Rethink Music Case Study – Portugal. The Man

Posted on April 24, 2012


Portugal. The Man prides itself as the second most famous product to come out of Wasilla, Alaska. The story of the psychedelic rock band’s saga – years of  living out of a van while honing their music in gig after gig, their triumphant Bonnaroo debut, getting signed by Atlantic Records in 2010 – makes for an inspiring and cautionary tale, now detailed in a great case study by Nick Susi and Roger Brown, student and President, respectively, of the Berklee College of Music.

A crucial moment in the band’s story was their decision to enlist Rich Holtzman as their manager. Unlike another would-be manager who dangled the prospect of national TV appearances before them, Holtzman frankly informed the band they were far from ready for the big leagues. And then Holtzman proceeded to work his butt off for the band, giving brutally honest feedback and toiling for months on end to negotiate the right deals at the right time.

“This is not rocket science. You can’t over play. You can’t record too much music. You can’t connect with your fans too much. Rest assured, most bands will not do it enough. Most of them all have the same problem. They are lazy. Most adults wake up 5 days a week and go to work. They work somewhere between 40 and 70 hours a week at their job. Very few bands work this hard.”

Here’s their song “Sleep Forever” from their album “In the Mountain In the Cloud”: