Recently I attended a festival where I met a friend who is doing management in the same style as me. I have helped him in some cases with a specific artist so of course, I asked how it was going around that?
“I dropped that artist he explained. I was busting my ass off to get them opportunities and get things going. Still, it felt like they very just in for the ride, and when we got eight on the chart and they didn't even post something around it on social media I just dropped them.”
This is very common. In most cases when I start talking to managers I have known for a while I ask if they are still working with that specific artist. In many cases, they just grew tired of all the work they did for them and then they are treated like shit.
It’s like artists think they are God’s gift to mankind and the manager should just be thankful to have the opportunity to work with them and their music. And they think the answer to the lack of success is just to change the team, it never anything with to do with the artist. It seems like the method that is used is that the artist job is just to find a Santa Claus figure that takes them to world stardom. As soon that figure is found their job is over now they can just focus on the music and its all about having a party.
Here in our office, we call it "sitting in the sofa method". The artist has no longer any go, they just rely on what you are doing and whatever you are doing they just complain. More or less sit on the sofa like a teenager playing mobile phone games and complain about everything.
But it's not your teenager so after a while you just grow tired and throw them out.
That is the reason I don't trust artists when they tell me that their latest company didn't do anything. In most of the cases with majors, they didn't but the reason for them not to do anything was that the artist was sitting on their asses and did nothing themselves. On the indie side, it can be that they did a lot of things but not the things that the artist thought was important.
And in today's industry, the companies can wait, they don't need to develop the artist, just wait until the right time is there and then take 50% of the share. An artist that just sits there not even updating the social media or the homepage or nothing, so then they get dropped.
A manager once said the artist gets 80% of the money I get 20% of the money. They should work 80 and I 20%. This is also the reason why we see many managers now stepping up their percentage. 50% is no longer unheard of. Not even that they put their names in the copyright to secure their money.
This is the risk these people take risks with every artist they sign. It could easily be a ‘sofa case’. We have seen the most productive bands just go straight to the sofa after they signed the papers. Also, a good reason for companies to wait.
So, my advice is to see any team that you get as an artist as an extra engine. Still, do what you are doing but get help from that extra engine. No not even Scooter Braun knows exactly how to make a career out of an artist, he has a large success rate but still, he probably makes some things up along the way to try things out. Stop thinking that there is a Santa Claus that knows everything, it all comes down to hard work.
Editor's Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl.