30,000 Ft. View Of Artist Management

managementI was recently asked if I know if any good books on artist management. The truth is, I don’t know of any, and I don’t think it’s possible to write one! The reason I say that is the fact that a good manager has of a strong combination of industry knowledge and some important, highly developed skills. Here is a 30,000 ft. view of how I perceive my responsibilities as a manager. Others may have different perspectives or different roles depending on the level and nature of the act they are working with.

1. Business Set-Up – This means that it’s my job to put all of the things in place from a business and legal perspective so that my artist’s business is set up properly (e.g. LLC), run efficiently, is financially sound and responsible, is protected (legal issues, insurance etc.) and is always in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that pops up (assuming it’s a good one).

2. Planning and Strategy – That means it’s my job to develop a plan that capitalizes on the act’s strengths and finding ways to make them stand out from the rest of the market. It also includes devising plans for funding the artist’s career, developing the marketing plan and instituting a strategy for gigging. It means that I have to stay up to date (or ahead of the curve) on technologies, both music and marketing trends, opportunities that exist etc.

3. Contacts – That means developing the connections needed to implement the plan you’ve developed and then putting them into play. The manager is in charge of putting the ultimate team together that will best help the artist meet and surpass all of his/her goals. This can include a booking agency, entertainment attorney, business manager or accountant etc). I also help my artist connect with hit co-writers, great musicians etc.

4. Negotiations – This includes everything from label deals to licensing opportunities. Of course, much of this is done with the aid of team members. But, in most situations I am the one who initiate and guide the negotiations.

5. Decision-Making – It is my job to make the tough decisions. For example, is this the right label to sign with? Which of these 2 gigs on the same date would be most advantageous to take – the one that pays more or the one that puts the act in front of more potential fans? What merchandise should my act be selling? When is it time to record a new project?

There is a lot more to it than this. But the bottom line is that a good manager is one who knows all of the different aspects of the business, all of the roles within the industry, and how all of the pieces fit together. It’s the only way he can make wise decisions. It also enables him to formulate and execute the unique and creative kinds of plans and strategies that will propel the act ahead in front all of the other competition.

Managers get paid a percentage of an artist’s income. The artist’s success is ultimately directly related to the manager’s ability to do everything mentioned above. If you are working with someone who is not doing all of these things, chances are he or she is engaged more in artist development than in true management. In your case this may be absolutely necessary to get all of your ducks in a row so that you can attract a good manager. But if your act is solid, you have a great website, you’re gigging regularly and you feel it’s time to move to the next level, and you can’t or don’t know how to do it on your own, seeking an experienced manager may be your wisest next move.

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.