You Can’t Do It Alone!

© 2009 Vinny Ribas

There is no such thing as a ‘solo career’! The main reason for this is that it is literally impossible to build a career completely by oneself. Whether you realize it or not, it takes a team of people to generate your income. Some team members will be on the business side of your career, some on the fan side, some on the creative side, and others on the musical side. And they all need to work together like a well-oiled machine!

What is an artist’s team? It is the almost never-ending list of people and businesses that [private_member]affect every aspect of your career. Some you hire directly, such as attorneys, producers, musicians or accountants. Some are volunteers, such as your most vocal fans who shout your praises to the world on their own. Some might be partners with an equity stake in your business, such as investors or even band members. Others might be ‘customers’, in the form of your fans, the venues that hire you etc.

Let’s break it down by the different roles they play. On the business side, you might have an attorney, a bookkeeper or accountant, a business manager, a road manager, one or more booking agencies, a marketing person or firm, a publisher or song-plugger, various consultants, an administrative assistant, a radio promoter, a publicist, a web designer and more. On the musical side, you may have band members, studio musicians and singers, producers, engineers, co-writers, a recording studio, a videographer, a performance coach and more. On the fan side you have fans who just like and listen to your music, fans who buy your music, fans who buy your merchandise, fans who show up for your shows, fans who are on your mailing list, fans who promote your music to their friends etc. On the performance side you may have musicians, sound techs, lighting techs, instrument/equipment techs, a truck or bus driver, a performance coach, a choreographer and more.

Does this sound overwhelming or intimidating to you? If it does, don’t let it bog you down. You acquire team members as your career progresses. And as you get bigger and start commanding more money, some leading team members will manage the other team members for you. Some will be around a long time, while others will come and go with the wind. The important thing that you need to know is that, no matter what level your career is at right now, you have a team. And that team needs to communicate with each other, know what each other is doing and thinking, agree on how things should and will get done, and have your best interests, not theirs, in mind at all times!

Why is this important? First of all, if everyone is not of the same mind, with moving your career forward as their main focus, you will have chaos. You will also spend much more money that you really need to, and you’ll spend it in ways and places that don’t benefit you at all. More importantly, if everyone is insistent on pushing their own agendas, your sound, image, marketing, performances, recordings and everything else that reaches your fans will send mixed messages. Your sound won’t match your look. Your fans will see one side of you live, and hear a completely different side of you in your recordings. You’ll confuse them as to who you really are. Your fans will leave you because they never know what to expect, instead of being consistently loyal over the long run.

One of the primary roles of a manager is to assist you in developing and managing the right team of people that can take your career to the next level. However, until you are popular and in-demand enough to attract a top-notch and experienced manager or management firm, finding the right members for your team is the most important task you have! No one else can fill these shoes for you! You need to have confidence that each of your team members has integrity, has the ability to morph their talents around yours, has the skills and expertise that you need, and has your best interest in mind at all times. Their jobs are to make you look and sound the best that you possibly can. You need to insure that they are communicating with each other so that there is consistency in your brand. Communications will also avoid unnecessary redundancy, where 2 people are doing the same thing (and both are charging you for it)!

How do you accomplish this? Start small. Be selective with the people who you hire to fill various roles in your career. Hire the best within your budget. Interview a LOT of prospects and select those you feel most comfortable with and confident in. Network with industry professionals and get recommendations. Find one or two people who are farther along in their careers than you are and who are willing to ‘give back’ by mentoring you and connecting you with the right people. Be a sponge and learn everything you can about the ins and outs of the industry. If you know what you’re doing and what you’re looking for, you won’t attract the weasels who are just trying to make a quick buck off you!

When your team is working together effortlessly, there is no stress to affect your performance. The result is that your music and your live shows come across completely natural and relaxed, because you’re are focusing only on what you do best! [/private_member]

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.