Nashville-based Fat City Artists provides management and booking services for clients as diverse as Nina Simone, Max Weinberg Seven, John Carter Cash, The Amazing Kreskin, and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. "Today our company has agreements with over 135 artists that represent every genre of music and does business on four continents", says Rusty Michael, president of Fat City Artists. Fat City's Media division markets celebrities such as Hank Williams Jr., Paul Shaffer, and James Brown for celebrity brand endorsements and shops other intellectual properties, which include TV, movie, radio syndication and book publishing projects. Michael also runs a Record,Demo,and Video production company, and as a former investment broker, provides strategic business and investment consulting for select clients in the industry.
With over 20 years in the entertainment business, Michael is well aware of the important role a manager plays in an artist's career. "The primary responsibility of management," he says"is to oversee the creative process and insure that all business related functions are handled in a professional manner. Management's objective should be career direction. Creative direction is the function of the artist and management should be comfortable with that upon entering a management relationship. Before even considering a management agreement, however, the artist should educate himself on every aspect of he music business, including management, booking, publishing, etc."
When shopping for a manager, an artist should be extremely selective."management is like a marriage," Michael advises. "Don't rush it. Shop hard." An artist must ask specific questions and find out everything he can about a prospective manager. Some questions to consider, says Michael, are:"Does the prospective manager have a track record? Does management have a game plan specific to the individual artist? How knowledgeable is management about the current climate in the industry? What other clients are being represented by management? Talk to previous and existing clients. What is management's reputation in the industry?"
Along with things to look for there are also some things an artist should avoid."Avoid any potential management that seems to promise anything and everything," Michael advises,"or that insists on signing an agreement immediately without the opportunity to establish a basic relationship."
Artists aren't the only ones who should be selective; managers should also have requirements regarding the artists they decide to work with. What are the things Michael looks for in prospective clients? "Number one," he says,"is definitely professionalism. What is the artist's potential in today's market? And does the artist have the drive and determination to become successful?"
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when selecting a personal manager is the fact that you both must be able to work together. "No manager that I'm aware of is a miracle worker," Michael concludes. "It takes 110% from both artist and management."
Excerpted from 1994 Songwriter's Market copyright c 1993 by Writers Digest Books, updated 1998. Used by permission of Writers Digest Books, a division of F&W Publications, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio. Songwriter's Market features over 2,000 places to market your songs. It is updated annually by Writers Digest Books. The latest edition can be ordered directly from the publisher by calling 1-800-289-0963.
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