The [PIAS] blog has a very informative interview with Simon Raymonde (known for his distinctive multi-string bass lines with Cocteau Twins) about his experiences running the Bella Union label. This bit of advice should be especially heeded, in my opinion:
A few years ago I decided I wouldn’t sign anyone I didn’t like as a person.
There’s brilliant bands everywhere. But when you meet a manager who’s an idiot or meet a band and think they’re just not very nice, I don’t want to work with them. Even if I think their music is the best thing ever.
I’ve worked with people over the years where I’ve thought: ‘These people are going to kill me. This manager is going to force me into an early grave.’
We don’t do that anymore. They meet my wife and my cat. We go for coffee and I ask who their manager is, who the agent is, who the lawyer is. If it’s a nice bunch of people, we take the gamble.