Modern Day Artist Management
Let’s take an analogy first and we will delve deep into the subject a bit later.
Think of artist management as a wagon wheel. The artist is the hub of the wagon wheel. The manager is kind of the bearings around the grease on the artist and the spokes are each individual part of their career.
Touring, recording, publishing, merchandising, public relations, record label, booking agency and the band — all these spokes are important for the well rounded career of a music artist. If the spokes are all in sync and they are all the same length, then the wheel is round and the career rolls down the road and the artist has success. The job of the manager is to protect the spokes from falling apart in order to keep the wheel round and rolling 24*7 .
Does an artist really need a manager ?
An artist, universally, needs a few things to succeed. They need music and vision, an investor (whether that’s a label, production company, parents, etc.), organisation, publicity and promotion, and internal/external motivation. Those are just a few pieces of the pie. They probably won’t win with just that formula, but it’s a damn good start. It really does start with the artistry.
Every artist wants to be heard but given the total number of music out there today aided by the digital revolution, there is a lot of noise. The key to success is standing out and getting your music away from the noise to the prospective fan using innovative ways of distribution and marketing. Artist, tour, financial management and promotions — each is a different type of art.
For an artist to carve out a niche in the Music industry, it is necessary to zero in their efforts in their art and get people or representatives for the rest of their job who could bring as much to the table as they do. Here a manager can step in to elevate the artist’s career and their band. He can play a diverse role by constantly pushing the artist from a creative standpoint and at the same time managing their business in the real world.
An artist may need three different managers for specific job roles through their career, viz., Artist / Talent Manager, Tour Manager and Business Manager. A tour manager is in charge of the big chunk of planning before the band even goes out on the road. They make sure that the tour runs smoothly.
A business manager takes care of all the money related matters. They have been in the industry for long and they know how to protect an artist’s money. By working hard to raise the bottom line (profit) by cutting costs and increasing efficiency, the business manager helps the artist to become more sustainable in the long run.
The third one is the day-to-day manager of the artist who really has a lot on his plate. They have to pretty much be the best friend of the artist. They have to believe wholeheartedly that the artist is going to be successful. Many times they take up artists for free because they believe in them and when the artist becomes successful, they eventually make a lot of money.
What does an Artist Manager actually do ?
An artist / talent manager makes sure that the artist’s business runs everyday — just accurate to their vision. His day-to-day job is to oversee each component of the artist’s business operation. This includes — touring, recording, publishing, record label, merchandising, television, etc. Not only he advances their shows, but makes introductions, forms strategic alliances, and does everything in his power to help an artist succeed and become sustainable.
Artist managers are rather Storytellers
Artists craft stories and artist managers tell them.
In an era when we stream and sample music, it’s becoming very difficult to get audience engage with it because we can taste things but we really don’t want to absorb them. By becoming a storyteller the manager can have the audience give attention to the band as they just listens to its music.
An artist manager is artist’s Rock Of Gibraltar
The artists who have the most success are the ones who never go away or disappear. The minute an artist stops moving forward, he actually starts moving backwards. A competent artist manager will never let that happen for his band/artist. He will help the artist adapt to “I need to be great all the time” temperament.
Instead of saying “Hey, go away and live your life ; and come back to me and give ten great songs.”, he would rather ask, “Hey, what did you do yesterday?” He will help the artist have a daily conversation with their audience and also challenge them to constantly put up music.
It’s important to stay in front of your audience and stay relevant. It’s a hell lot difficult but that’s the real job of an artist manager to get this thing out of the artist. He knows how to keep the wheel moving without the creative quality of the record getting hurt.
An Artist Manager is the artist’s Right hand
An artist manager is the one guy who is on call almost all the time. Artists are going to call him when their van has broken down, or when their flight gets cancelled, or when they say something wrong in an interview. An artist manager has to make sure that the artist is doing the right thing he needs to do at the right time. He watches out for his artists so that they are not taken advantage of by any of the different elements.
An artist manager is the liaison between the artist and record label, artist and booking agency or publishers. He represents the artist in the music community. Through his established business contacts, he pushes the artist to Labels and promotes him in any outlet possible. Sometimes artists do not control their social media and artist managers are the ones doing that for them.
Career as an Artist Manager
Undoubtedly, it’s the area in the music industry where one can make the most money. Day-to-day managers (artist managers) make a percentage ultimately off of every element of an artist’s career whether it’s merchandise sell, CD sell, shows or any area that the artist is bringing in money. They often make 10–15 % and sometimes even 20 % of the gross.
Artist Managers can be rightly considered as babysitters or parents of an artist because they do so much for them that can’t be paid back in money. They are known to have given phenomenal artists to the industry and have saved talent from perishing over years.
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