Founded by Phil Nelson, First Column Management is a music management company based in Brighton, currently representing Aqualung, Duke Special and Sweet Billy Pilgrim.
Phil is a master of the music business, having worked as an artist manager since 1988, with his current clients including Grammy-winning Matt Hales (aka Aqualung), platinum-selling Duke Special and Mercury-nominated Sweet Billy Pilgrim.
Previous clients include The Longpigs and The Levellers, the latter of whom pioneered the direct-to-fan approach that is now industry standard and – after headlining Glastonbury – worked with Phil to launch their own festival Beautiful Days, which continues to this day.
Throughout his artist management career, Phil has also played an active role in the wider music industry. He was Vice Chair of the Music Managers’ Forum from 1997 to 2007, he co-founded The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, and along the way dreamed up the Breakers Chart for Music Week.
Phil is also an experienced educator, currently teaching music business at BIMM. From 2016 to 2018, he was also Music Industry Ambassador for the BIMM Group of colleges, developing programmes that offered students hands-on music business experience and opportunities to network with the industry. This included setting up the Appetite For Disruption student conference and the student-run record label Pool Valley Recordings, as well as facilitating numerous ‘real world projects’ for BIMM’s dissertation students.
Since 2017 he has been working with CMU on mapping music careers, music industries and music education, research work that resulted in the creation of the Pathways Into Music Foundation, which he now leads.
Fran has worked at First Column since 2000, when she started as Phil’s personal assistant, working from the Levellers’ Metway studio in Brighton. She has assisted with the day-to-day management of Aqualung and Duke Special since they joined First Column, as well as many other artists on the roster over the years.
Fran has also worked with the management company for The Maccabees and booking agency 13 Artists. She is now Duke Special’s manager as well as recently becoming the proud owner of a new puppy!