I was sitting at a local coffee shop recently when an old
friend approached. We got to talking and he asked me if I
was still in the personal management business. I told him
that I was and mentioned the acts that I represented. "Oh,"
he replied, "you're still managing that act? Seems you've
been with them forever! How long do you stick with an artist?"
Naturally, I answered him quickly and intelligently, but
his question did make me think. How long do you stick with
an artist? How long is too long? Is there such a thing as
too long? If you set a series of goals and do not meet those
goals should you resign? Be fired? What?
Whoa, boy! Slow down just a second. Let's go back to the
very beginning. At the start of every artist-manager relationship,
there needs to be a mutual set of goals to accomplish: Write
great songs, develop sound image, prepare kick-ass live show,
record an in-your-face demo, etc. As time goes by and you
achieve these goals one at a time, you cross them off the
list and add new ones. This process is neverending.
Taking an even closer look at this list, it becomes obvious
that the elements are not ones that are easily accomplished.
Write great songssure, we all want to do that, but how long
does it take to write a dozen great songs? How about five
great songs? How about ONE great song? A day? Week? Month?
Develop a great imageeasier said than done. And just what
does that mean? What kind of image? And how do you make certain
it meshes with the music you play?
Prepare a kick-ass live show: Yeah, right. I can count on
one hand the number of acts that have a great live show. And
what about the entertainment value of that show? Do you need
props? Will there be a production? Other guest performers?
Record an in-your-face demo: Where? In what studio? Who produces?
Who pays for pre-production? Who pays for the studio time?
Analog or digital? Which songs? Where do you mix? Do you master
the songs? How many copies do you manufacture?
Starting to get the picture? Success shouldn't be measured
by your relationship to superstardom but rather to your individual
achievements as you move closer to superstardom.
Is your band taking several baby steps forward every week
or are you standing still most of the time?
Do you accept the daily challenges with open arms or are
you constantly bitching about all of the work?
Do you strive to always do things in a professional manner
or is "just good enough" always good enough for you?
Are you thorough and meticulous with your career or are you
double parked and can't wait to move on to the next thing?
Are you always looking for short cuts or do you realize that
there is no short cut for knowledge and hard work?
Are you self-motivated or waiting for a baby sitter to come
in and clean up after you?
There isn't a single person out there who can predict the
success or failure of an artist with any consistency. And
that's what makes this business so intriguing. So, the best
we can hope for is to ready ourselves for success. To do everything
we need to do in an intelligent, professional manner-regardless
of how long it takes to do. And when success comes, we're
ready to go for the ride of a lifetime.
Now, how long do I stick with an artist as a personal manager?
As long as the artist continues to believe in himself and
continues to work relentlessly toward achieving success, my
belief in undying. As long as we can both look back and see
where we came from and where we're going, my belief is undying.
As long as the artist-manager relationship is still sound
and we're all pushing the train in the same direction, my
belief is forever.
Is that too long?
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