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Ari's Take

Nice post Emily. I agree it's awfully frustrating dealing with those who don't respond to emails. I have made it my goal to reply to all professional messages - even if it's from a high school kid in Lincoln NE asking for advice on booking a show. Even a one sentence reply forwarding him to a blog is better than no reply at all.

As a self-managed musician (full time 5 years) I have found the barriers to be taken seriously and get through are much steeper than for managers who are not also musicians. Even though I have nearly a decade of experience and very good indie clout (multiple TV placements, national tours, festival spots and big name opening slots) it's still quite difficult to get replies from many of the top gatekeepers: managers, agents, labels, music supers. But I have found that persistence is key.

In the era of YouTube stars and self-sustaining careers I'd like to see some industry heads take a serious look at their business model and rethink how high their gates should remain.

Understandably, professionals need to manage their time effectively and prioritize (an email from an unknown artist asking for a look I imagine is quite far down on the list - similarly as an unknown manager/booking agent is to top level promoters/labels), but I have brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years as an independent artist and have sustained a more profitable career than many label acts.

We're in an interesting era where it is possible to build (and sustain) a career from the ground up without requiring the blessing of The Man, but I find those at the top are clutching to the old model where access is all.

As a young manager starting off I'm curious to know how you made your initial relationships and kept them strong.

I have built and maintained relationships with venue owners, music supervisors and other "gatekeepers" per se, who have taken a chance (on my 5th email, 3rd phone call) and realized that sometimes self-managed, independent artists can actually deliver.

Keep up the good work Emily!

Ari Herstand
Check out my independent music biz advice blog Ari's Take: http://aristake.com

PS You're not the former NPR intern Emily White who never bought music are you?? :)

louis byrd

Emily! This is great! I agree with you 100% I still dabble in the music world but over the past two years started focusing more on creative branding. I think that professionalism in all industries, but more specifically those in the creative fields, has taken backward steps.

Like you, I spend a good majority of my time following up with leads,clients, and colleagues. When business is on the line...priorities need to be shifted.

In a world where we are even more connected (inter web/ social media) we are becoming more distant. Communication barriers, in the real world, are building even higher.

Professionalism in many ways correlates with common courtesy.

Great write up.

I will piggy back off of this entry on my blog and ping it back to you!

Keep up the good work!

Wesley Verhoeve

100 times yes to this: "Unfortunately, all too often, I spend much of my time following up, chasing down other folks in the industry and ultimately making sure people are doing their jobs."

I love Zach and Frank at Highroad Touring for booking. They're forward thinking, kind and smart.


it's amazing how much of a difference it can make by simply being polite and thoughtful about your clients and others. people are so used to being treated poorly, being ignored, forgotten, or treated as insignificant that thoughtful attention and replies can make an enormous difference not only in how well you succeed, but also in your artist's success. professionalism and good manners sometimes feel like a forgotten part of life that can make an big difference.

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