Fellow New Music Managers, Having Fun Yet?

Uzi Does It - GBC-Hollywood
Uzi Does It - GBC-Hollywood

If you are not aware, I am the manager of the hip hop group, Detroit CYDI.  Lately I have been reading the blog by Ian Rogers, manager of my newest point of interest – Get Busy Committee.  Inspired by his well-developed plan for his group, I am now looking to evoke similar progress from my own managerial efforts. Much like myself, Mr. Rogers does not have substantial experience managing music acts.  It is facts like this that keep me motivated in this crazy, unpredictable industry.  As long as there are smart folks like Ian Rogers willing to take chances, I figure my work is not in vain.

This all has me wondering about what I need to do to inspire the kind of work ethic from my group to eventually start seeing a return on my investment of time and energy. Right now, we are working on a fundraising campaign to gather funds for their first official physical project that was released to the world almost a year ago. This is truly a test of faith as we are seriously limited on time. If we are not able to get the funds, then it would be somewhat of a setback. Fortunately, there are alternatives to how to release an album in a short amount of time, so even in a crunch, we can have some sort of product to sell.

Going through this process, I have realized how important it is for me to be on top of things. As a new manager, I cannot expect anything more from my group that cannot be expected of me. Watching others that I know are in the same space as myself, it becomes apparent that a manager’s job is more than making deals for their artists and cracking the whip on them. A manager has to be a leader. It is as much of my responsibility to inspire as it is for me to manage, especially since we have the formidable task of trying to wrangle a fan base that is invisible to us.

Ian Rogers is a new manager, but he does not seem to be new to success. He has been in the tech space for music since the 1990s. There are very few that can say that. If he were to come to me with ideas on how to try to succeed, I know I would listen! That is why I give the guys in Get Busy Committee a lot of props for picking him as their manager, regardless of his background. In this day and age, it is hard to say if old music industry types can be as effective as they once were for new bands. I am sure some would beg to differ, but I would imagine cost of entry has dropped. The valuable connections that were to be had are probably not as hard to come by these days. Everyone is looking for new opportunities.

In my position, I feel I am good as anyone to be an artist manager. Networking and connecting people are major passions of mine. Helping my friends is as automatic as breathing for me, so it only seems right to be able to make a part of my life’s work.

For all my fellow artist managers out there, what attributes do you believe to be key in your success? You have taken on a tough job, what keeps you going? We all know that artists are a special bunch, so how do you keep them on point?  Share your comments below, please.

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  • http://www.rospit.com six

    Good read. Personally, I think every managerial experience is different. I am quick to say managing can be compared to platonic dating. Its important to test the waters before jumping in full force. What works with one artist won’t with another. Attributes that have been necessary for my career as a manager include being flexible, patient, and consistant. I love my job, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Its important to test the waters before jumping in full force.

      You are most definitely right about that, six. I am learning that it is critical to know an act’s mettle before you commit to making moves for them. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.rospit.com six

    Good read. Personally, I think every managerial experience is different. I am quick to say managing can be compared to platonic dating. Its important to test the waters before jumping in full force. What works with one artist won’t with another. Attributes that have been necessary for my career as a manager include being flexible, patient, and consistant. I love my job, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Its important to test the waters before jumping in full force.

      You are most definitely right about that, six. I am learning that it is critical to know an act’s mettle before you commit to making moves for them. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.printmatic.net PRINTMATIC

    While I’m not technically an artist manager, i find that my role as a label owner frequently causes me to have to do both because running a label and developing talent is (at least in my opinion) about mentoring. I have found that the artists who are the most open to mentoring will have a much better chance at success than those who are not as open to it, regardless of the talent level.

    In simple terms, if an artist isn’t open to mentoring then they’re not really going to be open to trying new approaches to creating & promoting their music. On the flip side, if you’ve got an artist who is talented and open to mentoring then they can achieve a lot. At a minimum they can leave every situation saying they tried everything and “left it all on the floor” so to speak, whereas other artists tend to basically resent the person in charge if things don’t go the way they planned.

    Managing people/artists is hard work, but much it’s easier if the artist is coachable. Sky is the limit for a coachable artist i guess.

    But i agree with six above that you can’t treat all artists the same, especially since they all define art and success differently. As they used to say in church “you cant treat everybody the same, but you can treat everybody right”.

    Word

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Blueprint – first, I just want to say it is an honor and a pleasure to have you comment on my blog. It is always good to be able to build with your heroes.

      Heh, the only thing I wonder is, what is the percentage of the artists out there that are actually coachable?

      Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.printmatic.net PRINTMATIC

    While I’m not technically an artist manager, i find that my role as a label owner frequently causes me to have to do both because running a label and developing talent is (at least in my opinion) about mentoring. I have found that the artists who are the most open to mentoring will have a much better chance at success than those who are not as open to it, regardless of the talent level.

    In simple terms, if an artist isn’t open to mentoring then they’re not really going to be open to trying new approaches to creating & promoting their music. On the flip side, if you’ve got an artist who is talented and open to mentoring then they can achieve a lot. At a minimum they can leave every situation saying they tried everything and “left it all on the floor” so to speak, whereas other artists tend to basically resent the person in charge if things don’t go the way they planned.

