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« Happy 'Quit MySpace' Day | Main | What happened? A rant about the work ethic of many musicians »
Tuesday
Oct202009

The primary job of a manager is to take care of your lazy artist…

When a westerner (an American for example) walks by the office of a co-worker, and the co-worker is quietly sitting there doing nothing, the westerner’s first reaction is that the co-worker is lazy and probably slacking.  On the other side of the world, when an easterner (someone from Japan for example) walks by a co-worker, and that co-worker is doing nothing, the easterner’s first reaction is that the co-worker is most likely engaged in deep thought whilst grinding away at a solution to some problem…

I want to say two things in this post: 

First, You are probably never going to promote your artist to fame and fortune.  I think it’s the manager’s job to help his or her artists earn enough money on a weekly basis until the day comes when the artist writes the song that puts the manager-artist partnership over the top.  Yes there’s plan B, but that’s probably not why you quit your day job to manage artists.

Second, I am not a songwriter, but I practice my own form of art, and I’m pretty good at it.  I find that churning out quality art takes a lot of iterations, physical iterations and mental iterations.  Mental iterations are the toughest.  When you have a lot of stress in your life and distractions around you, iterating can seem like riding a loop of barbed wire.  

So if you want to help the lazy artist you believe in, take care of all the business you can, and someday he or she may pen the song you have been waiting for.  After all, the music business is more or less a lottery; so you have to ask yourself, how many hours would you trade for the winning ticket?

 

about Bruce Warila

Reader Comments (12)

Brilliant? Genius? I don't know how to refer to this article, but I have to say that there are very few people who realize that there are two types of work, physical and non-physical. Finding people with the understanding of this mindset is difficult. So thank you Bruce for letting me know that there are others who believe that you don't have to physically spin your wheels all day (and night) in order to feel that you are progressing. It's possible to think and progress at the same time.

Dave Lopez - Mixing and Mastering Specialist
Cr@zyEye Music Services
Marketing Music Online

October 20 | Unregistered CommenterDave Lopez

I'll agree that a very great deal of mental effort can appear to be no effort at all, but I strongly disagree that the music business has much in common with a lottery, other than the very rare unexpectedly large payouts. "Luck" is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, "talent" is a result of years of focused attention and diligent practice, and in an industry as vast as ours, while some elements of timing and chance will inevitably affect our outcome, over the long haul, it's our skills and effort that decide our income. True enough, having a Top Ten record is like being hit by lightning, but when the storm comes, most of us will be huddled by the fire in our huts; only a few will be standing on the mountain in the rain and wind, holding a lightning rod.

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Bone

I was about to post some sort of same reaction as Mojo.
The 'luck' factor can't be denied in every working business. However, creating an environment in which luck can sort of breed is the big challenge for the manager. In my opinion a good manager recognizes talent and helps him or her in getting visible and professional. That's not 'waiting' for something that may happen.

Cheers from Holland!

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterMartijn Crama

Some people reallly are sitting there and doing nothing! I think it depends upon the line of work. For some professions, if you are sitting there, you are not being productive. For others, you do need that time to think, reflect upon solutions, etc. I am actually reading a book now about lazy coworkers that is hilarious:

It is called the "Chronicles of a Hardworking Slacker" and it provides tips on how to tell if someone is actually working - or just pretending to work hard. Big difference for some. Anyway, maybe I should move to Japan. Their way of life seems more conducive to my lifestyle.

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterMs Carole

Pretty good thoughts on this subject here. http://musformation.com/D3dg

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

I do think there is a mentality that bands take on thinking that all they have to do IS write that one particular song and all the sudden success with bestow itself on them. Even before hiring on a manger, I believe it is the band or artist's responsibility to take destiny into their own hands. The hiring of a manager should come when the artist has reached a point where they need the extra boost. It is the artists that take the time to promote themselves, book tours, put themselves out there and invest in their own future that will outlast most bands.

October 21 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Great article. On many levels, I agree with you that at some point, you can't wait for a miracle to happen and you can't count on an artist possible writing a "ht".

I've worked in bands, plenty of my friends have worked with and without management, and I've worked as an artist manager myself. I suppose artists have had the reputation for being lazy, but in order for anyone to survive in this fickle environment that is the industry, artists should try to produce work consistently. In this way, neither of you are banking on that "ONE" song but rather, the manager and audience alike can take a look at the work and view the songs as if they were a timeline. The essence of the artist will come out through all of the works rather than through just "ONE" song.

I see plenty of independent talent coming from artists. Sometimes they just need a little help cleaning up and repackaging things.

October 22 | Unregistered CommenterLeia Layus

luck happens ALL THE TIME in the music biz. to deny that or try and rationalize it by saying those people who got lucky were somehow better prepared or harder working is hogwash.

the failure to admit that luck/fortune plays a (sometimes massive) role in life is another western/ positive thinking bullshit concept. shit happens. it really does...deal with it...

October 22 | Unregistered Commenterkj

Great post, I have to have both in my work, the "noo nooo" deadline looms balls to the wall working and the utter quiet, brain-soaking peace. I'm doing both today in intervals depending on my state and not 5 minutes ago a marketing jackalope saw me sitting in a leather chair and gave me the old "apparently these guys get paid to sit around doing nothing." Yep, I do, half the time, the other half I'm killing it so hush now marketing man...

October 22 | Unregistered Commenterherva

I'll go ahead and agree with kj. Positive thinking is for suckers.

Luck is most of what we see when we watch the Grammies or any other where your A-List "artists" are and I use the word "artists" here very loosely. I work in Hollywood, and I've literally seen zero-talent, zero playing ability and zero everything else fly and yes, "luck" into those huge deals that really should be reserved for those who earn them.

I've seen non-musicians marketed as "real songwriters" and reality shows depicting rental properties quickly furnished and passed off as artists' "cribs" to make the little kiddies want to buy the records and be stars. The recording industry is selling a dream, nothing more, and it has nothing to do with musical ability or talent.

October 28 | Unregistered Commentermali

Solid post. Someone told me recently that all business is like poker, you play for hours but its only three hands (deals, songs) that makes the difference, the question is whether you will be awake for those hands.

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