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Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors. His three decades in the music business spans across genres, borders and industries. Having experience in nearly every aspect of record production and promotion has given Martin a unique perspective not only on where the music industry is currently, but where it is going in the future.
After playing drums in a variety of English bands, Martin auditioned for and subsequently joined Johnny Rotten’s Public Image Limited in 1979. His first contribution to the band was co-writing and performing on the song “Bad Baby” for the revered Metal Box LP. After touring the world with P.i.L and contributing to several more studio albums Martin left the group in 1985. Over the next five years, he played with and managed Killing Joke and toured with Ministry. In 1990, while on tour with Ministry, he formed his own band, Pigface. He also worked with Nine Inch Nails, performing on the Grammy award winning “Wish” and appearing in the “Head like a Hole” video.
Martin began working on the business side of music in 1988 when he formed Invisible Records and then Mattress Factory Studios in 1996. Over two decades Invisible has released over 350 albums and has had placements spanning from the original Miami Vice to Showtime’s Queer as Folk to Robert Altman’s The Company.
In 2003, Martin began teaching “The Business of Touring” at Columbia College in Chicago. Martin wrote his book Tour:Smart in 2007 and has since spoken around the world at the Midi Institute in China, Drumtech in London, NAMM, SXSW, and By:Larm in Oslo, and many more. He is now the Dept Chair, Music Business at SAE Chicago and on track to conclude his Masters in early 2017. He spent significant time in China recording, signing, and producing bands. His 2006 visit spawned his first documentary 16 Days in China which documents his experience. He is a father of four boys and lives with his wife, Katrina, in Chicago.
“Four Stars! The ultimate touring manual. Tackles every conceivable aspect of getting the show on the road in a highly readable style.” Kris Needs – MOJO Magazine
“Finally, a book that’s the real f***ing story and not some fairy tale.” Jim Cuomo – President, Ryko Distribution
“Should be in the car, van, or bus of anyone trying to make it.” Trevor Fischer – Illinois Entertainer Magazine
“Best speaker on the planet.” Paul Natkin, Chicago Music Commission
“Attention Rock Bands – this is your owner’s manual!” Joel Selvin – Senior pop critic, San Fransisco Chronicle