So, the job is very personal in terms of its approach?
Yeah there’s no specific fundamentals to it, in a way that there is for a “real” job. If you’re a lawyer you’re working within the confines of the law, but I think with a job like this there are no confines.
Another factor that is extremely important is how you fit with your artist and the compatibility. If a new artist came to me and wanted a manager who would work the business side of their career exclusively, I would not be comfortable taking that artist on - no matter how much I liked their music or how well we got on.
It’s still vital to establish a sound business strategy in tandem with your artistic career, but there are better qualified, better equipped people who can be brought on to a team to prioritise those aspects. It's similar to bringing on a booking agent to prioritise your show booking and live fee negotiations. I know that I wouldn’t be the best asset to a band in a straight business role, and I’ll always be open and clear in saying that from the off.
You used an interesting term about doing a 'real' job. Do you find that working in music is something that people don't take particulary seriously?
Yeah, it’s such a strange job and sometimes you feel disconnected from other people. It can be really hard to translate working in music to other industries because people find it baffling. If people ask me ‘Oh what do you do?’ and I reply I’m a band manager the response usually is ‘Do you help them get tours then?’ or ‘Do you go on tour with them?’ and there’s a moment where I say ‘well no… but yes, but not just that, I also do this and that and also this.’ There’s never really anything basic that I can say about what I do.
Sometimes it can get confusing to people who don’t know about the industry. There aren’t many jobs that are parallel in the “normal” world. People seem to think we’re all just having fun. I’ve always felt like my mum has been asking ‘When are you going to get a real job?’ and there is that kind of stigma attached to it. Also people often think that I’m actually in a glamorous position and if you’re Oasis in the 90’s or Mötley Crüe in the 80’s then that’s probably true but working in music in the 21st century isn’t that at all!
There is no way to just “get into the music industry”. You can go and study music business or whatever else but it doesn’t mean that you graduate then just start in the industry. Everyone has a weird journey to get into it and that adds to the feeling of it not being like a real job. I think the fact that I ended up ‘falling’ into my role adds to that perception too.