ARTIST MANAGEMENT VERSUS LABEL

On 1 March, 2014 by Aldo Sianturi

Artist management

In 2008, I made a statement in Kompas “You Are The Record Label” because the phrase of label is not well-translated in our market. More over, the overall music sales are down and the economy is a bit iffy. The story brought a lot of instability on label’s business performance. The label guys were loosed their ground and unavoidably started an Artist Management and Booking Agent to get more revenue, but please underline that those sectors are purely not their expertise. But everyone is individual here and they ignored to stay on their own line and as expected that many of them are failed with the metamorphosis scenario.

On different field, this shifting is also happened. I met a lot of awesome people who I previously understand worked as Artist Management have instantly shifted as Label. I really surprised and happy to know they’re extending their scope of business. But on the other side, there’s one question I really want to ask about the fact they’re doing as a label. Because I think they’re not very clear about the moral obligation being a record company and out of their business priority. This is like a revenge to any labels who are also managing their artist as one of their paradigm shift named 360-degree deals.

Experience tells us that not every artist understands what it means to have a manager, and not every manager understands what it means to manage an artist. The relationship between the manager/management company and an artist/band is a very special bond. It is built on a foundation of trust, common values, integrity, commitment, parallel vision and definition of success. It requires varying levels of active participation from the management and the artist in every aspect of the journey toward success. Every artist doesn’t have the same management need so each relationship is unique and custom to the needs of the artist.

For some guys who are survive until now simply because the music of their musicians are acceptable, the market demand is quite big, the bands are solid, the creativity of their sales program are maintained and expanding their business development. But as I analysed, many of them are failed to live the metamorphosis scenario. So allow me to share the fundamentals points of Artist Management from Paul Allen below and Label as well. I hope we can define the best skeleton of each business focus.

Managing artists in the music business means that you are becoming a part of every facet of someone else’s life.
Helping direct the career success of an artist requires significant involvement in their life.
Being a manager is immensely time-consuming and slow to deliver rewards, but if you like the fast-pace lifestyle, the work will be worth it.
The music business swirls in its own continuous change, and the result has been: The shrinking influence of large record labels in the careers of artists.
Managers now provide many services formerly provided by: Record Labels.
A career in artist management requires a continuing–almost daily education by paying attention to what is happening in the music business and other industries and events that affect it, and what that means for the artists being managed.
Managers must be strong advocates for their artists. Advocates.
Artist managers must be creative, informed, and connected.
True or False: Managers should encourage Artists to take risks. True.
Managers must be vigilant about reading Trade Publications such as Billboard and Pollstar.
It is very important that a manager develops a personal network of contacts.
Networking is essential for an artist manager.
Developing meaningful Interpersonal Relationship can be challenging, but it is more important to the artist manager than any other skill or talent.
An artist manager must be Business-minded.
360 Deal (AKA Multiple Rights Recording Contract): A company/label is entitled to a percentage of some or all of the income streams of an artist in the music business.
Managers are now in a position to take on 360 Deals directly, beyond just receiving their commissions, but instead, also: Save artists money by doing more in-house, as well as creating more things to create revenue beyond recording and performing.
What is a goal of a record company? The exploitation of sound recordings.
What is a goal of a concert promoter? Selling tickets to shows.
What is a goal of radio? Airplay to increase listeners, thereby increasing advertising dollars.
Artist managers develop and build artists’ careers for the lon
Much of the work of an artist manager is Product Development / Sales and Promotion / Planning / Managing the work of the team around the artist.
Differing from the traditional employer-employee relationship, the manager: Is the employee of the Artist.
The level of trust and strength of the relationship between an artist and manager are often compared to those found in successful marriages.
One of the classic functions of management: Planning.
One of the classic functions of management: Organizing.
One of the classic functions of management: Leading / Directing.
One of the classic functions of management: Controlling.
A Career Plan results from collaboration between the manager and the artist, which provides direction and milestones to reach goals. Career Plan.
Organizing: Assembling the necessary resources to carry out a plan and to put those resources into a logical order.
Organizing: Defining the responsibilities of the artist’s team and managing everyone’s time.
Organizing: Allocating the amount of time necessary to follow the steps of a plan.
Organizing: Financing and funding the plan for a new artist’s career.
Organizing: Recruiting and employing labor expertise to put the plan into action.
Organizing: Forecasting the need for members of the artist’s team.
Leading: Ensuring that the talents and energy of the team are directed toward the career success of the artist.
Leading: Ensuring that the team stays on track with the artist’s career plan.
The Artist’s “Team:” The group of professionals who support the artist and have a common goal–the success of the career of the artist.
Controlling: Monitoring how effectively the career plan is being carried out and making any necessary adjustments to advance the plan.
Controlling: Developing strategic plans in an effort to control as much of the artist’s developing career as possible.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Understanding Human Nature.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Leadership Skills.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Coaching Skills.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Networking.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Social Skills.
One skill/personal trait of artist managers: Communication.
How can human nature be used to a manager’s advantage? Carefully playing into a gatekeeper’s ego.
What helps an artist to develop a focused and organized purpose? The influence of an artist manager on the early planning and development of an artist’s career.
Coaching: Involves short-term work toward an outcome that improves the artistry of an artist.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Good Sense of Business.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Technical Skills.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Problem Solver.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Be a Creative Thinker.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Be Persistent without Being Annoying.
“Other” Skill of an Artist Manager: Confidence.
Almost everything a manager does on behalf of an artist, they must also do on behalf of themselves.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Give yourself a good self-assessment by looking at your strengths you have and how you will use those to your and your clients’ best advantage.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Under every circumstance, be professional.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: If you work within an artist management firm, do all you can for the success of the company, not just for your clients.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Be sure the management firm you choose is a good match of styles, and be sure the artists you manage are a good fit with your personality and style.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Look for a mentor who can guide your development and be a sounding board for issues you face in management.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: The smartest managers recognize that for genuine growth, a career requires continuous education.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Know the business etiquette for the music industry.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Be prepared for career setbacks and brace yourself for recovery.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Keep an ongoing record of the things you achieve for yourself and for your clients, and document your public service work as a reminder to where you contribute your time.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Be a mentor to your eventual replacement, even though you and others think you are irreplaceable.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Be better than your competing artist managers, and become known as an expert.
Strategy to Build a Manager’s Position within the Management Profession: Look successful even when your career is still a work in progress.

