Amanda Schupf is a born and raised New Yorker, mother, creative executive, entrepreneur and the founder of MAX - a boutique music management company that focuses on guiding the careers of artists, producers and songwriters as well as providing creative solutions for labels, publishers and other music rights holders. She is known as a team-first leader and passionate advocate for the creative community. When engaging in business, she is known as straightforward and consistent - always able to see the bigger picture and galvanize people toward a successful outcome.
Amanda recalls coming to music, and what it means to be a fan, with her discovery of Hip Hop when she was in High School. She first heard A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Can Get Down” in the ninth grade and immediately fell in love with the genre. She would compulsively visit the HMV store on 86th and 3rd with her friends - purchasing cassette singles by the new recording artists. One of three sisters, Amanda is deeply rooted in the cultural awareness that comes with growing up in New York City - in addition to her intrinsic love for hip hop, she is also one who appreciates contemporary art. These days her home is peppered with personal favorites by Albers, Alex Katz and Mr. Brainwash.
Amanda graduated high school, went off to a small liberal arts school in Amherst, Massachusetts, and not long after the relocation she found herself as a DJ at the college radio station. Each night and into the small hours of the morning, Amanda could be heard playing her favorite Hip Hop artists - Mobb Deep, Biggie, Tupac and early Neptunes productions. She subsequently found someone at the station who could teach her the turntables, and thereafter she would DJ parties and fully explore their record collection. For four years Amanda was the main DJ at Amherst. This particular pursuit continued after she returned to New York City as a graduate. Naturally, In her first year back home she bought turntables and started a record collection of her very own. During those first post-graduate years she took on various jobs (to pay the rent), and applied her spare time to achieving certification as a Bikram Yoga teacher.
In 2003 Amanda entered NYU’s Steinhardt School of Continuing Education to undertake her masters degree in Music Technology. During her time studying she learned the art of engineering, binary coding, music theory and wrote her thesis about pro tools. She graduated in 2005, took up a job at Battery Studios and then another at Sony Music, where she worked with artists including Pharrell and Swizz Beatz. It was a time of community and collaboration, all under one roof. Amanda was introduced to John Legend and hired to be an employee at his label - Homeschool Records - where she worked on the Estelle project. Estelle won a GRAMMY Award - best rap/sung collaboration - in 2008 for her song American Boy. During those years Amanda’s curiosity for entrepreneurial life began and she founded Boutique Audio - a studio design company that composed and built two recording studios for John Legend - one of which was featured in Architectural Digest. In each studio she worked closely together with her fellow audiophile and friend Blake Douglas. It was while working in the studio at Cherry Lane (Legend’s then music publishing house) that she met Rich Stumpf - who later became the President of Imagem. In 2010, Amanda joined the Imagem family (now Concord) as an A&R Manager. It was a combination of Rich’s belief in her, Amanda’s tireless work ethic and her curiosity for knowledge that led her to explore the business of music publishing. It was a time in Amanda’s life that she looks back on fondly - favorite moments are seen in respective ventures executed with Ludacris and Swizz Beatz. Other highlights include helping sign Mark Ronson and working with the legendary Elvis and Sammy Cahn Estates.
In 2014, Amanda departed Imagem and accepted a role as Head of A&R at Ingrooves Music Publishing.
Enter the producer and songwriter Mick Schultz. He is best known within music labels and studio houses for discovering, signing and launching the artist Jeremih, as well as his work with Rihanna on her critically acclaimed album ANTI - Mick produced “Desperado”. Amanda had worked hard to land Schultz a deal with Ingrooves but could not galvanize the support that she needed to execute. It was not yet time for their shadow future to manifest and Mick wound up signing with a competitor. A new door was opened when Amanda offered to continue helping him build his vision. That’s Amanda through and through. With her leadership spirit, she made the offer of continuing to grow with the producer and trusting that their collaboration would yield results with time.
During that time she continued with her role with Ingrooves, although the company began to change significantly. They were without a CEO and had shifted their strategy from A&R to data-centric decision-making. Over the course of those months and years, Amanda gave birth to a baby boy and began to follow her intuition that it might be time to open up her own shop.
Then one day in 2018 Amanda and Ingrooves decided to part ways. In the days that followed she knew that this represented something more significant - she had felt frustrated with the reckless waste of talent that she had witnessed and she knew that this was now an opportunity to focus on her business vision. She officially launched and named her company MAX - after her son.
For Amanda Schupf, the transition to entrepreneurial life was not an easy one. In the Autumn of 2018, Amanda made the personal commitment to sever the traditional ideas of what she thought a career in music would be, and she focused down on her roster. She enjoyed being the decision maker for her clients and helping them navigate the small steps of their long game. For Amanda, the large majority of decisions are easy because they are anchored by her first principle - Big Picture.
Through 2019 MAX experienced rapid growth as it brought on new clients, added artist management functions and tailored services to an increasing group of consulting clients. The team expanded to the west coast and Amanda instinctively took time to cultivate and foster a team-first roster culture. In early 2020, Schupf added artist, hit songwriter and entrepreneur, Tayla Parx to the MAX Consulting roster, via Tayla's umbrella company TaylaMade Inc. The appointment was driven by an instant connection and values alignment between the two. Through his appointment, Schupf supports Tayla not only as she navigates her growing artist and songwriter careers, but also as she scales her business portfolio to include a publishing company (Parx Pub), creative content company (Parx Studios), management company (3020) and several other business entities.
The culture of open communication that Amanda fosters at MAX, together with her passion for education has begun to play a larger role in her life - illustrated through her additional mentoring responsibilities with young managers. Amanda Schupf's leadership skills became vital as the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.A in March 2020. During months of uncertainty and turbulence, Schupf focused on a holistic approach with her clients and communication. Keeping her clients productive and their spirits up. Her previous experiences in pivoting during times of crisis and ability to always see the big picture - these tools served as essential in her leadership.
Amanda Schupf believes that the reduction of ego is vital to her ability to deliver for her roster - no question is too small and no discussion is ever trivial. Her job is to facilitate the conditions for the roster to do their best work and experiment creatively - the right song can break an artist and therefore it’s her daily mission to have more artists try more songs. When asked about the guiding idea that she draws upon in her day to day management experiences, she says: “Put the music out. Don’t have it sit on a hard drive where it’s disconnected from life. Be open-minded and embrace a willing attitude to explore all opportunities, even if in the moment one presents itself it doesn’t feel like the ‘perfect’ fit. That's what's great about chance, you don't know what’s on the other side.”
These values are what has naturally guided Amanda to take this next step in her career story - joining the team at the international B2B music licensing company Songtradr. While she continues to oversee MAX, she is simultaneously inspired to be part of a platform who are values aligned and equally as determined to utilise non-traditional ways to have music monetized, while meeting opportunity and an audience.