This week' Rising Star is Sarah Anderson, business manager at Thomas St John. Here, she reveals the secret to business success for artists and more...
How did you break into the industry?
My first job in music was heading up the finance team at Boiler Room, I got it through Handle Recruitment, who I would recommend. I worked at Boiler Room after training as an accountant at Deloitte, and the two experiences were night and day in every way! Boiler Room taught me about entrepreneurial businesses, and I met some of the most talented and creative minds in music. Deloitte taught me technical skills and professionalism, and I’m grateful for both. My passion is working directly with artists and creatives to help them manage their finances and businesses. I’m lucky to work with some leading acts and the team at TSJ who are focused on delivering the best for our artists. It’s a fun place to be!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing artists achieve their personal goals, like watching my artist perform their first headline show. It takes a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and watching them do it is really rewarding. Patience and persistence are important, no matter what you do for a living.
What is your No.1 piece of business advice?
If you are an entrepreneur or a creative, find a good lawyer and a good accountant! Seriously, though, investing in professional advice early will save you time and money. I wish I had applied this tip to my own life!
How can artists improve their business practice?
Keep good records of your finances and your fans, and use your data and technology to help inform your decisions. Manage your money early. Artists’ earnings tend to fluctuate (according to their touring and album releases). It may seem obvious but managing your cashflow, and setting up pensions and investments early will set you up for the long-term. Build a sensible structure. Artists can lose money unnecessarily in tax and compliance. Speak to your business manager, and if you don’t have one, write to one, you’d be surprised how many will offer you discounts if you’re an emerging artist and you ask nicely!
Are artists more independent now?
In theory yes, but even unsigned artists are still dependent on major companies for their livelihood – it’s just that the power has shifted slightly from the labels to other music companies. This can be hard for indie artists to navigate.
How would you change the biz?
There is a change coming and it’s called blockchain! It’s no secret that artists are not getting paid well from streaming, I hope blockchain will improve that.
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