Confessions of an artist manager

The music industry is tough. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s builds you up, strips you bare and then runs away with everything leaving you questioning everything you thought you knew. That’s one side of it.

The other side is the better side. It is having an artist manager relationship where all the above to some degree becomes worth it because you battle through it together and build a foundation that is unbreakable.

I’m not saying you will work with that artist forever, because life happens, but you never lose that friendship, trust or loyalty. The loyalty is something that remains in place throughout your life, throughout any situation no matter what ‘job’ you are in.

It’s no secret to some that I hate the music industry. Let’s face it, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I follow my heart, i can’t hide my emotions, I take things personally all too often and I really don’t have a tough skin. Pretty much all the things you need to survive this dog eat dog world. So what the hell am I doing living and breathing it?

The answer is I don’t know.

All I do know is that it becomes part of you. It gets into your veins and when the successes hit a high you are high and when they are low, they are the lowest of the low. It is a drug that you can’t escape from no matter how much your head tells you to. No matter how much you want to protect yourself, you just can’t save yourself from it.

The most difficult part is knowing and believing 150% how amazing your artist is and wanting everyone else to see that. And when I mean everyone, I mean EVERYONE. And god I will try.

It’s true that not each person I come into contact with is going to like my artists music and I get that completely but I have this fierce overwhelming urge to make them at least understand the time, work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears that go into their craft and for them to appreciate that.

You see, we have had setbacks, we have had opportunities that we have worked so hard for given to us and then lost and we have had days where we just don’t want to do this anymore and that for me is a killer.

As an artist manager you begin to question your abilities. You wonder if you have worked hard enough, if you have gone to the right place at the right time, you wonder if you have spoken to as many people as you could have done, if you should have worked 20 hours a day instead of 18, if you should have gone to the latest launch party and the thoughts go on and on and on until you don’t even know what you were thinking in the first place.

Set backs are hard for an artist manager. You feel guilt, deflation, you feel like you are going to lose your artist.

But then you see what your artist is going through and you feel their emotion and their pain and this then intensifies yours because you feel responsible and you feel protective and the very last thing you want to see is them defeated or let down.

So everything that happens, an artist manager you feel it twice. Every success. Every set back. Every achievement. Every defeat. Every high. Every low. Each one is felt twice. Each one with a hard hitting emotion that you feel responsible for.

The music industry is thankless and it is fickle and ever changing. It is not supportive as most people would have you believe.

Let’s take for example, and quite apt for what we have just done and will be in the middle of again very soon, a single campaign.

You of course want your peers to support you because they understand what you have gone through to get this single out there into the world. They understand the time it takes to write the lyrics, to rewrite and then rewrite again. They understand the challenge of recording, mixing, remixing, maybe going back and changing the lyrics again, mixing again and mastering.

They understand the effort to get the music out to radio, to follow up with said radio to ensure airplay, the social media updates, the website updates, the marketing side, the strategy for pre release and post release, the distribution set up, the artwork design, the pre save and pre order links, the gigging, the interviews, the festival applications, the successes, the rejections and often the small factor of having a full time day job and children and families to look after. Oh and maybe getting a couple of hours sleep.

Your peers will get that and support you right?!

Well, as an Artist Manager, I’m going to say you are wrong.

I study everything. And again I mean EVERYTHING. From chart positions and streams of other artists, to the support they give to my artist.

Every week without fail, a message will hit my inbox, “hey, I have this single coming out. It would be amazing if you would support me by ordering/streaming/downloading’ and so on.

Or ‘hey thanks for accepting my friend request. Ive followed your work. Here’s my song if you would download it’

This isn’t a way to build a business.

It isn’t a way of building your fan base. But what my point is, is that every one will always forget what you have done for them.

You bought their single 6 months ago and shared their Facebook post about their next show.

You now have a single coming out and where is the support?

That’s right. Right where they forgot about you buying their single 6 months ago.

But announce that you are quitting the music industry tomorrow and you will get 1,000 comments saying how amazing your music is and how they have always supported you.

No you haven’t!

So as an artist manager, let me just say that the music industry whilst undeniably resentful, full of jealousy, cliques and resistance has given me something that I never saw in myself.

Fierce loyalty and determination.

And that loyalty isn’t to the music industry. My loyalty isn’t to the cliques that’s have formed. I have no intention of putting on a fake smile and pretending I admire somebody’s work just so we can get a foot in the door. I have no desire to be part of a clique. Those will soon disband. There will always be another ‘cool kids’ club that pops up.

My loyalty is to my artist who I see work consistently hard with more determination and stubborn ability than I have, and that is saying something.

It is to my artist who I have often seen deflated by the way the music industry deals some ridiculously cruel cards and to my artist who I have let see me just as deflated.

It is to my artist who is constantly navigating this horribly difficult industry with me. Every one of those highs and every one of those lows.

It is to my artist who I have unrivalled loyalty to and unrivalled belief in and who I know that no matter what happens in the industry, I have a friend for life because you can’t do this thankless job and not have someone who you can tell anything to. You need that sounding board through the good and the bad.

It is to us. Who keep it real even at the worst of times. Who believe that the hard work and commitment will eventually pay off.

And that is why I keep fighting to navigate my way through the industry because in my eyes there is no one more deserving of success than the artist who does that.

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