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5 Priorities When Signing A New Artist

signing a new artist

In this training you’re going to hear from the managers or former managers of artists such as Metric, Tegan and Sara, k.d. Lang, Walk Off The Earth, Hey Rosetta!, Serena Ryder, Alexisonfire, and more, about their combined top 5 priorities when they sign a new artist. And I don’t necessarily mean an artist that is new, I just mean an artist that is new to management with that manager.

For our ONE year anniversary, I interviewed the managers of the artists I just mentioned, for a special expert round up interview that is still one of our most popular posts even though it was 4 years ago, because all their advice is still 100% relevant and important today. Reading through their responses, there are 5 recurring themes found in each and every one of them, so that’s what this video is about. I’ve linked to the full interview in the description, which has their full quotes, and I’ve also linked to our 5 year anniversary round up interview and video as well.

All our training’s are now available in both audio/visual (video) as well as written (article transcript) format. The article transcript can be read directly below the video.

Priority #1: The Artist

You must prioritize understanding them, their self-image, and their brand well. You must know what they want and need, what their long-term goals are, and find ways to make it happen and make it profitable for them. You must build a solid, trusting, relationship with each other. You must make sure they’re focused, passionate, and driven – that they deliver the goods when they’re asked or when they’ve promised, and that they understand this is a long game.

Priority #2: The Goods

Aka the Talent and the Material. The MUSIC comes first. You need to prioritize GOOD, strong material and strong writing, because that is what drives everything else. Talent, good content, and passionately sharing these goods directly with the fans.

Priority #3: Relationships

This includes industry relationships, the artists team, and their fans. Prioritize building genuine relationships with all of them. Prioritize building your team of agents, a record label if that’s part of your goals, radio promoters, streaming promoters, publicists, etc. Make sure all of you understand each others needs. Make sure you check out another video we have called “get responses from industry gatekeepers” because it talks about what they all want. And finally, cultivate direct relationships with, and engage with, your fans regularly. Be consistent.

Priority #4: Touring and Performing

Put a big emphasis on performing live and touring. You can start by developing a live audience in your home markets and slowly work your way outwards, which I talk about in another video “how to start performing to create a buzz”. And prioritize not just performing, but being the best performer. Make your performance one to talk about.

Priority #5: Goals and Plans

Build plans together with the artist, have big visions that align with each other’s visions, work hard on them together, plan them as far in advance as you can, and ruthlessly stay on track. Understand the industry, be open to new ideas that stray from traditions, but ALWAYS create the best looks for your artist and brand. Keep the artist busy doing things that align with your brand such as media engagements, support tour slots, festivals, brand sponsorship, radio play, playlist adds, sync, artist collaborations, etc. And while you’re doing all this, filter out and protect the artist and the brand from bad looks, setbacks, bad losses, and bad contracts. And not just that, also protect them as humans. Protect them from burning out, take care of their needs, protect their assets, their names, their time.

In summary, your top 5 priorities are:

  1. The Artist
  2. The Goods
  3. The Relationships
  4. Live Performances
  5. Goals and Plans

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