To give you such a healthy understanding of record company, I must share a really great description from Allison Klein about label and how they work:

Business Affairs – This department deals with the business side of things. It takes care of bookkeeping, payroll and general finances.
Label Liaison – This is usually one person, or small group of people, who serves as the liaison between the record company’s distribution company (either an entirely separate division under the huge corporate umbrella or an outside company responsible for getting the CDs into the stores) and the record company. The label liaison also helps decide when to release an album (when the album goes on sale to the public) and makes sure it doesn’t conflict with any of the other labels the record company owns.
Legal Department – This department is responsible for all the contracts that are made between the company and the artist, as well as contracts between the record label and other companies. Any legal issues that arise (such as lawsuits between an artist and the company) go through this department.
Marketing Department – This department creates the overall marketing plan for every album that the record company will release. It helps coordinate the plans of the promotion, sales and publicity departments.
New Media – This department is in charge of dealing with the newer aspects of the music business, including producing and promoting music videos for the artist. In addition, this department is often responsible for helping an artist create a presence on the Internet. It deals with the new technologies in which artists can stream music and music videos through the Internet.
Promotion Department – This department’s main purpose is to make sure that an artist is being played on the radio. It must get an artist’s new songs on the radio in order to ensure the future success of the record company. This department makes sure that all the other departments are communicating about the best way to sell the artist to the public. The promotion department may also try to get videos played on MTV or VH1 channels. This can be the responsibility of this department or in conjunction with the New Media department.
Publicity – This group is responsible for getting the word out about a new or established artist. It arranges for articles to be written in newspapers and magazines. They also deal with radio and television coverage of an artist. Many artists also have their own independent publicists who help coordinate publicity with this department as well.
Sales – This department oversees the retail aspect of the record business. It works with the record store chains and other music stores to get new albums onto retailers’ shelves. The sales department often coordinates these efforts with the promotion and publicity departments.

Out of the above perspective of mine, I really want to see my people work brilliantly and deserve a great success on every level of music business they implemented. But they have to pay attention on the global scale of music business. Just because they have investor, capital, flight time, team, additional resources they can’t just shifted and play recklessly. They have to hire an advisor and hire a new team who are focusely work to hit the target and bring their value and profit. If it’s not well-described on a business plan, then I can say the commitment will not solidly stands. Be Careful! @2014/AldoSianturi

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