What: CMI Launch Party
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399
More info: foxtheatre.com
The story of Creative Management Innovations begins as a bromance.
When Ryan Clarke and Richard Fogal, managing partners of CMI, first met, they realized they shared a vision for the Colorado music scene and needed to work together.
“It was like brothers meeting for the first time over the phone,” Fogal said.
Then Clarke interjects with the “Stepbrothers” reference: “Did we just become best friends?”
All joking aside, the pair of former CU-Boulder students is very serious about what they do. Clarke had management experience with another company in New York and Fogal had three years of independent artist management in Boulder under his belt.
“The more and more we talked the more we realized we had the same vision and the same ethic and it made sense not to have him as competition anymore,” Clarke said.
But they took a few months to ease into it, to solidify a reputation with the new company. CMI’s official launch party is Friday night at the Fox Theatre, but Clarke and Fogal have been working up to this moment and building a foundation since November 2012.
They built a roster that includes the three bands performing at the Fox tonight: James and The Devil, Branded Bandits and Birch Street. They developed relationships with UI Sound Studios in Boulder and Lyric House Publishing in Denver, and they cultivated a list of artists they do consulting for and hope to sign as full-time clients soon.
Their goal is to change the Colorado music scene for the better. As Fogal put it: “One of the big driving factors for us is the lack of professionalism created in the Colorado music scene. We really hope that we can be the driving force … We want to put Colorado on the map, basically.
“We have the venues. We have the talent. We think we just need to right people to guide careers in the correct way.”
Another guiding principle is focusing on what they’re passionate about. Right now, CMI is taking on clients in the more traditional rock vein. It’s not that they disrespect other genres, the pair pointed out, it’s just a matter of working on things they care about.
“We will not represent a client if they’re not on our iPod, in the sense that if we’re not going to listen to that everyday and enjoy that, then I can’t passionately represent that,” Fogal said.
As CMI grows, Clarke and Fogal hope to hire staff members who have that kind of interest in other kinds of music. For now, they’re still building up from that foundation.
“It’s definitely not easy. The best way is trial and error and experiences. We are young and certainly we made 99 percent mistakes and 1 percent successes,” Fogal said. “But the passion that we have — we’re both born into music and born for entrepreneurship.”
Clarke added, “We’re in it for the business of it and the music.”