Basic Structure & Managing.
Back some time ago in YouTube I began receiving requests for advices and information about aspects of Artist's Career Development, mostly from supervisors, from parents of young persons interested in the music world, and from emerging artists themselves.
Soon I was astounded at the fact that nobody really knows the right way to start and maintain a career progression. And I was bewildered to discover the general lack of information, of reliable people, and of valid resources.
Even, there seams to be a "strong belief" or a conviction that suddenly someone from Music Industry will pop up and sign a lucrative contract with an artist out of nowhere, totally unknown to the public, never played on radio, and will be a "star" in a week or two!
In reallity, this idea is pure fiction, it does not work that way at all. Rare exceptions to that are not examples to follow, and usually those do not stay very long in the picture anyway.
Real talented artists who made it will tell you; it's a long way, it requires lots of work, patience, and total dedication!
Common illusion about Producers helping artists to become popular is an erroneous perception. In reality, it is the other way around. Producers and/or Record Companies (the Majors) are paying the expenses related to Promotions, Concert Touring, and/or working on an album only after the first album did hit the Charts, and thus has already sold many copies (generated profits).
Sometimes, a Producer will get involved once a song (a single) has made a big hit on the radio Charts. But then, when the next songs are not as good, everything ends right there.
Usually though, a Producer will follow and observe a "promising artist" already Touring and see if mid or long term profits can be generated out of it.
But all expenses are paid by the artist.
One thing is absolutely certain;
If there is no real natural talent, all efforts are useless.
In that case, it might be judicious looking at related domains of activity in the Music Realm, for studying and developping a career in one of those fields. There are many opportunities for very interesting career around the stage and behind the scene!
Therefore, in the midst of that huge confusion, and tired of copying/pasting the same explanation over and over, I decided to write everything clearly and to publish it.
It is much easier sending the link!
We do need adapt ourselves with modern tools, do we not?
I am still available for information and support!
After reading this, people will ask pertinent questions,
and they will understand the answers knowing what we are talking about.
Hopefully this information will help Parent(s), Supervisor(s),
and Talented young artists figure out and understand the real thing.
Consequently, they will be able to make pertinent decisions.
Basic Structure and Managing.
Managing a career requires a Team of experts working in different fields, it is a bit like administration of a small business company. Each person must be selected with great care making sure about honesty, reliability, true and reknown expertise. This will prevent the artist from being exploited.
Here are the essential workposts/responsibilities related to Career Management, which in the field of music is; the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives, using available resources efficiently and effectively.
Artist Managing Team:
The group of several people who are supervising each a particular domain of activities related to the actual managing and to the progression of the artistic career. Note: when the "artist" is minor (below adult legal age), and I suggest until 21/24 years old, the parent(s) must be Supervisor above everyone.
- Artist Manager (in contact with several Booking Agents).
- Legal Advisor.
- Media/Public Relation.
- Resources Supervisor.
- Musical Director.
- Singing Teacher/Coach.
- Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist.
1- Artist Manager:
One of the most important members of the Artist Managing Team.
This is the person who is acting as "the boss", second to the artist.It involves a serious partnership.
Administration and supervision of the Team are granted to this person by the artist,
and therefore acts in her/his behalf.
The Manager is the one helping steer the ship;
finding opportunities (Booking Agents),
managing the artist's public image (PR),
making sure the artist is healthy and in shape,
providing means for the artist to attend contracts.
Normal fee; min. 10%/12%, max. 14%/15%
of the income generated by the artist/band.
- Secretary: Paperwork, agenda, mails, phone(s), etc.
- Transport: Reliable means of transport, driver, chauffeur, etc.
Usually the driver also acts as "Security person".
One particular aspect of Manager-Artist Partnership.
Chair of Music Industry Studies;
John Snyder interviews, Wayne Forte;
about his career as a Talent Agent and Artist Manager:
Wayne Forte, owner and President of
- Entourage Management - (Artists Agents).
