Playbook #001: Simplicity as an Artist Manager

Author: Andre Mullen

💡 Big Ideas:

1. Artist managers need to embrace simplicity in their business approach.

2. In business, simplicity is the name of the game.

3. There are 3 tips to cultivate simplicity in artist management- outline goals and keep your list short, get a fix on your internal obstacles, and select a strategy and the right tools.

4. In order to create sustainability, simplicity is necessary.

This tour is going to fail if I keep overcomplicating it.

This realization hit me as I got off the phone with yet another venue unavailable for a proposed 15-city tour supporting my client’s album release.

The problem was we picked dates and locations before securing venues. These venues were en route on the tour.

A feeling of dread was coming over me and I realized I was overcomplicating this whole situation.

I’m going to share with you the importance of embracing simplicity as an artist manager.

"In business, simplicity is the name of the game."

Effective management has pretty simple fundamentals at its core. Artist management isn’t any different.

As an artist manager, you typically find yourself in different situations and circumstances as you navigate the music industry for and with your client. You will also feel a need to handle them all simultaneously.

Doing so will cause you to mismanage the business, miss opportunities, and ultimately, experience burnout.

However, embracing simplicity will prevent the above from happening.

I found myself overcomplicating the tour because I didn’t plan to simplify and focus on the successes that would make the tour successful.

Let me share some tips for being simple and focused.

#1. Outline goals and keep the list short.

Having an outline of clear goals is important.

These goals can be based on increasing merch and ticket sales, building an audience, getting new subscribers to your client’s email newsletter, etc.

Whatever the goals are, you need to prioritize what is important to you and your client’s business before wanting to accomplish more with less.

Keep the list of goals short. A broad list is harder to simplify and goes against what your goals are.

Also, put your FOMO (fear of missing out) aside and focus on a few key projects at a time, making sure you’ve completed them before moving on to new items.

Simplicity is about accomplishing more because you’re preoccupied with less.

#2. Get a fix on your internal obstacles.

It’s important to know what the internal obstacles are to you and your client’s business.

Whatever your processes are – or aren’t – it’s important to make sure they’re not over-complicated.

To simplify your business, you have to identify the factors that jumble things up and make things more complicated.

Is communication clear with your client and third parties? Does marketing align with your client’s brand or release? Are you trying to be too many things to too many people? These are all examples of internal obstacles that need to be addressed.

Pay attention to internal obstacles. They are important issues you cannot just “workaround”.

#3. Select a strategy and the right tools.

Simplifying you and your client’s business requires you to select a strategy.

Once you determine your challenges, choose a tool, system/process, or tech that addresses your problem and helps you in reaching your goals.

The strategy cannot be complicated as you’re trying to simplify your business. Only use the strategy and the tools if they keep you focused on simplifying.

Here’s the play…

I realized I didn’t have a real strategy for presenting my client’s tour. So instead of writing the tour off as a failure, I took advantage of the momentum created by the release of her album.

Here’s what you need to do and how I applied simplicity as an artist manager to my client:

1. Set realistic and limited goals: Focus on several goals within reach makes success sweeter and simpler.

With my client, I did the following:

     1. I took 10 goals and put them in priority order. In doing so, I found some goals
overlapped. The list was cut to 5 goals.

     2. I gave each goal a rating – “Low”, “Medium”, or “High”. This made the goals even more
manageable and easier to complete.

     3. Adding completion dates increased accountability. Dates increased the accountability
factor for myself and to the rest of the team.

2. Determine the top challenges: Analyze and document the pain points and how they will affect the goals set.

With my client, I noted the following pain points:

      1. Limited budget. The budget posed a challenge to the duration of the tour. We cut the tour from 15 dates to 10 dates.

      2. Routing. To optimize travel and save money, we stayed on the east coast.

      3. Backline Costs. We were able to secure sponsorship from an audio company to pay for any
additional backline equipment we needed.

3. Strategize and choose tools: Put together a strategy and the tools to help you accomplish your goals.

With my client, we put together the following strategy and chose the following tools:

     1. Acquire sponsors to offset tour expenses. We put together a landing page and sent out
the link to prospective sponsors.

     2. Routing. We used Google Maps to get distances and drive times.

     3. Pre-sell Tickets. We sent out newsletters to my client’s email subscribers offering pre-sell opportunities.

Most don’t think that business can be simple.

To create sustainability, simplicity is necessary.

Make sure you embrace it.

✋🏾When you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Schedule a 1:1 Growth Strategy Call with me on growth, strategy, content, and monetization.

2. Promote your business to 700+ artists, artist managers, and founders by sponsoring this newsletter.

3. Here on my website, I offer resources that can help. Check out The Playbook for more information.

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