TPS #041: Playing the Long Game

Author: Andre Mullen - 3.5 min Read

Read Time: 3.5 minutes

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💡 Big Ideas:

1. There are 4 aspects of playing the long game artist managers need to embrace – creating timelines, studying the business, focusing on the big picture, and dedication.

2. Proper planning is the name of the game for playing the long game.

3. Artist managers need to run artist businesses like founders run startups.

4. Applying a startup mentality will shift short term plays to long term plays.

“No more excuses.”

When my client fired me, I really felt like I wasn’t cut out for artist management at all.

I hated that I failed.

I hated that I felt like a failure.

I hated that I failed my client.

Staying stuck in short wins was affecting long term goals and this was longer an option for me.

It was time for me to start playing the long game.

No more excuses.

Playing the long game.

In today’s newsletter, I want to share 4 aspects of playing the long game needed for you and your client to be successful.

For many artists and artist managers, the long game seems paved with uncertainty and depending on one’s outlook, wasted effort.

However, effort is never wasted where there is proper planning. You will need to settle yourself to plan so you can manage smarter, execute properly, and achieve the goals you set.

The only way this can and will work is to understand how important the aspects of the long game is to your client’s success.

Artist managers not focused on the long game can and will cause their client’s career to suffer, and worse, fail.

“Artist managers need to run artist businesses like founders run startups.”

A great artist manager manages their client’s creativity and their business. Your client’s business is an extension of their creativity. Seeing it as such should begin to lead you to see their overall business as a startup.

Every startup runs the risk of remaining a money pit or the potential to become an established business. Their growth is the by-product of a lot of trial and error. Some go years without seeing a profit.

Embracing the perspective of a startup will shift your focus from short term plays to the long game.

The 4 aspects of playing the long game needed for you and your client to be successful are:

1. Creating timelines

2. Being a student of the business

3. Staying focused on the big picture

4. Dedication

Applying these aspects of the long game will provide the foundation for you to build a sustainable business for your client. In addition, you will no longer deal with the frustration of the unknown. Instead, the clarity will create a confidence in you and deepen your relationship with your client.

Let’s look at each aspect in detail.

#1: “Creating timelines”

Creating schedules and imposing timelines is essential to any business.

This is what drives and moves yours and your client’s business forward. No matter what level, years, successes, and failures you may have experienced, proper planning is critical.

Planning ensures repeated success.

Creating a system helps with this process. Examples of this includes a dedicated calendar with upcoming releases, meetings, interviews, sessions and live shows- in short, anything and everything that feeds into yours and your client’s business.

This will bring you one step closer to making your client’s short-term goals a reality.

#2: “Being a student of the business”

The music business is constantly evolving due to technology.

Now, more than ever, your working knowledge of tech platforms and systems is important in positioning yourself and your client in playing – and succeeding – in the long game.

With the increase in tech platforms providing services for you and your client, there also comes contractual agreements. A lot of your client’s earnings will come from residuals, ranging from master streams and sales to mechanical and performance royalties.

Knowing the guidelines of how each of these platforms pays your client and other collaborators becomes important in doing good business.

Stay on top the business so you can manage smarter.

#3: “Staying focused on the big picture”

Understanding the scope of your client’s business is important. It will empower to connect and align opportunities quickly to scale your client’s business.

Knowing the scope of your client’s business can give you insight into other opportunities. These opportunities will indirectly benefit you and your artist client while expanding their reach.

A common example of this is found in sync licensing. Having your client’s music placed even in YouTube web series not only creates a revenue stream, but also leads people back to your client’s catalog of music.

#4: “Dedication”

Doing good work is never easy.

Dedication is necessary to bring good work to completion.

As a manager, you assist in making your client’s dedication to their art easier by handling their business with dedication.

You and your client will inevitably have moments of resentment and disappointments. Being prepared for those moments, and reminding yourself that you’re in it not just for one album cycle, but for life, will help you see the big picture.

Trends will always change, but there is a place in this industry for those who stay true to themselves and are dedicated to playing the long game.

Losing is not an option.

Consistency + diligence = success.

I’m rooting for you.

Hope this helps.

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

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

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