As the traditional music business has given way to the “new music business,” artist management has changed dramatically. Traditionally, a manager developed an artist for a record deal and, once signed, managed the relationship between artist and label. The label itself managed marketing, promotions, distribution, etc. But, given the state of the industry today, an unsigned artist may never sign a record deal and labels don’t always provide the services needed. As such, management’s role has evolved accordingly. Today the modern manager needs to do much more. Managers must not only be Internet savvy and entrepreneurial in spirit, but visionaries, too. To see how this is playing out, Music Connection contacted four successful managers to get their opinions on their expanded roles. Additionally, we talked with a prominent music attorney to see if there are issues, in this new music ecosystem, that everyone should know about.
Cherrytree Music Company
Established by Grammy-nominated songwriter, producer and musician Martin Kierszenbaum, Cherrytree Music is an artist management firm, publisher and record label. The management roster includes renowned superstar Sting, Grammy-winning mixer Robert Orton, Platinum songwriters/producers Michael Einziger and Fernando Garibay and Tex-Mex/Country sensation, the Last Bandoleros. Over the last decade, Cherrytree Records has sold over 171 million singles, 33 million albums and received 31 Grammy nominations while launching the careers and music of maverick artists such as Lady Gaga, Feist, LMFAO, La Roux, Far East Movement and more.
What changes in management have you noticed over the years?
The music business is dynamic…it’s always changing, as is management’s role. Today, a manager is not simply a liaison between the artist and label––it’s a full-service job where we often function like a label. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the basic partnership between managers and artists.
How important are strategic partnerships with brands and other companies?
The right partnership can offer many options for the delivery, promotion and consumption of music. There are new platforms launched almost weekly, and managers must keep on top of that. Partnering with a brand can create new methods of expression, and tap into the cultural aspects of music.
How has the Internet changed management’s role?
The Internet is a double-edged sword. For the first time in history artists can record, self-publish and distribute their songs without label help. That’s a revolutionary change. The downside is that the Internet has enabled people to not pay for intellectual property.
How has management responded to the decrease in record sales?
We used to make way more money from sales. Now, it’s incumbent upon managers to generate income from a variety of sources. Multiple income streams are the name of the game today.
What sort of artist do you like to work with?
I like to work with artists who have an authentic vision and something to say. When I first worked with Lady Gaga, no one got her. But, I didn’t care, I followed my gut and it turned out great. I learned you can’t worry about what lane it’s in or who likes it.
Is it a good time to be a manager?
Absolutely…it’s a noble profession. The music business is for real music lovers. It just depends on what you want to accomplish. As long as you are passionate and work with true artists you can overcome any naysayers. •