About Us

Our Mission

Instrumental is working to change the music business forever - to the benefit of independent artists.

We believe the industry needs to move from the 'ownership' of recordings to 'access', or licensing, in all dealings with artists. We are not about growing a catalogue but building successful artists with highly engaged fan bases with whom we can have long term partnerships because of the value we add not the contract we signed.

Our mission is to use AI and machine learning processes to discover high potential talent first and then offer the most flexible funding and growth partnerships possible that can increase streams, listeners, fan bases, monthly revenue and long term careers - whilst always ensuring artists retain ownership of their music.

Our story

2015
The music industry reaches a key tipping point...
...as revenue from streaming exceeded downloads for the first time, heralding the start of a new streaming-first music industry. In parallel, DIY distribution platforms like Tunecore, Distrokid and CD Baby offer artists low price routes to releasing their music without a label.
2016
Instrumental is born...
...with the mission of using data science to sift through the millions of songs being uploaded every year and identifying the hottest new prospects. Initially presented as a scouting tool for labels and publishers our platform began with a focus on YouTube and the boom in “bedroom pop stars”.
2017
Instrumental expands data driven scouting...
...to include influential Spotify playlists. Warner Music invests in the business and we deliver our first global hit in the form of billion streams, “Dancing On My Own”, by Calum Scott - missed by the industry but not our data.
2019
Independent artists become the fastest growing sector of the global music industry...
...as reported by industry analysts MiDIA. Spotify reports that over 40,000 tracks are being uploaded every day and there are over 3m artists active on their service. The challenge of scouting is greater than ever and Instrumental is leading the way in leveraging data to solve that problem as featured in the FT Magazine (see News section of website).
2020
COVID-19 shuts down the non-digital music business, with live events paused...
...artists and music fans are in lockdown - but creativity isn’t. More music is released than ever, new social platforms like TikTok boom and young artists get on with it from home. Instrumental gains a new investor in global tech giant Tencent.

Our team

Conrad Withey

CEO, Co-Founder

Conrad Withey

CEO, Co-Founder

Conrad began his career in FMCG marketing with roles at Boots and then Kraft Jacobs Suchard. In 1994 he moved into the entertainment industry, joining PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in marketing and quickly moved into the rights acquisitions team. In 1999 he became VP of Programming for Universal Pictures International acquiring global content rights for the business. In 2000, he moved to Momentum Pictures, running their Home Entertainment division, and, in 2003, he set up The Rights Company with backing from Blenheim Chalcot. The business created digital content with established artists, performers, sportsmen and entertainment brands and licensed it to major distributors, as well as consulting with independent producers on their rights management. The company was sold to Warner Music Group in 2006. From then until early 2014 Conrad was President of Warner Music Entertainment. WME, an international label arm of Warner Music Group, signed globally relevant artists to multi-media partnerships including platinum selling stars like Hugh Laurie, The Overtones & Katherine Jenkins. Since April 2014 Conrad has been co-founder and CEO of Instrumental.

Abi Hanna

CPO, Co-Founder

Abi Hanna

CPO, Co-Founder

Abi Hanna has worked across the media and publishing world including spells at Penguin Books (as Head Of Marketing for commercial fiction), home video specialist The Rights Company (as Marketing Director) and as MD of YouTube music MCN PopShack. At Instrumental, which she co-founded with her husband and CEO Conrad Withey, she is responsible for the recruitment and development of the team and company culture. She is a passionate promoter of diversity and inclusion and is part of, Instrumental investor, Blenheim Chalcot’s Women Leaders steering group.

Lindsay Mitcheson

Partnerships Director

Lindsay Mitcheson

Partnerships Director

With 20 years of experience working for global and independent advertising agencies, Lindsay has developed a strong skill set in both account and project management. She has worked with a range of FMCG clients over the years. In the wake of the social media boom, before joining Instrumental, Lindsay spent 6 years specialising in setting up and managing social and digital teams in creative brand and experiential agencies who were looking to move towards offering clients a 360 service. She has headed up teams responsible for delivering high performance work to consumer brands such as Levi’s, Diet Coke, Converse, and Proctor and Gamble. Lindsay joined Instrumental in June 2015, and as Client Services Director, is responsible for nurturing and growing the Instrumental subscription client base, as well as managing the wider team. Since being here Lindsay has been key overseeing the Instrumental client portfolio including Warner Music, Rhino, Disney/Hollywood Records, Pepsi, BBC and Google.

Emma Banks

Label Director, frtyfve

Emma Banks

Label Director, frtyfve

Emma began her career in social media audience development and helped emerging acts for major label’s including Atlantic, Capitol, Warner Bros and Warner Music Japan. She then joined the global marketing team at LEGO Group, the world’s No.1 kids brand and the first person to be hired into their global influencer marketing team. In 2018 she joined Instrumental to set up artist label frtyfve and since then has been the pioneer behind LadBaby’s 3 consecutive Christmas Number 1’s (only the third label ever to achieve this after The Beatles & The Spice Girls) and Calum Scott’s platinum selling single “Dancing On My Own”. Emma is a leader in digital and audience driven music campaigns, which focus building engagement to drive returns.

Charlie Austen

Head of Licensing

Charlie Austen

Head of Licensing

Charlie has been at Instrumental since 2017. Having specialised in brokering deals with music industry businesses and Instrumental, Charlie is now dedicated to driving partnerships between independent artists and Instrumental. Passionate about music and supporting the next generation of talent, he is often found at his local independent music venue (pre-Covid).