    Managing people/artists is hard work, but much it’s easier if the artist is coachable. Sky is the limit for a coachable artist i guess.

    But i agree with six above that you can’t treat all artists the same, especially since they all define art and success differently. As they used to say in church “you cant treat everybody the same, but you can treat everybody right”.

    Word

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Blueprint – first, I just want to say it is an honor and a pleasure to have you comment on my blog. It is always good to be able to build with your heroes.

      Heh, the only thing I wonder is, what is the percentage of the artists out there that are actually coachable?

      Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.asideworldwide.biz Martin

    The thing that brought me to manage Astronote was the synergy. (Well first of all he was so talented that I couldn’t not ask if Icould manage him, but secondly…) Our goals are the same. On the music side of things, I am a mixtape DJ and I in general always want to connect with artists that I respect and hopefully at some point get to work with them and make some exclusive music. His goal is to reach those same artists, work with ones he respects and have them purchasing his beats. So I guess the main attribute that has been key and will continue to be key is synergy. We both want to build relationships–that co-exist well–with the same artists. My suggestion is that you should be aligned with your artist(s) and know that everyone is working toward the same goal(s). Everyone involved should have specific goals that are written down. If you don’t have a destination in mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Everyone involved should have specific goals that are written down. If you don’t have a destination in mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

      Chuuch! Always glad to have your insight, brougham!

      For my act, I had them read this by Ariel Hyatt on setting goals. It is definitely key, especially when you’re dealing with a group. My boys have to be on the same page if they are going to really succeed.

  • http://www.asideworldwide.biz Martin

    The thing that brought me to manage Astronote was the synergy. (Well first of all he was so talented that I couldn’t not ask if Icould manage him, but secondly…) Our goals are the same. On the music side of things, I am a mixtape DJ and I in general always want to connect with artists that I respect and hopefully at some point get to work with them and make some exclusive music. His goal is to reach those same artists, work with ones he respects and have them purchasing his beats. So I guess the main attribute that has been key and will continue to be key is synergy. We both want to build relationships–that co-exist well–with the same artists. My suggestion is that you should be aligned with your artist(s) and know that everyone is working toward the same goal(s). Everyone involved should have specific goals that are written down. If you don’t have a destination in mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Everyone involved should have specific goals that are written down. If you don’t have a destination in mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived?

      Chuuch! Always glad to have your insight, brougham!

      For my act, I had them read this by Ariel Hyatt on setting goals. It is definitely key, especially when you’re dealing with a group. My boys have to be on the same page if they are going to really succeed.

  • zanne dailey

    i think for me one of the important pieces is to understand what your artists’ goals are. after all, in the long run your success is going to come from how successful you help your artist to be. i manage san francisco-based singer/songwriter David Greco. as his manager, it’s my job to help him move forward toward success–but it’s success as he defines it. we need to be on the same page as to what that success looks like, who he understands himself to be and where he wants to go. if your artist knows that you “get” them, then they’re more likely to be open to creative ideas about getting there.

    secondly, i think it’s important to really believe in your artist’s work. you need to have as much, if not more, conviction about the quality of their work than they do. again, when they know how much you believe in where they’re going, they can trust your ideas & suggestions. besides, managing emerging artists (which is what you get to do as a new manager!) isn’t going to be terribly lucrative early on–it’s just not! you BETTER believe in them, because managing developing artists is more about love than money!

    thirdly, as a good manager, i believe it’s my job to present david and our team as pleasant to work with, dependable, prepared, and business-like. it’s always our goal to have the quality of the business side at least as good as, if not better than, the quality of the music, and in david’s case that gives us quite a high bar to reach for! we do everything possible to be where we need to be when we’ve said we’d be there, to be flexible about the unexpected, to confirm gigs, send thank-you notes, etc, etc etc. there are a lot of talented folks out there, and sometimes what sets you apart from them isn’t the excellence of the music, it’s the other side of the relationship. all things being equal, would you rather work with the difficult diva or the prepared professional? (sorry about the alliteration, couldn’t help myself)

    managing artists, especially when you’re both new at the game, isn’t easy. it takes time and effort, research, patience, and determination. but on those nights when you sit backstage and watch the room fill with fans because of the work you’ve done together, it’s worth it. oh boy is it ever worth it!

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Whoa, I think we are in parallel universes or something. This is pretty much where I am with my work with Detroit CYDI. I have to admit there has been more opportunities for learning than I expected write off the bat, but we are becoming a better team because of it.

      Your comment is very encouraging and I wish you the best! Thanks!

