How to manage the relationship, expectations of artists and managers
As a manager, you’re tasked with the responsibility of keeping the demands of a career in the music industry from becoming too overwhelming and giving an artist the capacity to excel creatively.
Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog
As creatives in such a fast-paced and competitive industry, artists place the utmost importance on creating the perfect track, performing at the highest ability, and reaching the highest level in the game. With expectations so high, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. As a manager, it’s your job to this from happening and find a way to manage this in a healthy, mindful way.
Be Kind on Time
Of course, having strong ambition is important as an independent artist. However, it’s an all too common mindset to feel like you need to meet certain goals within a certain timeframe in order to feel like you’ve made it. Realistically, life doesn’t work that way. Letting a self-imposed time limit completely derail your workflow and letting it overwhelm the team isn’t going to help anyone.
In any career path, it’s important to allocate time to adjust. Make sure artists have a reasonable time-frame to meet their goals, but also room for trial and error along the way. This wiggle room will save you and them from some major headaches down the road.
Roll with the Punches
In a crazy industry like this one, it’s absolutely essential to be able to adapt as things change. People fall through, weather can be unpredictable, anything can happen. When things do come up, it’s important that you can act from logic rather than emotion. That’s why you should ALWAYS have plan B (and C!).
Just because a set-back arises, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You should be able to easily shift the focus and adapt accordingly.
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Expectations of others are a mental construct. You don’t truly know what’s required of you unless someone has actually told you first-hand. It’s the disconnect in-between that ruins relationships. Same goes for you and the artists you manage.
Sit down and have a conversation about what they expect from you and vice versa. When in doubt, just ask! Creating a clear path for healthy communication provides a safe space for either party to bring up questions and concerns, but it also keeps everyone on track along the way.
Enjoy Your Right Now
Comparing your life to everyone around you can be debilitating. Social media makes it all too easy to see what everyone is doing at all times. Keep in mind that that view is carefully curated. It’s not what their life is really like all the time. Pay attention to you and your life right now.
Stop thinking, “Once we get this, then we’ve made it.” or “We just need this much money, then we’ll be content.” It’s easy to confuse expectations with goals. You can always keep working toward a crazy goal, but unreasonable expectations will let you down every time.
Be proud of how far they’ve come and remind them often. A little reassurance goes a long way.
Being able to manage artist expectations (as well as your own, for that matter) is a learned skill that takes work. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful by creating healthy habits for both you and the team behind the scenes.
Don’t let road-blocks ruin the artist’s journey. Shit happens, but setting clear boundaries, planning for mistakes along the way, and being able to calmly manage throughout any situation will change the game for you and your team.