Talent management is a critical aspect of any artist’s success in the music industry, and countless stories have been documented with make-or-break outcomes based on how management teams perform.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a simple gig – just onboard the artist and collect checks as they pump out hits and make appearances. In truth, it’s a 24/7 job demanding tough decisions and personal sacrifices, which is why so few managers make it to the top.
Here are a few insights into the often misconstrued role of talent management in the entertainment industry.
Finding a Needle in the Haystack
At the core of talent management is a sharp eye for potential. The most successful managers are able to find the right mix of style and substance as they analyze recorded demos, take the local temperature of the culture, and sense the energy of live performances.
In many cases, it takes one to know one, as evidenced by artists such as Lil Wayne and Kanye West, who have a thermal-vision ability to detect heat on a blossoming scene.
However, some talent managers simply have the gift, can pinpoint up-and-coming artists who have that special something, and seal the deal at the right time and place. Like any business, it’s hit-or-miss, but just a few handshakes can lead to millions of dollars and fans.
Maintaining Relationships and Negotiating Deals
Landing a hot new artist is just the first step on a long, winding journey for the talent manager. The meat and potatoes of the job is to represent the artist positively in the public square. It’s part PR, part power broker, part consultant, and all hard work.
Now with the nonstop onslaught of internet buzz, talent managers have barely any time to sleep. They need to keep a fine-tuned radar as they navigate the digital environment, lock down opportunities quickly, and put out fires when they flare up.
The average music fan may not appreciate what a great talent manager does for their favorite artists. Without a great team making connections and cutting advantageous deals behind the scenes, we may have a completely different set of music icons in the digital age.
Not only do managers need to orchestrate and promote shows, they are also responsible for coordinating promotions with various brands and monetize creativity in every possible way.
It’s the grey area between business and art where managers shine, and only a select few can make it happen in a seamless, sophisticated way. The next time you see your favorite artist killing it on stage or in a commercial, consider all the work that happens behind the scenes.
Transitioning Roles and Seizing Opportunities
The music industry has gone fully international in recent years, and for talent managers set on success, time zones pose no obstacle. Opportunities can arise from anywhere in the world at any time of day or night, and management teams can’t afford to let any chances slide by.
There are a select few entertainment management companies who have successfully navigated this ever-changing industry to bring their artists ongoing success, such as Three Six Zero, based in Los Angeles, London and MIami.
Representing a wide range of talent from Calvin Harris to Jason Statham, the company headed by trailblazer Mark Gillespie is responsible for crossover talent leading the digital revolution. From #1 singles to award-winning films, talent management needs to be all-encompassing in this day and age.
If we’ve learned one lesson from 21st-century entertainment, it’s that nobody is confined to a particular medium or industry. Music, film, and social media are now on the table, and the right talent management can be the keystone to success in this complex digital world.