Last week’s MMF/FAC Artist & Manager Awards honoured some of the biggest names in the business. But, with its Breakthrough Manager award, it also shone the spotlight on those shaping the future. Here, the finalists tell us about the most pressing challenges facing them and their artists.
Artists, the management community and the wider music business congregated for the 2016 edition of the Artist And Manager Awards at London's Troxy last week, which, in addition to numerous other categories, highlighted the work of some of the industry’s most prominent new managers.
To find out more about the ever-evolving role of artist management and the challenges that come with it, we asked the Breakthrough Manager award finalists what the biggest challenge facing managers and their artists is today…
Tobe Onwuka (pictured) - Breakthrough Manager award winner
"Too many external voices and opinions. Sometimes these can cause a divide between artist and manager. [In the future] managers will be looking after more than just "music business" for their artists. A lot already do. More and more artists are entering fields outside of music. Managers are constantly having to learn new methods and network beyond the music industry."
Name: Amy Morgan
Artist: Glass Animals
"There are obviously major financial challenges. It is very hard for British bands who don’t have a fan base outside of the UK to survive. The constant demand for ‘content’ is also challenging."
Name: Martha Kinn
Company: Machine Management
Artist: Years & Years
"Breaking artists in the current landscape. The disparity is getting worse, massive established artists are staying at the top for longer whilst newer acts are struggling to get through the door, and their opportunities to do so are minimal."
Names: Johnny Pinchard & Dan Bearman
"Longevity. As managers have ever-increasing access to data and analytics, it will become vital that they become experts in using these insights to best serve the artists. And managers investing time and money into artists’ development, rather than labels, will become more and more expected."
Name: Sam Stubbings
Company: Native Management
Artists: NAO/Mura Masa
"Getting the balance between work and life. If you’re working with a very talented artist/musician, there is no end to the work and commitments you and he/she could take on. Choosing the right way to manage everyone’s working hours and retaining a personal life, whilst fulfilling professional ambitions, is definitely the biggest challenge."
Names: Niko Michault & Danielle Livesy
Company: Play Until Something Happens (PUSH)
Artist: Jack Savoretti
"It has to be funding. With the majors no longer developing talent and the bigger indies focusing on a few key signings, there are few opportunities open to new acts which are and will always be the fuel for our business."
Matt Johnson & Steve Ambler
Company: Red Light Management/SB Management
Artist: Oh Wonder
"People have such short attention spans nowadays, it’s a real challenge to retain it in a very noisy, cluttered landscape. And dealing with the vast number of people scattered across the industry who are stuck in their ways and the archaic nature of some deals that are still getting done."
Name: Claire Southwick
Company: Primitive Management
Artist: Spring King
"Funding. No matter how promising an artist, you will never progress without the means to keep momentum going. In such a competitive industry you need to continuously build your profile with constant assets."