• Panel: Hypothetical -
    Publishing: The Art of the Deal
    • Monday 21 June 11:30 - 12:30


John Watson

John Watson is the owner and President of both John Watson Management and the successful indie label, Eleven: a music company. Over the last ten years every artist on the JWM and Eleven rosters has enjoyed either gold or multi-platinum albums.

As a teenager in Townsville John worked in record stores while playing in and managing indie bands. Then while at university in Sydney he worked as a freelance music journalist for magazines including “Rolling Stone” among other music related jobs.

In 1991 he joined Sony Music as A&R Manager and later assumed responsibility for the international marketing of the label's Australian artists including Midnight Oil. John then helped to establish Sony's murmur label and was jointly responsible for signing Silverchair to that imprint before leaving to establish John Watson Management in 1995.

Silverchair have gone on to receive more ARIA Awards than any other artist in history. They have had five consecutive #1 albums in Australia - more than any other Australian band including AC/DC and INXS - and they have sold over six million albums globally. They remain JWM clients and Eleven released their last two landmark albums.

John Watson Management also represented Wolfmother on their debut album. They sold over 1,400,000 copies globally and made history in 2007 when they became the first Aussie group to win a Grammy Award since Men At Work back in 1981.

JWM co-manages acclaimed singer/songwriter Pete Murray who has enjoyed three consecutive number 1 albums yielding over a million sales in this country alone. Pete's most recent album “Summer At Eureka” was the most acclaimed of his career.

Other JWM clients, Paul Mac and The Dissociatives, have both released award winning, gold selling, albums on Eleven. The label has also scored two gold certified albums each with, Little Birdy and Kisschasy. Both recently also became management clients and released successful albums last year.

John's biggest local success over recent years is singer/songwriter Missy Higgins. Her acclaimed releases, “The Sound Of White” and “On A Clear Night” were the highest selling Australian albums of 2005 and 2007 respectively and have made Missy one of the country's most popular and highly regarded live performers. Missy is currently making waves across North America where she is selling out 2,000+ capacity venues from coast to coast after a year of almost non-stop touring.

In late 2008 Eleven: a music company announced a new joint venture arrangement with Universal Music Australia under which that company will provide finance and distribution services. Eleven will do all A&R and marketing and outsource all promotion and publicity services thereby allowing it the control, focus and flexibility of an independent label but with the ‘clout' of a major.

Most recent additions to the John Watson Management roster are a co-management arrangement for iconic Australian rock group Cold Chisel plus a co-management and label relationship acclaimed independent artist, Gotye. Neither artist needs any introduction to Australian music fans.

Cold Chisel stand right alongside AC/DC as this country's most legendary classic rock band having sold more than four million albums across their career. Interestingly, the vast majority of those sales occurred after the band initially broke up in 1983 as their music was discovered by subsequent generations thanks to nonstop exposure of their classic songs like “Khe Sahn”, “Forever Now”, “Flame Trees”, “Bow River”, “My Baby” and “You Got Nothin' I Want”. In late 2009 their one off appearance at Sydney's Olympic Stadium as part of the inaugural V8 Supercars event attracted at crowd of over 50,000 people.

At the other end of the musical spectrum Gotye's trailblazing innovations in sound and vision have won him a swag of industry gongs over recent years including songwriting acclaim from APRA and the ARIA Award for Best Male Artist. An avowedly independent artist, he achieved platinum success on his own terms with his classic album “Like Drawing Blood” and Eleven will release the highly anticipated follow-up in 2010.

back to speakers

John Watson

John Watson