Sanchia Kuzniarz

A&R Manager

Sanchia Kuzniarz

A&R Manager

After studying Business at university, Sanchia kicked started her career in Sales Development for a fast paced Fintech Startup. She moved to Instrumental to combine her business development skills, passion for music and interest in building relationships to become an A&R Manager. Outside of work, Sanchia loves keeping active and enjoying food and cocktails with friends!

Sarah Goldstein

A&R Manager

Sarah Goldstein

A&R Manager

Following Sarah's move from New York to London, she has worked with a range of brands and individuals on all things social and digital. In her role at Instrumental as an A&R Manager, she is able to combine her passion for discovering new music and identifying future talent. Working with artists all over the world has also helped Sarah to add to her ever-growing travel bucket list!

Lucas Mesquita

A&R Manager

Lucas Mesquita

A&R Manager

Lucas is an A&R manager specialising in commissioning tracks from emerging, exciting and unique Independent artists. He is particularly interested in developing talent from South America. Coming from a background in national radio, Lucas is aware of what it takes for a track or artist to succeed in today’s complex and ever changing global music marketplace.

Rachel Young

Label Operations Manager

Rachel Young

Label Operations Manager

Rachel began her music career at 16 as a journalist and live events assistant, touring with global recording artists including Tom Jones and The Strypes. With a keen interest in supporting new and emerging talent she went onto work as an A&R Manager, specialising in Indie Rock, with acts such as The Hunna and Coasts. Rachel joined frtyfve/Instrumental in 2019 and looks after label and distribution operations across the business.

Jack Haining

Head of Playlists

Jack Haining

Head of Playlists

Jack has been at frtyfve since 2018. Having specialised in leading all artist marketing campaigns until mid-2020, Jack now runs the frtyfve playlist team and has driven 1.3M followers and 25M+ streams for our Spotify playlists. Jack also runs digital advertising campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok & YouTube for our artists. Prior to joining frtyfve, Jack started out working at Live Nation & United Talent Agency.

Patrick McHugh

Lead Designer

Patrick McHugh

Lead Designer

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Mike Poulson

Sync & Publishing Manager

Mike Poulson

Sync & Publishing Manager

Mike began his career at Universal Music label Mercury Records working with a diverse roster of artists from Elton John to Metallica as well as working closely with specialist off shoot labels like Talkin’ Loud and This Way Up. He then moved onto work for Island Records and then Crimson, a specialist catalogue label putting together compilation albums. He then joined Warner Music working on catalogue before moving to BMG to work in publishing. He joined Instrumental in 2018.

Jonny Woolf

Chief Financial Officer

Jonny Woolf

Chief Financial Officer

After qualifying as an accountant, Jonny spent ten years in a variety of finance and commercial roles at Time Warner and the Warner Music Group (where he first met Conrad Withey as CFO for WME). Since then, he has co-founded a music led online charity fundraising platform, spent three years as Finance Director of Pearson owned exam board, Edexcel, and been CFO of Mwabu, an education-technology start-up selling primary school content to parents, teacher and learners in Africa. He joined Instrumental as CFO/COO in January 2018.

Simon Christian

Chief Technology Officer

Simon Christian

Chief Technology Officer

After starting his career founding a game development company, Simon worked as head of software engineering in the commercial property sector. He has subsequently led the engineering team as CTO for business intelligence startup EditorEye, and most recently worked at Hive Learning scaling up their peer learning platform. Simon joined Instrumental as CTO in late 2020.

Tess Moujaes

Senior Product Manager

Tess Moujaes

Senior Product Manager

Tess began her career in public relations in the automotive industry, before focusing on data-driven talent scouting solutions for a range of clients in the media and entertainment space. From brands such as BBC and Pepsi to businesses including Pan Macmillan and Hachette, Tess has continued to take briefs and develop data-driven campaigns and bespoke solutions for clients. At Instrumental, Tess is a Senior Product Manager working closely with the Engineering & Data Science teams on developing the strategy and roadmap of the Instrumental platform.

Kevin Ikelle

Head of Software Engineering

Kevin Ikelle

Head of Software Engineering

Kevin began his career in Houston, Texas as a software engineer and an initial member of an Oil & Gas focused start-up, where he led the development of a wave propagation simulator with the purpose of offsetting the massive costs incurred by standard E&P practices. After a few years in the semiconductor industry working at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Kevin left Samsung to start a freelance 3-D printing service, ranging from wearable accessory designers needing prototypes to high-school biology teachers. From there Kevin transitioned to a Enterprise Software Support role at Atlassian where he supported the development of the Atlassian product suite. From then until early 2019, Kevin worked for Foster Moore, where his team was dedicated to delivering the first software registry system to be used by the United States Virgin Islands. Since joining Instrumental Kevin has taken ownership of the data platform and heads a team of talented engineers and data scientists, working to accelerate and enhance the way we intelligently discover, assess and track talent.

Our Investors

Instrumental is proud to be part of the Blenheim Chalcot (BC) portfolio of businesses. BC is the UK’s leading venture builder and also backed CEO Conrad Withey’s previous venture, The Rights Company, sold to Warner Music Group in 2006.

Alongside BC, Instrumental investors include Warner Music UK, Tencent Holdings and Tencent Music Entertainment.