UK’s major music conference, “In the City.” He was a founding member of ‘The Manchester Music City Network’ and a trusted member of The Brits Voting Academy.
In 2004 Tony was granted a Green Card as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability,” for services to the music and arts, an accolade awarded to a small percentage of people who have reached ‘The Pinnacle of Excellence in the Field of Endeavor.’ After a little down time it seemed natural to document his journey in the music industry and to write a book, “Insights from the Engine Room, Lessons Learned from Rock n Roll.”
In 2010, Tony was approached by Rony Abovitz who was planning the launch of a new tech start-up called Magic Leap. Tony came on board to introduce Rony to his peers in the music industry. In 2012, Tony was appointed Chief Evangelist, where he remained until 2018 before moving on to take an advisory role. In that time he was approached to do a TEDx talk and then came an invitation from the British Consul General in Miami to present a keynote speech at Brit Week. Tony was sold on the idea. ‘I love meeting people and to be allowed into their world and to present mine is incredibly rewarding.’
With a wealth of stories accrued from working with some of the world’s leading artists it became abundantly clear that these stories should be shared with a larger audience. A new day had dawned, and as Tony says, “I learned from some of the greatest people to have ever graced the music industry, the likes of whom will never exist again. And to be now given the opportunity to inspire others with the stories and ‘The Lessons Learned from Rock n’ Roll’ it has become both a pleasure and a passion.” It’s what he likes to call ‘Moments That Rock’, and which coincidentally became the title of his podcast together with his new book.
To accompanying all of this will be ‘ The Insights Collection,’ and the release of a series of E books and audio books entitled, ‘Lessons Learned from Rock n Roll.”
With the unlikely threat of retirement Tony intends to continue to write and to speak, something he needs no practice with!