- Entourage Talent Associates - (Booking agency).
Independent Music Conference
1B- Legal Advisor:
Reputed lawyer for legal advices and recommendations related to the artist's career. CopyRights, TradeMark, autorizations, safety, security, litigation, lawsuit, etc.
- Registering a "Legal Artist Name" should be considered.
The Trademark Shop
- Open a distinct bank account for income/expanses/savings related to the artist/band.
2- Booking Agent(s):
This is the person who is representing series of places and events where artists are needed, for performances, interviews, and appearances. Being in contact with Artists Managers, the work is to fill up Places on dates and time, with artists who are corresponding with the demand.
The key is to work with or to register the artist/band with several Booking Agents, so when there is an opportunity (place, date, time), the Artist Manager will be notified (for accepting the booking, or not).
Usually, there are several Booking Agents in a City each working for Places in a particular sector. Clubs, Bars, Concert Halls, Production companies, Local Popular events, Charity events, etc.
INFO:- Entourage Talent Associates - (Booking agency).
Music Booking Agent
Music Biz Academy
3- Media/Public Relation (PR):
This person is responsible for managing the flow of information between the artist/team and the publics (including the media). Significant part of this work involves seeking for pertinent sponsors and sponsorships (financially and/or through provision of products or services).
Communication with Fans, Magazines, Newspapers, photographer, advertisement companies, Charity events, News agencies, Radio stations, TV producers, managing official websites, mails, phone(s), emails, etc.
Providing the artist exposure to the audiences using topics of public interest and news items. Also making sure the Artist Public Image is accurate.
Dialogue and evaluation working with the press (promotion, printings, television/radio commercial, personal appearance, etc.).
Planning (advertising, promotional campaign), series of promotional efforts built around theme, events, album, single, etc., and designed to achieve specific objectives.
Music Public Relation
-YOU TUBE is a very powerful tool!
However, few people really know
how to make use of it.
Once you have uploaded a video and published it on your channel, the Number of Views and Popularity will not come out of nowhere just like that.
Publishing a video on You Tube is exactly the same as releasing a single on the market:
if no one hears about it, no one will go get it.
I am no specialist in Artist Promotion,
but I do understand the dynamics that are involved.
It requires acute strategies and tactics.
(Links and relationship should be maintained with the Media,
the Press, Magazines, Promotion YouTube channels, etc.)
You Tube offers a great variety of possibilities on that matter (visibility).
Therefore, it is mandatory the Managing Team of any New Promising Artist
devolves the duty of managing/handling the artist's You Tube channel
to someone who is skilled and resourceful at it.
You Tube has become an essential part
of the Public Relation division (P.R.) in the Artist's Managing Team.
Corresponding attention must be committed to that.
A trustworthy expert at managing and handling the Artist's You Tube channel
(oriented toward promoting the artist) will generate increasing popularity very significantly.
As a consequence,
occasions and opportunities will follow.
4- Resources Supervisor:
This person is responsible for managing material and equipment utilized by artist(s).
Clothes, accessories, make up, hairdressing, etc.
Sound equipment, musical instruments, special effects,
renting, installation, maintenance, etc.
Sound technician(s), recording studio facility, Sound production (concerts), etc.
- For concerts, a reliable sound technician should be considered as member of the team/band. That person must know all music pieces to the point of triggering sound adjustments, equalizing, and special effects at the right places and at the right moment. Same thing with Lights and Special Effects on the stage.
- Sound Technician (Denis Savage).
- Lighting Engineer/Designer (Yves Aucoin).
Video production, storyline, scenario writer, video equipment, etc.
5A- Musical Director:
This is the person who is with the artist in rehearsals, in studio recording sessions, and "Live" performances. The work is to provide judicious inputs from an objective perspective on the artist's performance (music/singing).
