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Getting Help in the Music Business

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The music business is a vast and complicated district of an even broader trade. When people go into the music business, it is very easy to get lost in the glitter and fantasy of being a music super star. But, before they start to achieve any of these dreams, they have to know a thing or two about the occupation. An artist manager can make all of this material less difficult and complicated. The music business is hard on an artist, and it is better to have an agent by their side to help handle all of it.

As a matter of fact, most people have no idea what an artist manager does. An artist’s personal manager is the one who is responsible for all the planning and strategies involved with developing an artist’s career. A personal manager is involved with contract negotiations, record companies, publicity, and even solving personal problems. In the case of an artist who earns a lot of money, a manager generally handles investments, accounting and taxes. The artist and manager must have a good personal relationship and a mutual trust for each other. A manager can not make money from an act that does not command large fees (Gerardi 157).Robert Gerardi explains in his book about the better agents “…however, a manager who can recognize talent and an artist’s potential will sometimes work at developing an unknown artist into a star” (Gerardi 158). A manager may also become council to the artist, and is often the attorney; which is why there must be trust in their relationship. Also, an artist manager “may help supervise artist’s songs, musical arrangements, lighting, the act itself, choreography, selection of publicist, road manager hairstylist, and stage costumes. (Weissman 91). It is a mistake not to have a manager when involved in the music business. A manager is an enormous asset to an artist and all artists should have one.

An artist manager has several tasks. Artist managers handle the day-to-day business of musicians. They meet with the artist and gather information and documents that will help them understand the artist. They make decisions in the musician’s absence and act in the musicians best interests. They work to improve the image of their clients. They help the musician develop professionally and to set and achieve goals. They work with musicians to avoid making mistakes that could have implications on their entire career. They help design a long range plan; discover new ways to promote the music and the musician. They may provide instruction on time and money management. They may develop strategies and work with the media (www.dvc.edu). With all the help that is provided, it is an enormous mistake to not have an artist manager.

All the same, a musician has to know what is necessary to be in the business, and how to get in it. Gerardi gives wise advice for a singing dreamer, “Talent alone is not the key to success in the music business. It takes an aggressive (not to be confused with obnoxious) person to seize important opportunities. An artist has to have strength and optimism in order to survive” (Gerardi 3). The musician must set goals for him or herself. Without setting goals, and knowing where the musician desires to go, it will be near impossible to get there. To start off, it is a good idea to get vocal lessons, and become self confident. Meanwhile, artists must cut a demo, which will cost money, meaning they will have to find money. The singer must also have some kind of marketing, because if the general public does not know who they are, then nobody will buy their music. It is important to find a manager to oversee all of this, to make it easier. Gerardi states in his book that “building a following and generating a lot of excitement can influence a record executive just as it can an audience” (Gerardi 58). That is what the executive is looking for, an artist who can deliver on the promotion tour and sell records. The average life span of an unprepared artist’s career is five years. That is why it is imperative to take the time to develop good performing skills by, practicing, and working in clubs.

It is possible to make it with out a manager, but ten times harder and less payback. Jana Stanfeild tells of her experiences in her book about the industry:

When I made my first album, I made only a hundred copies, thinking I would have my whole life to sell that many. Making my first album cost about 3,500 dollars, I had never saved 3,500 dollars in my life, but I did not have to, because I made the album as I had money, $100 dollars to 300 dollars at a time … I was not famous, and I am still not famous. I did not have any star-maker machinery behind me, no manager, no booking agents, no public relations director, no distributor and no computer. I had no idea how I was going to sell my albums. (Stanfeild 5)

Nevertheless, with all these complications and no one to guide her, Steinfeld was lost and

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