"If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian Epstein" - Paul McCartney, 1997 "I'd like to thank Jon Landau, my partner and fellow prisoner of rock 'n' roll for his years of friendship and inspiration and for being someone I could point to who was more neurotic than me." - Bruce Springsteen, 1995
The Relationship
I'm sure you've heard it said that no one can possibly care more about an artists' career than the artist himself/herself. I believe that's true, and that's why-- and many others in the music industry may disagree with me here-- I am firmly of the opinion that managers should be considered as and act like a member of the band or a partner if you are a solo artist, and not just a business appendage. A good artist manager is like a good baseball manager-- a member of the team, as important a player as any of the others, but providing a different role, looking at things from a different, larger-scale picture and perspective, and calling certain broad-strokes shots that the others simply aren't qualified to. The best artist managers in music history had relationships with their artists in which they truly were like members of the band or partners with the solo artist. And in today's music industry, which is more dominated by business concerns than ever before, this type of relationship is even more crucial. Ironically, however, in today's music industry, this type of relationship has grown increasingly rare. Most people nowadays tend to think of managers as disposable, and artists' careers are similarly expected to be short-lived. I encourage developing artists and young managers to break that mold-- enter a relationship where the manager is treated like an integral partner and is expected to stay (or be kept) for the long haul, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part. Indeed, a good artist-management pairing is very similar to a successful marriage. I firmly believe that if more managers and artists strove towards this kind of relationship, we would see more successful career artists (i.e. artists that make music for decades), and the general state of music would be more progressive and creative. Two good examples of excellent artist-manager relationships are the pairings of The Beatles and manager Brian Epstein, and Bruce Springsteen and managers Jon Landau and Barbara Carr.
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