When Business Relationships Aren’t Working

2019 Vinny Ribas

It’s just a part of life that sometimes relationships don’t always go as planned. At some point or another you are bound to experience a disagreement with a band member, a riff with your booking agent or manager, or even a disagreement with a club owner. The true test of professionalism and leadership is how you handle these kinds of situations. This is where the rubber meets the road. So here are a few suggestions.

  1. Wait until you are calm, collected and have your thinking straight before you confront the other person. In the heat of the moment, discussions over differences can escalate quickly into arguments, and words might be said that can’t be taken back.
  2. Try to understand the other person’s point of view, or at least the reason things happened the way they did .Sometimes there are extenuating and often unrelated circumstances that are responsible for the other person’s words or actions.  
  3. Whenever possible, agree to disagree. This is not a rule. Sometimes differences in opinion, ethical choices or even career direction can stop forward progress in its tracks. But sometimes having a balance of sides can be a strength rather than a weakness or a roadblock. Be sure you know and weigh the long-term affect of your difference before you sever the relationship.  
  4. Know when and how to walk away. Sometimes it is best to part ways. That is inevitable. But it’s often possible and wise to try to sever the professional relationship while keeping the personal relationship intact. In fact, separating the business relationship from the personal relationship can actually strengthen that personal relationship. Just think of all the happily married couples who know they could never work together. 
  5. If do need to sever the relationship, don’t burn your bridges. Find a way to leave on a positive note. The music community is much smaller than you think, and professionals ask each other for references and recommendations about who to work with. You don’t ever want your reputation ruined over a business difference that escalated out of proportion.
About The Author

Vinny Ribas

This post may or may not have been written by me. Check the credits in he post itself :-) I am the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and education company. We also publish the Business Side of Music podcast. During my 40+ year career, I have been a full time musician, an artist manager, a booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. I have authored over 300 music industry articles, many of which are available free on www.indieconnect.com.