Clare founded Jack Russell Music (JRM) in 2007. She started with a handful of songwriters on her roster. “However, I contacted a few people, let them know what I was doing and things went from there.” The business is still expanding. Clare now has over 300 writers and catalogues signed to JRM, almost all of whom you can find on this site, which is continually being updated.
The original intention was to concentrate on her experience and strength as an administrative whiz using her expert knowledge of how publishing works and the intricacies of the PRS/MCPS system, whilst relying on support from carefully selected sub-publishers who do the same overseas. She wanted to concentrate on ‘administration’ agreements, and to ensure that royalties were paid to the right people as quickly as possible while writers retained the ‘ownership’ of their works.
Setting up JRM at that time coincided with the vast changes in the music industry with the start of digital releases and streaming, and the consequent dip in royalties. So, inevitably, not only did her work became harder but it changed in that it became more important to resolve publishing disputes, find royalties and help the writers to set themselves up with a PRO to maximise the micro amounts now coming through. JRM also branched into neighbouring rights, helping artists with their PPL collections.
Clare has been described by a co-publisher as a “smoother of troubled waters” and she would like to be seen as someone who is not afraid to stand up to the majors and look after the rights of the ‘independents’. One of her clients stated recently ‘I am glad to be working with you, someone who cares’. A sample clearance company stated ‘Clare, you always come through’.
She feels that administration is a growing area of the business with more and more writers wanting to control their own publishing and recording rights. Recently she approached a group of young producers, writers and musicians all tapping away on their phones, who do everything themselves, so she offered to take over the publishing admin side when things just get too much. Of course they accepted!
Most JRM writers are from a reggae and dancehall background, although you can find many other genres covered, from hip-hop through to folk, rock, soca and African music.
Clare’s previous experience comes mainly from her early years with Greensleeves Publishing, where she started in 1987. Initially she worked in accounts, but as the publishing side of the business took off, she soon progressed to running the admin side of their growing publishing catalogue.
“I learned an incredible amount there, both about the industry and about writers themselves and how to advise them – warning them against signing agreements too hastily, for example. It was so useful when I came to set up JRM. I knew I wanted an advanced software system to work out royalties. I also knew that I didn’t want to be part of a large corporation, because I’d seen the result of takeovers on an independent company. Finally, I had learned the importance of keeping publishing and music labels separate.”
Growing up as one of six (two girls, four boys) in Sussex, Clare recalls the Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark 5 and the Kinks as some of her earliest musical influences. At Manchester University, where she studied Economics, she listened to David Bowie, 10CC, Rod Stewart and Steve Harley amongst others.
Clare has lived in the same house in Fulham – where the JRM offices are based – for the last twenty years, and has been in the area for ten years longer. Her husband, Charlie, who ran a successful motor bike business, is now in property management. Their daughters Hannah, who recently married in Croatia, Amy and Connie all live and work in London. Not forgetting Lilly, their Jack Russell, who has kindly given her breed’s name to the business.