Oftentimes a musician, but not always, Musical Director's point of view allows the artist to maintain maximum potential, to confirm with the style/genre, to adapt with changes in the public (popular demand), and not to waste time on unnecessary details.
Collaboration in creating concert theme and staging, the act, process, or manner of presenting a Show on the stage (scenario, special effects, etc).
5B- Musician(s) & Music/Song Writer:
Especially for singers, and also for members of a band;
A musical team is very important because "inspiration" is not like tap water, and there is a limit to interpretation of covers (copyrights, demand for original material). The sole definition of "Music" is to bring innovations.
Artist(s), a singer or members of a band, should be working in close relationship with professional musicians. Not only for improving themselves but also for exploration, experimentation, bringing new sounds, better compositions, interesting arrangements and orchestrations.
- For a Singer;
Certain musicians are working together better than others.
And the perfect teaming is crucial.
Here is a clear example to that:
(Same song, try and focus on the music)
Musical rendition #1
Musical rendition #2
- Music/Song Writing:
Music writers and song writers who can create outstanding pieces are extremely rare. Professional music writers working for major production companies are referring to specific patterns. Models or archetypes of music that have been identified as "popular", appealing to specific groups in the public. They are writing songs according with those to ensure commercial success (income).
However, these commercial musical pieces are rarely impressive in terms of Objective Quality Criteria and The Art of Music. Writing an exceptional song or an exceptional piece of music is done either by "inspiration" (Hotel California, Eagles) or by hard work (David Bowie).
A fine quality song (vocal melody) is written according with specific characteristics to the voice of the singer who will sing it (modal ranges, vocal capabilities, respiration, edge-notes, voice textures, coloratura, etc.).
- The song "Bato", by Vanja (edge-notes: the last verse).
- The song "Molitva (Prayer)", by Vanja (specific characteristics/voice: the vocal melody).
Björk: Biophilia app. series
5C- Singing Teacher/Coach:
The relationship between a singer and the singing coach is exactly the same as between athlete and trainer. This is the person helping the singer managing with the singing technique and vocal pedagogy (the physical process of singing);
- Vocal timbre
(tone color, texture, spectrum, and envelope),
- Vocal folds
(health, exercises, vocalises, etc.),
(respiration method, exercises, etc.),
- Capabilities of the voice
(potential, range, coloratura, appoggiatura, edge-notes, etc.),
Example of a remarkable singers:
As per Singing Technique, respiration method, vocal qualities, and precision singing;
- Natalie Rudman is the perfect example of a natural born singer:
she has very special vocal cords and the skills to drive them beautifully.
Ex-1; The piece > Stay (by the band Blansh, Live2014) <
Ex-2; The piece > SM-Beautiful Skin <
- Vanja Mijatovic is quite unique: one of a kind.
Edge-notes are essential in a song,
for triggering intense feelings and emotions in the audience.
At that point, the voice (vocal cords) makes a sound a bit like that of a reed
(a thin strip of material which vibrates producing a particular sound,
on woodwind instruments). And that is what "edge-notes" are for!
When using the falsetto, that property or ingredient in the song is destroyed.
The edge-note is the highest note one singer can reach (chest voice),
just before that singer's passaggio pitch range.
The falsetto is meant to be utilized only and strictly as an appoggiatura:
a precise and subtle ornament.
There are specific vocal exercises allowing a singer to reach that edge-note
(without using falsetto), and even to level-up the passaggio range.
Accomplished singers are able to use different Coloratura,
combining subtle intensities (soft, strong, dramatic, lyrical, etc.),
changing the voice tone corresponding with specific parts in the melody.
Vanja's interpretation of the song "Bato" presents clear examples to these.
- The song "Bato" (edge-notes).
- The song "Bol Do Ludila", version # 1 - version # 2 (entire song).
- Contest performance (2 parts).
- The song "(...) Za secru".
Introduction to Singing Technique:
1- Respiration Method.
