Okay, I am aware that I chose one of those professions that are not quite easy to explain. I have the impression that to say I work in the music business doesn't tell much, and many times neither does it to say I'm an Artist Manager. Now and then I'm taken by the question "ok, but what exactly do you do?", and though I have a couple of answers to this question, I always sort of feel that the person who’s asking won’t get the exact idea. That’s probably because there is no “exact” definition, standard roles nor any specific description for my job – at least none I’ve ever heard can succinctly describe the large range of different roles artist managers can play.
As a rule, we build our businesses upon demand and needs, through personalization, flexibility and customization. To be clear, in addition to being a partner and friend of the artist, an artist manager can also play the roles of a coach, a promoter, a booking agent, a consultant, an analyst, an assistant, a therapist, a beer pal and even a parent if necessary.
We do have standard goals though: to strive for the artist’s success, to fight for what’s in the artist’s best interests, to develop and leverage the artist’s career – all huge challenges (though very exciting – I’m talking for myself). To achieve these goals we put our efforts on taking all the barriers off the way so that processes can flow, liaising between the various parties the business involves, analyzing scenarios in order to track and create opportunities, advicing the artists about their career and business development, and that’s just for a start. Not to mention that we need to continuously develop ourselves by acquiring new skills, using our creativity and enhancing our abilities to handle marketing, strategy, technology, logistics, relationships, bureaucracy, legal issues and so on. See why it’s hard to explain? The variety of roles is endless, but so are the possibilities and opportunities, and that’s what makes the work so interesting.
But aside of the hard task of defining my role in the music business, I must confess there is one question that is much more difficult to answer: "why did you decide to work with music?"
Well, one thing I always had in mind was that I would choose my profession based on my passion. I’ve heard several people say they would never work with something they are passionate about, fearing that they would end up losing their passion when it becomes an obligation. “That might make sense”, I thought, “…or not”. Honestly I can say that the most successful, and more importantly, the happiest people I’ve ever met are deeply passionate about what they do – be it business, music, or anything else.
I cannot say exactly when I discovered my passion for music because I cannot recall a time when it was not present, but I do recall two decisive moments that brought me here. The first one was when I decided I wanted to – actually needed to – live for music and be surrounded by it. At the risk of sounding over sensitive, I have to say I’m one of those people who need to see a meaning in everything they do, and I realized by that time that music is the one thing that brings feeling into my life, as well as inspiration, motivation and, consequently, the meaning. At this point I had studied drums and guitar and had a great time playing in bands, but being very selective and demanding when it comes to music creation, I always acknowledged that my talent for that wouldn’t be as great as of those who create great music that inspires and transmits passion and feeling. But while I reached this sad conclusion, I was sure that my strong passion for music was telling me something, and I should keep reflecting on what my contributions for it were meant to be. So after long thinking, self-evaluating and pondering a number of factors, I got to the second decisive moment, which was when it became clear that I could – and should – blend my passion for music with my aspiration and drive for business and my strategic thinking. Though the music business looked like a crazy world, it felt like the right path for me, and I accepted the challenge.
Along the way I’ve met many gifted musicians who had the real talent to make great music, and as the difficulty to enter the music industry led them to give up, one by one, of their dreams to make a living out of their music, I felt I should do something to change this scenario. And so I got into Artist Management, embracing it and concentrating all efforts on making it possible for these talented, creative musicians to build successful musical careers, as well as for us, music lovers, to listen to their masterpieces.