To succeed in the music business as an artist you must first understand and acknowledge that you are a business, and like any other enterprise, you will need to put together a team that can run and manage your business affairs.
In the New Music Economy, artists need to think differently in order to maximize their opportunities and increase their revenue streams; this means you need a team of experts around you that will help you make the most out of your talent and career. No two artists are the same and therefore, no two artists should have the same exact team structure. I will get to this in a future article.
For now I will look at the key people you need to have in your team if you want to WIN!
The personal manager should be the first person you hire in your team; this is the CEO of your enterprise. This person will provide a strategy to help you materialize your vision, negotiate on your behalf, guide you, protect you and help you make all the difficult decisions.
A personal manager should be someone with ‘smarts’. This person must be passionate about your career, must clearly understand your vision and have a plan to bring it to life, must have an extensive network base, and must be willing to go to the trenches with you.
Once you have appointed a personal manager, it will be that person’s job to find the rest of the team.
“Copping chains is cool but what’s more important is lawyer fees” – Jay-Z (Never Change, Blueprint)
This is really self-explanatory; a lawyer will help you understanding all those difficult law terms they usually throw in a contract to confuse the likes of you and me. If you are going to make any sort of money in the music business, then you are definitely going to have to sign a few contracts.
You don’t need to put the lawyer on a retainer unless you are one of those people that prefer to live on the other side of the law.
“But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – - Carpe – - hear it? – - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – Robin Williams (as John Keating in Dead Poets Society)
Before you can leverage your brand equity, you will need to brand yourself first. This is instrumental in today’s music industry climate.
There are 3 main reasons why people don’t buy your music:
- They do not like you
- They cannot find you
- They do not know you exist
Notice that none of the reasons above say: they have no money.
If you are an artist and you are struggling to sell your music, you may want to really look at some of these reasons above and see if any apply to you.
What if they do not like me?
This is actually the worst reason (it takes courage to admit it), but it can be solved. The fact that your current target audience does not like you is not the end of the world and it does not mean that you have to change who you are completely to get some love. But like most relationships in life, you have 2 options:
- Go out and find the people who do like you
- Change yourself (re-brand) so that they can identify with you and your work.
Why brand yourself?
Whether or not you go look for a new market, you should still brand yourself. Why should any artist be interested in questions about branding and marketing? It is a fallacy to believe that a brand is something that only Coca Cola and Pepsi should worry about. As an artist you are your own brand. Whether or not you know it or acknowledge it, you are already a brand.
Every brand has a story and you have a choice – let someone write your story for you (because they will eventually) or write your own story. Be sure to tie the story of your brand to your values and ethics.
Business Development Manager:
In the New Music Economy, corporate cheques for artists are way bigger than the royalty cheques and over and above just the money; being associated with a big corporate brand will add more equity to your brand and open new opportunities.
To get the corporate deals, you need someone in your team that will go out and create these opportunities.
Someone needs to create those amazing business opportunities for you. That’s your Business Development Manager!
You need PR! We have all heard how the media can make or break you. A good publicist helps make the media MAKE YOU!
Let’s take Kim Kardashian for example. Without the PR machinery working for her, she would have just been another pretty face with a big round behind. She is a classic example of how media can make you. She has no obvious talent – at least not in the conventional definition of ‘talent,’ but she has been able to build a mini fortune for herself and a brand that many young girls around the world follow religiously. According to the website www.therichest.org, Kim Kadarshian is worth a whopping $38 million.
This is the person whose primary role is to help guide you in your financial decisions. If it was not for 50 Cent’s business manager, he would have never invested in Glacéau Vitamin Water – a deal that earned $100 million after taxes when Coca Cola bought the company.
When you start out, your personal manager will generally fill most of these roles and that’s OK, but as soon as you start making some level of money, it will be best that you hire people that specialize in these roles.
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