- Who are you trying to please?
- What are you promising?
- How much money are you trying to make?
- How much freedom are you willing to trade for opportunity?
- What are you trying to change?
- What do you want people to say about you?
- Which people?
- Do we care about you?
(and after each answer, ask ‘why?’)
Taken from an Article by Robert Horsfall – Sound Advice/Connected
In an interview with Word magazine (February 2009), Lilly Allen said “I’m really famous and I sell a lot of records, why aren’t I a millionaire? Don’t sign a record deal – that’s my advice. Do it yourself! And definitely don’t sign a three-sixty deal. Actually, I want to start a management company, called Seven-Twenty.”
Whether or not 360 degree deals are here to stay, it is safe to say that the music industry landscape has irreversibly changed, such that there is an increasing burden on the advisory team surrounding the artist. As Lilly Allen reveals, the new generation of artists aren’t just internet-savvy, they are business-savvy and will rightfully expect more of their managers and advisers.
It has always been the manager’s job to liaise with a typical team line-up of label, publisher, agent, lawyer and accountant. Now the line –up can be as extensive as the first team squad of a club competing in the Champions League. With labels outsourcing more functions; with artists favouring self-administration of their music publishing; with artists having DIY digital, e-commerce, merchandising and website strategies; with managers taking over some of the functions traditionally handled by agents, promoters and ticketing agents; with touring now being a more complex all-year-round and global function, the role of the manager is now more complex and demanding than ever before.
Notwithstanding the efforts of bodies such as the MMF, the IMMF and conferences such as In the City and the ILMC, there is no formal “schooling” for managers: rather, they simply “learn on the job,” absorbing what they can from those around them, learning from experience (and mistakes), all the time expected by their acts to show that they are in charge, or at least in control. The manager’s “lot” can be a tough one: not getting credit when things go right, but getting stick (indeed, the chop) when things go wrong.
The UK has not seen many uber management companies, akin to those that exist in the USA. Nor has the UK mimicked the American model of “business management,” where, typically, an accountancy team handle all financial management functions for an artist (Tenon’s acquisition of the law firm, Statham Gill Davies in the late 90s was a short lived attempt at this).
In recent years, however, we have seen the move by MAMA /Supervision to introduce a co-operative / umbrella type structure for managers, giving them an infrastructure under a partnership type model. We have also seen other “mentoring” artist management link-ups.
We have also seen the emergence of Edge, a predominantly legal team immersing itself in the important live and funding sectors.
Change breeds change. We cannot afford to stand still in comfort zones. Clients’ needs and wishes have to be responded to.
The basic philosophy of a new business is to have a structure and infrastructure that empowers artists and their management / advisory teams. The artist management community all too often suffers from “cottage industry” criticisms. Legal and accountancy teams are often criticised for insufficient proactivity, obsessions with long client lists, poor communication skills, inappropriate charging models.
The 360 degree deal necessitates a 360 degree service behind it. Never before has it been so necessary for lawyers and accountants to work together for the good of artists and managers. Contracts are now living and breathing documents, constantly impacting on the daily modus operandi of the label / artist relationship. Indeed, labels themselves admit they do not yet fully understand the mechanics of touring, ticketing, merchandising, endorsement deals and e-commerce. A huge burden falls on the managers – hence the need for managers to move out of the “cottage” .
Music shapes our lives. From the associated fashion, to the tribe we belong to.. Music is the soundtrack to our lives and evokes recall of memories. What albums did you listen to the most while growing up and how did it influence you? Feel free to comment below 🙂
The four tenets of sponsorship, as used by Converse (who do a lot of work in the music world:)
- Own not rent.
- Create IP – go beyond the event
- Big ideas that travel
- Be useful
The manager of 2011 really does have to be a master of all trades. From planning a strategy, to seeking investment, to running a promotion campaign, to acting as an agent, lawyer and all round business know it all… Every day is different in my world!
Over the past year I have had to use the skills developed building and running one of the UK’s most successful Promotion Companies to develop and build a label for a client.
It’s a new world and not one for the work shy! My day at the moment starts at 7.00am dealing with Asia (Going through business, mix snags and the such like) a quick break at 8.30am to do a school run then back by 9.15am to start my normal day, which seems on average to end about 10.00pm once I have managed to speak to writers in LA.. Coffee helps!
Its a new way of getting paid.. No more the security of a paycheck each month or being paid for the number of hours I put in, but being paid on results. If I generate money for my clients I get paid.
Isn’t that the way all employment is going? You get results you keep your Job. You fail you lose your Job. (Unless of course you are a politician or a CEO of a major Company – or a banker in which case the opposite applies!)
But I still get up with a spring in my step. I still manage to fit in lecturing (passing on some of the knowledge that I have built up over the years) to Music Industry students.. For the money? No (but it does help!) – Its because I care about my industry, because I love my job, because I believe in doing things differently and if I find a path is blocked finding a new way through until I get the result I seek… Passion that’s why I do this and a belief that I can in some small way make a difference… I’m not interested in spending the day moaning about the major changes to the Music Industry, I have to embrace them. They will not change back! Seek new ways of doing business or create new ways. Innovate, work hard and don’t be afraid of doing things differently. If people say you are wrong, don’t argue just prove they are wrong with results. Don’t expect anything, don’t wait for the phone to ring.. make things happen. These are the qualifications of todays manager.