PAUL ELSASSER (Lime Records Management, Great Britain), KATIA GIAMPOLO (Estragon, Italy), KLAUS HOFFMANN (Management Tagträumer, Austria), HANKA PODHORSKÁ (Indies Production) and TOM TANZER (Management Manu Delago, Austria) discussed just what exactly the role of music management is, what an artist has to bring with them to get a contract and what kind of developments have been taking place in the music industry.
A close examination of the different clients of the attendees makes it clear just how diverse and thus difficult it is to pinpoint the tasks of a music manager. Tom Tanzer and Klaus Hoffmann, for example, have to look after individual artists. Hanka Podhorská leads a label in addition to her function as manager. Katia Giampolo also works as a booker of a large concert hall. And Paul Elsasser almost counts as an old-school music manager since his clients run the gamut from bands to solo artists and DJ’s. Klaus Hoffmann is convinced there are two reasons to become a music manager: either you love music or you want to make a lot of money. These two types make up the bulk of the professional field. Unfortunately the second reason has given the job a rather bad reputation.
MUSIC OR MONEY?
There has been a long standing discussion about just what kind of artist can motivate a manager to sign them. The participants agreed that it should be musicians whose personalities are already mature and who know what they want. It is also essential to believe in the artist and thus be able to develop a strong sense of commitment. Even if you can help put the artists in a perfect position after taking them under your wing, there is no guarantee of success. Paul Elsasser said a manager can only do so much and a lot depends on the diligence and dedication of the artists. Whatever the case may be, a good manager always needs to keep their eyes on the big picture. Depending on the artist, a role as mentor might be appropriate – or not.
When asked about the differences between the music management of the past and the present, the Internet was unanimously cited as the most serious. There is a big difference between old-school bands who play numerous live shows to reach their audiences, and the young bands, that use the possibilities of the Internet to generate millions of clicks, says Elsasser.
“SPOTIFY IS STEAMROLLING EVERYTHING”
Since there are both types of bands at the moment, music management is in a phase of transformation. The relevance of Spotify, and streaming services in general, was obvious by the heated discussion it generated. Katia Giampolo, for example, said that there is a discrepancy between listeners on the Internet and people who actually attend a concert, which makes it difficult to assess artists and their potential as new clients. After moderator Sandra Walkenhofer (mica-music austria, MMFA) had to intervene in order to redirect the topic of Spotify back to the actual theme of music management, the cooperation of managers with labels and among themselves was discussed.
MUSIC MANAGEMENT FORUM – NETWORK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
The Music Management Forum (MMF), for example, is an international platform designed to help managers network. Although it may at first seem as though competitors wouldn’t want to exchange ideas, it turns out that it is actually a good way to get tips and contacts in genres or countries in which the other one isn’t interested anyway. As in any other professional group, and perhaps even more so in this business, networks are essential. After the panel, the foundation of the Austrian MMF was also celebrated, which should help Austrian managers to network better abroad.
When a musician from the audience wanted to know how to be signed by a management team, there was a general consensus that there was no blanket recipe and it was therefore difficult to judge. Nevertheless, Klaus Hoffmann was convinced that a good overall concept and timing is essential. In the end, even your best friend can become your manager, all it takes is someone who believes in you and is willing to invest time toward your success.
Sebastian J. Götzendorfer