2- Breath Control (air flow).
3- High Notes.
5D- Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist:
ENT Specialists are physicians, trained to provide medical and surgical treatment (for singers; vocal folds, throat, larynx). A singer's voice is extremely sensitive and fragile! It should be treated with great care, and constantly monitored for avoiding very serious injuries to the vocal folds. For example, just read what happened to Klaus Mein in 1980 (singer in the band Scorpions).
Otolaryngologists (ENT physicians); diagnose, treat, and manage specialty-specific disorders as well as many primary care problems.
Management Team diagram:
How to launch a career:
(organize and maintain the progression of a career)
It is far too common these days young artists and emerging bands full of good intentions heading out the wrong way;
- They spend a fortune on the Secondary Phase,
(Broadcast quality studio recording, CD album production),
- The "fun train" cruises for a while...
(Touring, performing concerts),
- There is no "demand" so they can't maintain the ride...
(the artist/band/music is unknown, not enough to gather significant crowds in places where the artist/band is performing),
- Funds come to be exhausted (insufficient income),
soon they must end everything and file for bankruptcy,
And then people never hear from them again.
In more than 30 years working with the music industry, I have never seen any serious company producing (paying for) series of concerts, a single, or an album made with covers, and with an artist who is practically unknown to the publics (in terms of Radio Station ratings).
Even with Original Material, the "demand" (from the publics) is not existing!
People should know there are Recording Studio which are "taking advantage" of young artist's parents who are ready to invest a lot of money. At this moment (the beginning of a career), studio recording contract for Broadcast quality production (extremely expansive), or "too good to be true" financial project does not make sense. In my view, such "offers" at this moment should bring questioning about "exploitation".
As parent(s), or as Supervisor, and even the artist, ask yourself this question:
Would you invest $20 000 in the production of a new product for which there is actually no demand whatsoever? It is the same with music (product vs. demand).
I keep repeating myself constantly on this:
Do Not invest any great amount of money in Broadcast Quality Recording Sessions, neither in anything that seams too big to be true, before there is a clear and verified "demand" from the public. Usually, record stores and radio stations are asking the record companies for a product (music) that is in demand. The contrary would be putting the carriage before the horse.
Here is the correct manner in which to organize and maintain the progression of a career, without wasting significant amount of money.
In the beginning there is no crew, no Team, no one managing the artist/band. Consequently, the work of Managing should be assumed by parent(s) as Supervisor(s). However, find a real and honest Artist Manager as soon as possible.
Usually, a Career Plan looks like this:
Normal steps aiming at launching a career;
- PRIMARY PHASE -
Gather and practice a series of songs, as the artist's/band's collection.
About 75% covers, 25% originals.
Usually 2 x 12 songs: 24 songs.
Songs duration is about 4 minutes each,
so, that gives 2 sets of 48 minutes (2 sets of 12 songs),
plus time interacting with the audience, it makes easily 1 hour each set.
A Show is an event, something special must be happening, one way or another. And nowadays, it takes a lot to impress! Innovation is the key. Find a "concept", a theme for the Show you want to present and write a basic scenario; use a simple background (drapes or coloured curtains), Lights (1 or 2 Floodlight or PAR Light spots, or LED Stage Lights, or Fresnel lanterns, even some Special effects, etc.). Do not fill it with too much stuff though! Get a technician to set up the sound system and provide excellent sound quality!
Find a place to set up and practice the Show.
Ex.: - CONCERT -
Air Canada Centre, Toronto (Nov2008).
Find places where the artist/band can perform. Clubs, Bars, local events, charity events, contests, you name it, just about anything suitable.
To find a Booking Agent, call the management to a local Club where artists are presented regularly, and ask who is the Booking Agent they are doing business with.
3- Promotion (PR);
(A) Advertise all those concerts and "Live" appearances. The objective is to increase the number of people who will show up be present. Advertise in local Newspapers and local artist/music magazines, radio, internet facilities, etc.
