Growing your team is an important and necessary part of your career as a new artist. However, when and how you do that is the tricky part. We’ve already talked about being strategic with your partnerships, so today we’re going to dig deeper into when you should think about adding team members and who they should be. I’ve come across too many artists with too many people working with them but not enough happening to justify them all. On the flip side, I’ve seen artists drowning in day to day work, struggling to keep everything on track when their careers are starting to really take off. Here are a few steps and questions to help guide you!
When is the right time?
Let me start by saying this: it’s very rarely within the first year of your artist project. You need time to grow your own brand, establish who you are, test out your sound, and get a little attention on your own. Unless you find someone early on who just happens to be extremely passionate about what you’re doing, it’s best to build up a little resume before jumping into a partnership of any sort. And remember that thing about people being scammy? Yeah, that happens a TON early on, so beware of people that are just trying to get your money.
Who should it be?
This is one of those things that will be very specific to each artist. Most people start with management, but that doesn’t have to be how you roll. Maybe you’ve built up a great regional touring base and could use help expanding beyond that. In that case, your first addition might be an agent. Sometimes I honestly feel like people just need an intern. They aren’t at the stage where they NEED a manager, but they could use some help with day to day stuff (mailing stuff out, emailing blogs, social media). Keep in mind that when you sign on with a manager, they are not your assistant. You don’t just get to dump a bunch of busy work on them because you don’t want to do it.
How do you make a decision on who is best?
If it’s the right time and you have a few people on deck, you might have to make some tough decisions. Take a look at who else they work with and what they’ve been able to do. Look at how they structure their relationships -- is it more of a partnership or does one person clearly have the upper hand? I’m not saying one way is better, but these should be clearly laid out before you enter into an agreement.
Finally - why do you need them?
The biggest questions are - why do you need them AND why do they need you? If you have very good answers to both of those questions, then you’re probably in a great space to start adding to the team. If your answer to the first half of the question is “I don’t know what I’m doing” and the answer to the second half is “they probably don’t” then you should start to reconsider your plan. And that’s ok - start from the ground up and get some momentum. It’ll happen soon enough.
Having a fully fleshed out team on your side is amazing, but one squeaky wheel can be disastrous. Make sure you’re asking the right questions, doing your due diligence, and setting up the best environment possible for your project to thrive. Otherwise, what are we all doing here?
REASON TO IGNORE THIS ADVICE: You were born into music royalty. Use those connections, bro!