" You need a great team if you want to win" - 9th Wonder
In it to win it. Music is a team sport. Achieving whatever goals for success you have put in place for yourself as an artist is winning. Although we are constantly presented the idea of DIY these days, having the right team in place is crucial to artist's success in today's environment.
Recording, distributing and marketing your product can all be done for almost nothing. And because of social media and streaming service fans have access to infinite music and an unlimited amount of bands. This new playing field creates the challenge of setting yourself apart and building a sustainable career. Starting off you will fill most of these roles yourself which will help you understand the importance of each position.
" At a certain point you have to realize that you cannot do this alone. Being able to focus on specific tasks and having others to do the same, whilst working towards a common goal, is not only more efficient but expedient" - Jean Grae
The American College Dictionary defines "team" as: "a number of persons associated in some joint action." We all have limitations, we strengthen our limitations when we partner with people who are skilled in a spcific area. Tasks are completed faster when you have more people working together. In today's entertainment market, fans expect artists to be engaged with them, they expect constant content and dialogue across all platforms. Fans demand more music, more videos and personal contact. Building a team is imperative to meet the demands of entertainment fans today.
How do you determine if you need a team at this point in your career? I am a huge advocate of list making. Make a list of everything that needs to get done on a regular basis: social media, networking, creating email lists, newsletter, contacting promoters, sending music to blogs etc. Make a second list of your sources of revenue: shows, merchandise, music sales etc.
"It is important to have a great team behind you because winning in any facet is all about team work. From sports to politics the brains behind a successful campaign usually see's things differently from the candidate. The coach or manager of a successful team 9 times out of ten has a broader perspective than the athletes themselves. Everyone needs to search hi and low for the Phil Jackson of their specific needs when it comes to building a successful team."- Pharoahe Monch
So who do you need on your team and how do you find them? Depending on your particular situation but generally a Manager is the first draft pick. Kinda like the Quarterback - he/she will run the plays. A good manager will help you navigate your career as well as help build the rest of the team you will need as your brand grows. Many start up artists find themselves utilizing a supporter such as a friend or close associate as a Manager since the 15-20% payouts may be few and far between while buzz is still growing. Having an effective Manager on your team will allow you to focus more on the creative side of things while he/she advises you on business manuevers that will enhance your presence and ensure a proper strategy for success is being laid out and followed. As the demand for your product grows a Booking Agent is a great asset to your team. They assist in securing performance opportunities for you. Since they negotiate on your behalf, a reputable Booking Agent with the right connects can boost your visibility nationally by acquiring shows and tour placements. Eventually the need for a Music Attorney and Business Manager may come in to play once you start to earn a significant amount of income. Your Manager will know when the time is right to add those players to your squad.
Today's market is unlike anything the Music Industry has seen before. A social media saavy team is imperative to ensure you can compete in the streaming world and understanding how to leverage your presense on these internets! Hits are not a one person success story. There is strategy behind the song released, the timing of the song, the artwork representing the song, the hashtags to promote the song and so on. Never forget that a strong product is what your team needs to push, though. In the end, as they say, Music goes in your ears and not your eyes. Providing your team with a sound they can get behind makes you the most important person on the team.
Keep in mind.There are many types of teams in music besides the standard operating team I mentioned above. Songwriters may find it more beneficial to first find a Producer or Engineer they want to work with before locating a Manager for instance. A Producer may want to establish a working agreement with a Studio owner before obtaining a Manager and eventually a Publishing company. Establish first your goals, identify your needs and create a strategy for success that you can offer to any prospects you are interested. Discuss those goals for with your team, be open to accepting their guideance and commit to being the best part of the team you can be!