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Features May 30, 2017

Stefan Dabruck on discovering Robin Schulz & the career gaffe he wishes he could take back

Stefan Dabruck on discovering Robin Schulz & the career gaffe he wishes he could take back

Stefan Dabruck, crossover dance and EDM-hitmaker, producer and artist manager, is so renowned for his instinct that in April global publishing conglomerate BMG made him a consultant to its A&R team.

Having managed acts for nearly 20 years, including Axwell and Steve Angello, Dabruck has generated over 200 platinum and gold certified records and singles worldwide – in the last four years alone.

After running the label Superstar Recordings for eight years and also We Play records for another nine years, Dabruck launched his own management firm SDM earlier this year.

For these reasons and more, Dabruck is our May Manager of the Month. To celebrate, we chatted with him about discovering Platinum-selling DJ and record producer Robin Schulz, the career advice he has for emerging managers and the career blunder which helped him understand the impact of social networks.

You discovered and launched the career of Robin Schulz. How did you come to manage Robin?

I found Robin already more than four years ago. He got a big SoundCloud hype for his bootleg for Mr. Probz’ ‘Waves’. This bootleg became a official remix later and went #1 in the charts in more than 20 countries.

When I first heard Robin, I jumped in the car late evening, drove four hours to his hometown and we’ve been a team since that day.

Robin Schulz

What do you remember about the music industry’s first reception of Robin Schulz?

Like I said, he had this great hype on SoundCloud. But there were a lot of kids back four years ago who had great hype. We started with ‘Waves’, three months later we already had the next big thing called ‘Prayer In C’, which was the soundtrack of the summer and reached #1 on iTunes in more than 50 countries, and reached multiple Gold and Platinum Awards worldwide.

As we have been working on DJ careers for so many years we knew exactly what to do and who to work with. We concentrated on the right things and only a few more months later we had a mother monster-hit called ‘Sun Goes Down’.

You’ve been involved in 200 Platinum and Gold-certified records and singles worldwide in the past four years alone. What advice do you have for those wanting to make an equal difference in artists’ careers?

To be honest, the best advice I can give is to work hard. My will is way bigger than my talent. Of course, it’s crazy what we have achieved in the last few years, we already have been successful before but of course the last four years topped everything.

Nothing changed for me. Maybe the apartment I live in with my family is bigger than before, maybe I fly in a better class and my car looks nicer, but working-wise, nothing has changed.

I have the same hunger which I had 20 years ago, living with my wife in a one-room apartment. I don’t do this for money. And all these awards are just a number. Maybe I’ll understand what we did right when I retire one day…

What the best career blunder you’ve ever made? 

You don’t have enough much space here to print all the blunders I made in the last 20 years. There have been a lot of records I had on my table and I didn’t sign as I didn’t like them; some of them became huge hits. But that’s the game.

I am also not known for my trust in new technologies. I remember I wanted to fire a trainee who would do DJ-promo on the phone. He was sitting on the computer the whole day instead of calling DJs. After asking what the hell he is doing, he said he was working for all our artists and the label on profiles on a new social media network and that this would be the future. I told him this would be a waste of time.

The platform he talked about was MySpace. Some years later we knew about it as well (laughs).

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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