(B) Invite people in Radio stations, critiques, review reporters from Magazines and TV reviews, etc. The objective is to make those people speak/write about the artist/band...
and to gather Fans.
- On YouTube, the best is to present the artist/band performing "Live". So, people and Fans can see what exactly the "product" looks like; the show, sound, lights, crowd's reaction, atmosphere, and the real performance. This kind of video production does not cost lots of money and it is very effective!
These steps (1 to 3) are the only activities for which some Personal Money can be invested. Even, a clear limit needs to be drawn.
This is the - Primary Phase -
Hopefully, revenues should come to balance the investments and create small profits
(which should be put away into savings).
Common artists stay on this level for quite some time. And that allows to learn, and to gather experience, and to meet with people, get used to "life-on-the-move" (always in transports, hotels, restaurants), to get used to on-the-spot interaction with Fans, etc.
This is school time for that life!
Touring local and regional Clubs, Bars, small concert halls and popular events...
- There is a possibility for the artist/band to be "sponsored",
and thus get a small income or avoid expenses.
Ex.: Find Boutiques that will lend the artist(s) clothes and stuff to wear on performances
(or video), in exchange for advertizing. Same with sound equipment, etc.
With time, depending on the quality of the music/songs and performances, and the level of efforts made for promotion, and provided a significant "pressure" from the public does manifest itself on the medias (a demand for the product: the artist/band songs),
Viable Opportunities could come up.
- This is why a Hit song (original) is indispensable!
Something that can hit real big and gather attention.
Because The public will ask radio stations and record stores for that song/music. Then, radio stations and record stores will ask Record Companies for that "product". When the "demand" is in great number (for more than 10 000 copies), Record Companies will ask a Producer to get in contact with the artist(s). Usually, the Producer asks for a Broadcast quality recording of that song/music (sometimes, rarely though, the producer will pay for that recording). This is the reason why you should wait for this moment before Broadcast quality recording! This is how it works, never the other way around.
Ex.: Maya (Maja Berovic);
Born: July 1987, in Sarajevo (Bosnia),
Third album; "Maya 2011".
- Emerging Artist is someone who is in the early stage of their career, someone who has caught the eye of local Newspapers, and/or critics, and/or Magazines, but has not yet established a solid reputation as an artist amongst important Booking Agents, prominent Artist Managers, and the Music Industry (radio stations and record stores/companies).
On this date, as an Emerging Artist, Livy Jeanne is doing great
(Singer, musician, music/song writer, born in Canada, 1995);
She is an excellent singer,
She is writing original music/songs,
She has been Touring constantly for many years, making herself known to the public in Canada and U.S. All she needs is a "Hit" for gathering attention from radio stations and record stores!
- Established Artist is someone who is actually in the course of establishing a solid reputation as an artist in the media (and to the public). Someone who has or had Hit song(s) playing on radio and on TV music channels. They have caught interests from significant groups in the public. Newspapers, critics, reviews, Magazines, radio shows, TV programs, and important popular events are inviting them and featuring them regularly as greately appreciated artists.
They are currently under contract with important Booking Agents, with prominent Artist Managers. They have reputed music/song writers working with them.
And the Music Industry (radio stations and record stores/companies)
are hungry for their next hit...
Because once on that level, the problem is the pressure to create Hit-Song becomes enormous, both financially and for the career. The higher you climb, the higher the pressure!
At that stage, a good Team supporting the artist/band is crucial. Dealing with constant imperatives and very demanding situations can reveal itself too much. Those who can rest on a great Team helping to cope with all that are able to manage their career, and to enjoy happiness and contentment in personal life.
And these are examples for younger generations to follow!
