Madison House co-founder Nadia Prescher is a philanthropic-minded executive who, in addition to running a successful company, puts her time and energy into good causes – which means she’s busier than ever serving as VP, executive board and founding member of the National Independent Talent Organization, working to do nothing less than ensure the survival of the live music business.
After High Road Touring’s Frank Riley reached out, Prescher helped co-found the National Independent Talent Organization, a non-profit 501(c)6 coalition launched by like-minded independent music talent agencies and independent management companies to promote the welfare of its members and represented artists.
“Our small businesses are self-funded and independent, but nonetheless have a significant economic impact on the many who rely on our work,” Prescher says.
NITO members account for 81 independent booking agencies, 84 independent management firms and 480 associate members – all small businesses and independent contractors from across the country.
With touring on hold and no revenue coming in, the small businesses that make up NITO continue to have fixed expenses in order to keep employees paid.
And even as some public spaces start to open, with social distancing measures in place artists won’t be able to return to playing concerts at the level that is necessary for most artists to break even, let alone make money.
“We are focused on government support and reform during this economic crisis, while building an environment where entertainment entrepreneurs can discuss their common goals and stand together in unity,” Prescher says. She notes that dues “are on a sliding scale and reasonable” and that NITO has also invited artists, crew and other live touring professionals to join as non-dues paying associate members.
NITO’s loybbying goals include supporting the RESTART Act, which benefits small businesses that have no income revenue, as well as the Small Business Protection Act, the Keeping The Lights On Act and expanding the Employee Retention Credit.
Prescher has also been devoting time to HeadCount, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes voter registration through the power of music. For the past 16 years she has served on the Board of Directors for HeadCount. Though the nonprofit usually focuses on voter registration at concerts, there is still much work that can be done to promote democracy.
“Every morning I wake up to the news, saddened, and wonder, ‘Could voting be any more important this year?’” Prescher says.
“Right now we are focused on United We Vote. HeadCount 100% stands in solidarity with Americans who exercise their right to assemble in the fight against systemic racism, or any injustice or inequality. Real change can come from the ballot box. This program offers resources to anyone, anywhere, who wants to register voters in public spaces using QR codes or text. Materials and information get downloaded off the HeadCount website by the volunteer and then voilà! The volunteer is ready to register voters immediately and efficiently.”
Speaking of inequality, when asked about inclusivity in the live entertainment business, Prescher says that she looks “forward to when we are back in full swing and the the live industry is hiring again.”
She adds, “I know that current events have given everyone a chance to think about how we can all do better across the board. … Looking ahead, the interviewing process at Madison House will need to include a more diverse group of people, even if that means waiting to fill the position until we have interviewed a broader spectrum of candidates.
“More conversations on diversity in our industry need to be had, which means that mistakes will be made. However, mistakes are part of growth, and our industry needs to grow. Internally, we’ve started a small but mighty diversity task force to continue the conversations affecting our society and see where we as a company can do better.”
Prescher also serves on the task force of Backline, the music industry’s mental health and wellness resource hub. She explains that the silver lining of the pandemic giving the industry a chance to press reset has inspired her to gravitate toward working with people who align with her common goals and values.
“With this shift comes the decision and responsibility to focus on the broader issues facing our industry, and choosing to be involved with those who are actively seeking solutions for these new challenges, which unfortunately aren’t going away anytime soon. Especially now more than ever, we need to focus on the mental health of our industry.
“Sometimes getting help can be frustrating and make a person feel like they are running in circles. When someone wants help, using Backline’s case management program, access to a network of trusted organizations and care providers can be streamlined. If you feel hopeless and want help and don’t currently have a plan in place, please visit www.backline.care. While I am not a licensed counselor, I have been a private and reliable resource for entertainers and those in the industry wanting to get clean and sober since the mid-nineties. My door is open if you need a private conversation.”
Artist to watch breaking in the next year?
Most of you already know of CloZee, but if you don’t, check out Neon Jungle, which she just released at the beginning of July. Chloé is a multi-instrumentalist / producer from France. She has recently moved to the States, Colorado specifically, and we couldn’t be happier. Booked by Mary Allen-Hoy and managed by Brandon Ginsberg (RLM).
Bombargo is a new Canadian based band that mixes soul with a distinctive ‘vintage-pop’ sound. Their track Oxygen has over 1M plays on Spotify and Taylor Swift included their track Mr. No Good in one of her playlists not long ago. We are shopping their upcoming album Nebula to labels now. Also being shopped is their hilarious short movie called Snowballers. Ryan Reynolds did the voiceover for the trailer. I cannot wait to see who distributes it. My team and I manage and book the project.
Best or worst career-related advice you’ve ever received?
One of my dear friends and all-time favorite promoters Don Strasburg suggested, “Nadia, you should care less.” I’ll let the reader determine whether this is the best or the worst advice.