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Ten Tips From Artist Manager, Lauren Mikkor.

Words by Lauren.

You are your artists #1 fan. 

FIRST. AND. FOREMOST. If you don’t have a (Borderline) delusional, unwavering and honest, wholehearted belief in your artist, you are working with the wrong artist. Or more appropriately, said artist is working with the wrong manager.  

Management is NOT sexy. 

Not for a long time. You’re both probably going to be running on very little money and very little sleep. You will work long hours, your artists often take priority over yourself and you will need to develop an unbreakable spirit to deal with the ups and downs of the complete shitshow that is ’The Music Industry’. That being said, the sunny side up is that every really bad day, is usually immediately preceded (if not soon after) with a really good day. The friends, memories and experiences outweigh all of the late nights spent trawling through your sea of emails and with a tiny little success, people will still think you’re rich. 

If you want a clock off time, you’ve picked the wrong career. 

There is always someone working harder than you, longer than you, smarter than you - and in music if you let slip for too long, things start to fall apart. If you think you are entitled to a 9-5 career with weekends you are in the wrong career. If you are in this for money, you are in the wrong career. If you are in this for your undying, irrevocable love for music and believe that everything else is just a bonus, you have chosen well! 

Don’t work with assholes.

The teams you build around your artists, at the end of the day are teams you build around yourself. Can you work with this person every day for the next ten years? Does this persons interests and morals align with yours and your artists? Sure, it takes a lot of trial and error to get here - but at the end of the day, if you are surrounded by good, honest and hardworking people - you are already 90% of the way there. Take the time to be selective of who you work with, encourage ’trial’ periods, and learn to cut your losses - No amount of money, clout or notoriety is worth your happiness (and sanity.) 

You don’t just ‘decide’ to be a manager

You need to accumulate skills, contacts, broad knowledge of the industry, and make a whole lot of mistakes before you should take someones career and livelihood into your own hands. Artist management is serious business. There is no rule book, and no clear cut write and wrong, but as a manager - you can almost guarantee you’re putting on the hats of a - psychologist, social media manager, publicist, A&R, accountant, friend, babysitter, boss, creative director, business advisor, hard hitting truth deliverer… ALL OF IT. Make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for. 

Be prepared to grab every opportunity by the balls. 

The secret to success? A lot of hard work, followed by good timing, colliding with opportunity and a sprinkle of luck. Timing is everything, so be prepared for everything to come. It's never a case of doing things ‘fast’, but cultivating a genuine fan base over a long period of time will lead for a long, rewarding and fruitful career. 

"If you can’t beat em, join em.” Jealousy and competitiveness will only get you so far. Collaborate, work together, help each other, hand out favours, introduce people, do nice things for others and expect nothing in return - karma is one hell of a drug. 

As a manager, your job is not to have all of the answers - your job is to know where to find them. 

If you are resourceful, there is nothing you cannot achieve. Amazingly - you don’t know everything (I know, I was shocked when I learnt this too.), spend time listening to podcasts, read industry news, chat to your peers, ask questions (and for the most straight up, no bullshit, expensive, but honest advice - Ask your lawyer) 

It’s not about what you know - it’s who you know. 

Try your best to not piss too many people off too early on (Or at all.) a lot of making it in this business relies on friendships and alliances. You can be the worst artist in the world, if you have genuine relationships with the right people - that could be enough to create a sustainable career. Invest time into the people you meet, support their endeavours and curate genuine connections. Having the right contact at a record label is all well and good, but you cannot beat ten years of friendship. 

Artists and managers - YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. 

I once read somewhere that managing bands, is sometimes like flying a plane where the passengers (Ahem- Artists) are all trying to grab the controls or jump out of the windows. (Admittedly, they’re not wrong.) Like arguments between parent and child, you still love each other - you just want what’s best for them, and they just want to be understood. The sooner you ensure your goals are aligned, learn to trust each others judgement 100%, know when to compromise, know when to back down and know when to stand by your decisions - the easier things will be. 

Lauren is one of Australia's most successful managers, managing the likes of Running Touch, George Alice, Adult Art Club and Xavier Mayne.

If you don't have an amazing manager like Lauren, check out Muso for a head start.

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