Ex.: Coeur de Pirate (Beatrice Martin),
Singer/songwriter and pianist from Québec,
Born; Sept, 1989, in Quebec, (Canada),
2008; Acclaimed eponymous album debut,
2009; Juno Award, Nominated "Francophone Album of the Year",
In 2009, "Coeur de Pirate" album was released in France, in association with Universal Music, reaching the Top Ten of the French albums chart for several weeks in summer (2009), and spawning the Top Five hit single "Comme des Enfants".
Latest Hit single "Adieu", 2011.
- SECONDARY PHASE -
This means serious companies in the Music Industry presenting Long-Lasting Contract offers regarding the artist's/band's career in the Long Term.
Because they see they can get profits out of it.
That's how it works (product vs. demand).
This "response" from the Music Industry is the - Secondary Phase -
They pay for all expenses related to the project they submit, including artist's salary and expenses. That includes Broadcast Quality studio recording sessions, sound technicians/engineers, Mastering, Printing, Promotions, public relations, Touring, etc.
If the artist/band career is supervised/managed properly, it will expand further.
Born: Oct. 1978, in Singapore,
15th album; "Choreography", 2004.
Vanessa-Mae on "Wise Women"; BBC, 2010.
These are the "standard" steps for launching a career:
- Primary phase (Managing; progression),
- Secondary phase (Viable Opportunities; Producers).
This is what any honest professional Artist Manager/Agent will present to the artist/band,
or to the artist's parents/supervisors,
as the Plan for Career Development.
Parents/supervisors should not invest too much personal money into the Primary phase.
It can easily cost you twice your house for not much in return. Find series of sponsors who are interested in the artist/band.
There are 2 types of studio productions, as per music recording:
- Standard common HiFi recording.
- Broadcast quality standard recording.
1- Standard common HiFi production:
Nowadays, just about anyone and the dog can do that, provided quality equipment is utilized, and experienced technician is operating.
This will create good enough tracks and recordings
For Demo material,
For home-made CD album or singles,
For home-made video-clips,
Usually, the cost to that production is reasonable, it can be done at home (renting/transporting the equipment), and the cost is within anyone's financial situation.
2- Broadcast Quality Standard production:
This material is destined for radio broadcasting,
and for Music Industry commercial CD/Album production.
The cost to that production is above individuals. Prices for renting time in such studio are around $1000.00 per hour, and even higher. This does not include technicians and sound engineers for operating control desks, and their price rate is about the same as for renting time in the studio. Recording 1 track (1 instrument/voice) can easily require 4 hours. And this does not include buying the Master Recording, neither owning the CopyRights to that.
Explanation: Studio recording process:
Recording Production phase 1:
- The music is recorded first, on tracks. 1 sound track per instrument.
- All tracks (music) are mixed and played (as playback)
while recording the vocals, on tracks. 1 sound track per vocal melody.
- All these tracks (music and vocals) are saperate, on 1 tape,
or in 1 set (1 PC file/document/project).
That is called the Master Recording.
Because it is with that Master Recording the final mix is done
(1 song or songs on an album).
The owner of the Master Recording can re-mix the songs,
that is why it is so important!
Recording Production phase 2:
(in the same studio facility or not)
With the Master Recording, all sound tracks are played (as playback), the sound on each track is corrected, adjusted, all tracks are mixed together in particular fashion (placing each on a precise position in the stereo portrait), and the Output is recorded.
This "Output" creates the final product: the Final Mix. This is the song or the musical piece. From this Final Mix, copies are created in great number.
NOTE: This does not include the packaging!
With the Master Recording:
Different Final Mix can be produced, for example, music pieces/songs without the singer singing (only with background vocals). Because when the singer performs "Live", this "No Singer Mix" is played (as playback), and the singer can sing on them (instead of a band), just like a Karaoke (sound or singing over).
Further information and resources:
Perhaps your video on YouTube has got well over 100 000 views...
But can you gather 1500/2000 persons in a Concert Hall?
Rome wasn't built in one day!
Retired Musician - Artist Manager/Agent,
Feb 3 2012.