Stephen Budd is a British music industry executive and music manager based in London. He is a director of artist and producer management company Stephen Budd Music Ltd, the OneFest Festival, of Damon Albarn's Africa Express project and is the co-founder of the NH7 Weekender festivals in India and the DMZ Peace Train Festival in Korea. He is a recognised TV commentator on music industry issues, regularly appearing on a variety of British TV news shows.

He is a co-executive producer of Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds' ‘Give A Home’ global concert series and created WarChild’s “Passport Back To The Bars" concert series and in 2021 The Music Venues Trust "Passport Back To Our Roots" concert series to raise money for Covid-19 endangered live music venues. In June 2017 he completed his 3-year term as co-chairman of the MMF (Music Managers Forum), the trade body for artist managers.

He is a fanatical vinyl collector and for fun, he DJ’s African music of the 1970’s occasionally on WordWide.FM radio as well as at festivals and clubs across the world. A longer history with links is on Wikipedia and a short documentary about his career here

Here's our recent chat with Steve to discuss his favourite recent campaigns and talk about the overlaps between visual creativity and music.

I’m currently working on OneFest, our not for profit festival and music conference in London, this year all digital. Also, managing Nubiyan Twist, the wonderful Nu-Jazz meets Afrobeat outfit from London and Leeds and scheming the next instalment of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express adventures… where will we go next?

I'M LOVING

Creatively at the moment I’m loving the insanity around Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and the impact that could have on artists income when they need it most - as touring has been decimated…let’s hope it's not just a flash in the pan. What Grimes and 3LAU did was perhaps an ‘early mover advantage’ but when this settles down into a ‘normal’ way of business, it could nevertheless be a lifeline for so many artists. How the labels will deal with it is another matter…

FAVOURITE VIDEO

My all-time favourite music video is Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. It takes me back to when music video really was something sooooo new and creative in the extreme. Imagine the fun you could have with NFTs on that project!

BEST ARTWORK

I’ve always loved the album art for Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy A Thrill, Robert Lockhart’s artwork was banned all over the place at the time, it's encapsulates 70’s trash ethic for me.

FRESHEST CAMPAIGN

The best creative campaign this year has been 3LAU’s NFT campaign, without a doubt. $12M on a first release is a hell of a result in a totally new area.

BEST COLLABORATION

The most recent brand collab that caught my eye was Cardi B and Reebok. That girl knows how to make her image work for her and she’s always on, or actually ahead of, the ‘zeitgeist’.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR 

For me the most creative and original music video of the year is Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for the visuality and outrageousness of WAP. And for what it means for the culture.

LOGO LOVE

I wish I’d designed the artist logo for Motörhead. The logo that just keeps on giving…. How many T-shirts has that sold year after year for a band that was actually not that big… actually they were my first employers, I roadied for them as a 16 year old.

GO FOLLOW

The one artist you should follow on Instagram is Björk. She’s always worth checking for utter creativity.

ICONIC

The most iconic music photograph is David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane cover picture. The definition of a pop star.

Creative Corner, in association with The MMF