  • zanne dailey

    i think for me one of the important pieces is to understand what your artists’ goals are. after all, in the long run your success is going to come from how successful you help your artist to be. i manage san francisco-based singer/songwriter David Greco. as his manager, it’s my job to help him move forward toward success–but it’s success as he defines it. we need to be on the same page as to what that success looks like, who he understands himself to be and where he wants to go. if your artist knows that you “get” them, then they’re more likely to be open to creative ideas about getting there.

    secondly, i think it’s important to really believe in your artist’s work. you need to have as much, if not more, conviction about the quality of their work than they do. again, when they know how much you believe in where they’re going, they can trust your ideas & suggestions. besides, managing emerging artists (which is what you get to do as a new manager!) isn’t going to be terribly lucrative early on–it’s just not! you BETTER believe in them, because managing developing artists is more about love than money!

    thirdly, as a good manager, i believe it’s my job to present david and our team as pleasant to work with, dependable, prepared, and business-like. it’s always our goal to have the quality of the business side at least as good as, if not better than, the quality of the music, and in david’s case that gives us quite a high bar to reach for! we do everything possible to be where we need to be when we’ve said we’d be there, to be flexible about the unexpected, to confirm gigs, send thank-you notes, etc, etc etc. there are a lot of talented folks out there, and sometimes what sets you apart from them isn’t the excellence of the music, it’s the other side of the relationship. all things being equal, would you rather work with the difficult diva or the prepared professional? (sorry about the alliteration, couldn’t help myself)

    managing artists, especially when you’re both new at the game, isn’t easy. it takes time and effort, research, patience, and determination. but on those nights when you sit backstage and watch the room fill with fans because of the work you’ve done together, it’s worth it. oh boy is it ever worth it!

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Whoa, I think we are in parallel universes or something. This is pretty much where I am with my work with Detroit CYDI. I have to admit there has been more opportunities for learning than I expected write off the bat, but we are becoming a better team because of it.

      Your comment is very encouraging and I wish you the best! Thanks!

  • http://www.audiblehype.com Justin Boland

    Well, I think it’s important to note that Mr. Rogers, while still profoundly awesome, is actually more of a co-manager or “digital only” manager. The GBC also has another manager, Dutch, who is involved in the nitty-gritty shit of getting them gigs, getting them to said gigs, getting them paid @ said gigs, and relentlessly pushing the GBC brand day after day after day after day.

    I’d love to have a Mr. Rogers for World Around, but when I run through that scenario in my head, it hits me: he’s really more of a consultant.

    That said, though…great question. I’m ‘really more of a consultant’ too, in my role at World Around. I’m not booking shows for Dumate, they do that themselves. I didn’t even send a single email to help S. Maharba co-ordinate his upcoming vinyl release of S/T, he did that himself. I’d say we’re “blessed” to have a self-motivated roster, but that’s really the thread that brought us all together in the first place.

    So how can I be a better digital-biz/social-media consultant for this incredible team I’m lucky to even know? That’s a perfect question to start a Sunday morning off. I will be chewing this over all day, thank you man.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Thanks for clarifying, Justin!

      That would make sense now that I think about it. Truth be told, in my personal capacity, I am more of a consultant too. As you know, managing an underground hip hop act – unless you’re from the south or you’re Hex Murda – does not pay the bills. I want to dedicate more time to Detroit CYDI, but at this point, I do a lot of delegating.

      This post still stands. I push myself to be more of a leader to my “clients.” For example, I asked them to blog about their extended family member’s project MONTHS AGO and they never did. Now if this The Tay blows up and I gain a lot of credit for it, it will not matter to the world that I found out about him through Detroit CYDI. That is their job. These are the lessons that I try to teach here. Stop dawdling and produce!

      Glad to have you make a comment. Come back again soon!

  • http://www.audiblehype.com Justin Boland

    Well, I think it’s important to note that Mr. Rogers, while still profoundly awesome, is actually more of a co-manager or “digital only” manager. The GBC also has another manager, Dutch, who is involved in the nitty-gritty shit of getting them gigs, getting them to said gigs, getting them paid @ said gigs, and relentlessly pushing the GBC brand day after day after day after day.

    I’d love to have a Mr. Rogers for World Around, but when I run through that scenario in my head, it hits me: he’s really more of a consultant.

    That said, though…great question. I’m ‘really more of a consultant’ too, in my role at World Around. I’m not booking shows for Dumate, they do that themselves. I didn’t even send a single email to help S. Maharba co-ordinate his upcoming vinyl release of S/T, he did that himself. I’d say we’re “blessed” to have a self-motivated roster, but that’s really the thread that brought us all together in the first place.

    So how can I be a better digital-biz/social-media consultant for this incredible team I’m lucky to even know? That’s a perfect question to start a Sunday morning off. I will be chewing this over all day, thank you man.

    • http://fryinginvein.com Hubert Sawyers III

      Thanks for clarifying, Justin!

      That would make sense now that I think about it. Truth be told, in my personal capacity, I am more of a consultant too. As you know, managing an underground hip hop act – unless you’re from the south or you’re Hex Murda – does not pay the bills. I want to dedicate more time to Detroit CYDI, but at this point, I do a lot of delegating.

      This post still stands. I push myself to be more of a leader to my “clients.” For example, I asked them to blog about their extended family member’s project MONTHS AGO and they never did. Now if this The Tay blows up and I gain a lot of credit for it, it will not matter to the world that I found out about him through Detroit CYDI. That is their job. These are the lessons that I try to teach here. Stop dawdling and produce!

      Glad to have you make a comment. Come back again soon!