5 biggest lessons I learned my first year as an artist manager
Nothing is as it easy as we would like it to be. My first year diving into the world of an artist manager has had its ups and downs. But it has been damn fun! The role of the artist manager has evolved over the years along with the music industry. I cannot share all of the experiences I have encountered due to a variety of reasons. However, my experiences have left me with the urge to enlighten others who have considered or have embarked on a similar journey. Below I have outlined the 5 BIGGEST lessons I have learned so far in my first year managing an artist.
Stay organized new manager
Taking on the role of a manager implies that you have particularly acute organizational skill. If you have issues keeping track of your own personal finances, following through with detailed plans, or keeping up with dates, then this may not be your field. I work as part of a small team, in reality, I work in several small teams but that’s another story. In the team I am focusing on I have found myself wearing several different hats. I’ve been everything from an accountant to moderator. I have developed strategies, set deadlines, scheduled appointments, and help determine how we spent of our working budget. To be able to do this effectively demanded that I pay attention to the details of every aspect of the artists brand. It also requires that I keep track of a lot of information.
I found that I not only have to compartmentalize the information on the fly. But I also had to understand how to use the information in the most productive ways possible. Our group is very small and we have to continually find ways to move around obstacles. Or else be stuck in the mud in an industry that requires you to flow with the current.
Utilize ALL your resources
In this industry, nothing comes cheap. To make it will require sacrifice, courage, and a whole lot of resourcefulness. I’ve run into a lot of people in this industry on a whole lot of different levels. When I speak with the less successful tear I noticed an inability to use their imagination. They might have books and they may have a strategy but the real breakthrough comes from using what’s around you and creating something beautiful and unique.
When I say resources, I’m not just thinking about money, or your radio “plugs” or popular Dj friends. (Well them too) I’m talking about finding the usefulness in literally every minute of your day and in everybody that you know. Take nothing for granted! Turn whatever you can into a win for your team. Every studio session is a photo opp, every dollar is studio time, and all the moments in between is to build a relationship with the fanbase. Look at everything every day with the thought, “How can I make this work for me?” This is how you become resourceful.
Keep the circle small (at least at first)
The more the merrier? Bullshit.. The more people involved, the more complicated things become. Just starting out you want to create momentum, having too many heads in the mix too early will cause things to stall at almost every phase. I just about guarantee it. Large groups are attractive when you first start out. That’s more money and resources at your disposal. More people sharing the artist’s music. All around more support. The logic is there and it makes sense. Unfortunately, it will hardly ever be that simple.
People are different. They have their own goals and agendas. They have their own way of tackling issues and handling things. This will cause all sorts of unforeseeable hiccups. Keep the group small to start. You think you might miss the opportunity to grow fast but you won’t. The issues that arise in small groups will be worked out and resolved before you even come up with a plan of action in the larger group.
Agree on a strategic approach
Even in small groups, however, you still have to get on one accord. You and your team must sit down regularly to discuss and implement plans. You all have to have a single mind about your next steps. It’s a biblical principle for a reason. There is too much competition in the industry for any miscues internally. As the manager, you may find that it is your responsibility to keep everything in line. You’re the one with the mind for it after all. Embrace your role!
Budget and keep all receipts
Need I really expound? Keep receipts to every instrumental you purchase, every studio session, every photo shoot, and whatever else that you spend money on that relates to the brand. Set a budget on how much you want to invest in the brand of the artist and follow through. Putting a price tag on the projects allows you to be able to break it down into smaller more reasonable pieces. It will also give you a realistic timeline about when things can happen. When you see gaps between projects you know that you can fill it up with promo to keep your guy/girl relevant until the next move is ready.
A well-researched budget will make everything real for you. It’s easy to say “were going to go to the studio every day” before you get the bill!
These were my biggest lessons I’ve learned while managing my first real client. The journey has been fun and I plan on updating you guys at certain points in our development. If you found this article helpful, please share to your social networks. If you have anything you want to add feel free to leave a comment in the section provided below. Thank you!