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Artiste Managaement 101: The Role Of An Artist Manager

The Nigerian Music and entertainment industry in general has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years. When you look around you will see the huge potential and talents that abound in Africa. The current resurgence of Nigerian music on the global stage is just the beginning of the good things that are still coming. It also means that the spotlight is not just on the music or artistes alone but also the labels and most especially artiste managers.

Some people still look down on Nigerian artiste managers, and while others want to get into it as a career option, there are those who believe it’s not a serious or real job. If you ask them, they will tell you that it’s like a hobby, something you do for fun. And that’s their sincere opinion, but I have to burst your bubble. Artiste management is a serious affair and a career opportunity that comes with challenges just like every other career. Just as being a recording/performing artiste is a full time career, artiste management though not your typical 9 – 5, is also a full time job.

Of all these gen Z artiste managers only a few know the deal, and while they are taking time to learn, re-learn and seek out new methods of doing things. Trying out new ways of doing things, a host of others still think of artiste management as a glamorous job where you simply have to follow the artiste around, fly from place to place, city to city on trips paid for by clients who book your artiste for a job. Responding promptly to emails or messages is still a big deal for them. Sometimes you have to call or send them a text message before they respond to your email or inquiries.

They feel once you pick up the phone and say a few things everything is good. They fail to see the stresses of the job, they don’t realize it is a career and full time job. Some of them only go into artiste management for the spotlight without realizing that it goes beyond taking calls, inquiries or booking gigs for your artiste(s). Heck, some don’t even know what a rider is, or the difference between a technical and performance rider. Most don’t even know how to read or interpret a contract.

The good thing now, is that when you tell people your occupation is artiste management, they don’t look down or funny at you expecting you to have a “real job”. With the growing global popularity of African artistes and Nigeria music, they are now realizing that artiste management is a proper job. That it’s not just about following an artiste around but also about making sure everything is going great for an artiste, his well being personally and work wise too.

The job of an artiste manager entails a lot of things but broken down, it basically means running interference for your artiste, making sure every T is crossed and every detail that will ensure he is happy and gives the best performance at all times is sorted out. It also means making sure that he earns income so you can earn income too.

To be able to do a good job managing an artiste you must be loyal during and after you are no longer working with them. You have to be able to put his/her needs above yours, and always make sure your principal is in a good place. You have to be able to make certain your artiste gets to appointments on time and doesn’t always come late or miss already agreed meetings/schedules.

And above all you have to know when to call out your artiste or point out errors without being disrespectful or embarrassing him/her or yourself in public especially when you guys have a disagreement.

Depending on what the disagreement is all about, the first thing about management is that both parties need to have mutual respect for each other. Your principal must be able to listen to your opinions and views too even when it doesn’t make sense to him/her or they didn’t ask for it. As a manager you have to learn how to manage the ego of your artiste. Creatives are some of the most opinionated people in the industry so learning how to navigate and tread on issues with the talent is paramount. The key is never disagree with your client in public, with other people as witnesses, it’s a No no. If you have any issues with your artiste make sure you address it in private. Never talk back to your client even when they seem disrespectful, if you can walk away do so, but if walking away isn’t possible or might seem disrespectful just keep quiet until you both are in private. So when you have a disagreement with your talent make sure you don’t make it a public spectacle rather you guys should resolve it in private.

This is because any win for your artiste is a win for you and everyone on the team. Some managers expose their artistes to drama, their belief is that all publicity is good for the brand. Always endeavour to keep the affairs of your artiste(s) private. Avoid gossiping about your artiste or other artistes. If possible keep your personal and work life separate from each other. The biggest turn off in the music industry has always been disloyal people, both artistes, managers and labels. How some bad mouth and gossip about each other once their relationship sours and/or they fall out or are no longer working together.

Some managers will often take friends along for work engagements forgetting that they will become distractions for them. Always strive to remove distractions from your path especially when you are at work, concerts, shows etc. Stay focused on the job at hand and once your artiste is done performing or doing what he/she was paid to do, then you can go crazy and party.

As a manager, be prepared to always learn from yesterday so you can do better today. Read books, watch others and learn from their triumphs and also from their mistakes. Soak up every bit of information and knowledge you need to make you a better manager, and you and your artiste(s) will be better for it.

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