When I first heard the term “People would rather think their doing something; Than actually doing something” was from a Business Man that use to promote Hip Hop shows frequently here in the New York area. He told me “Sparks, look at this venue filled with artist waiting to rock the MIC; it’s packed from wall to wall weekly”. As he sipped on his drink in the club he continued to brag in between laughs about the manner in which he gets these artist to perform “Listen, I make them sell 30 Tickets at $10 a piece to perform; and I have 20 artist performing tonight, you do the math”. I just sat back and listened further as he confidently continued to brag even further “Each artist sold tickets for $10 a piece which equals $300 per artist; and it only cost me $300 to rent this venue, you do the math”. When I asked him why would artist do this when they could simply go directly through the venue themselves, he replied “People would rather think their doing something; Than actually doing something”
After that night when I left the club I drove home with more insight in regards to why this type of thing happens on a regular basis and why Artist continue to get taken advantage of by bad Show Promoters, Managers, Record Labels, and Publicist that have no interest in helping artist. They all share one common denominator, and that is for themselves to get paid. See it’s really basic when you break it down, those same artist that spent their time selling tickets could have simply bi passed the show promoter and booked the venue themselves, thrown their own show, and made a nice profit. But instead they got caught up in the hype of “I’m performing” and thinking their actually doing something when they weren’t. This happens more consistently than Artist would like to admit. But let’s dig even deeper into what other pitfalls Artist face.
Nowadays every artist wants a Manager. I hear a lot of Artist state that they need a Manager because they simply cannot handle the hectic demand of making music while trying to juggle their music career; and personal life obligations at the same time. Other Artist get caught up in the hype of it simply feeling good for them to say “I have a Manager”. The bigger picture is that after years of dealing with Managers and Label Execs I’ve realized that even though there are a few excellent Managers in this Industry, the remaining Managers on the bottom level are counter productive. Most of them are limited in regards to what they can do, tend to name drop because they feel a co sign validates their importance; and they often use their present artist roster as a pitch/selling point to attract new acts. The problem with most of them doing this is that they simply don’t have the ability to break new acts, so they ride off the success of more established acts. So many artist are quick to sign a terrible contract with Managers, Show Promoters and etc out of desperation; but at the end of the day they all share a common thread, there’s nothing being accomplished. Just a bunch of people with over glorified titles and minimal results.
I want to back track a bit and address the statement I previously made when I stated “Most of them are limited in what they can do”. The problematic issue that Managers on the bottom level often face is that they have a very limited amount of contacts, and once those contacts are exhausted everything for the Artist is in slow motion after that point. Essentially it’s like flagging down a cab driver trying to get to a certain location but the cab driver is only able to take you 5 blocks to 21st street before the cab runs out of gas. So you get out of the 1st cab and wave down a second cab driver. Cab driver number two then takes you from 21st street to 33rd street and then he runs out of gas as well and can go no further. Low level Managers are the same way, and this is why Artist careers often are in slow motion, due to years of constantly jumping from Manager to Manager in an attempt to reach a destination that is impossible to realistically obtain in this manner.
Artist often feel that various Managers can be a stepping stone (which is true) however the only problem is that some Managers are the opposite, so artist have to be very careful when choosing a Manager. Artist need to be real with themselves in regards to if their Manager, Publicist, and etc is bringing anything tangible to the table. Does your Manager secure you legitimate business opportunities or do they just provide you with a bunch of busy work to create the illusion that things are moving; but in all actually things are at a stand still. What artist fail to realize is that the only thing more valuable than money is time. How you schedule your time can create business deals, and generate or lose money. And dealing with bad Publicist, Booking Agents, and Managers always cost you far worse then losing money, you lose time. And that can never be re obtained.