The Hip-Hop Approach To Picking Your Team In The Music Business
In the music business, heck any business, choosing your team wisely is crucial to your success. The wrong person on your team can destroy everything you’ve built and having the right people on your team can lead you to a prosperous career. Below I have listed 5 important aspects of your team, remember, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and one second to ruin it forever.
1. Personal Manager
- A personal manager is like your point guard, they get the ball in the right hands to put points on the board. When it comes to music, personal managers should have an astute knowledge of the music business and be capable of working professionally with everyone affecting your career. The personal manager’s job is to take your career to the next level.They are jack-of-all trade type of people and will cost you about 15% – 20% of your gross income. Well worth it! From answering phone calls and grabbing coffee to setting up deals and making sure your branding is on point, the personal manager duties are chameleon like, their actions depend on the artist career goals.
2. Business Manager
- This guy or gal is going to make sure the money is always good. In other words, your business manager is your accountant. From making sure your taxes are being paid to making sure your royalties are adding up correctly, your business manager should work with you and your lawyer so you have everything covered. They get an average commission of 5% or flate rate based on hourly or monthly work. I’d say it’s worth the investment.
- The name of the game is consistently create a powerful product, exploit your powerful product, and not get fucked in the process. That’s why you get a lawyer on staff sooner than later. If you don’t know how to read or fully understand your contracts , you need a lawyer. If you don’t know how to make necessary filing or do research for your creation or business, you need a lawyer. If you’d prefer not to read every 100 page contract that comes your way, just get a lawyer already. Before entering into any significant agreement, you should always seek the professional advice of an experienced industry attorney.
- Publicist are going to promote you to the necessary media outlets. They work to maintain your image, they help navigate crisis situations. Ultimately, publicist will be your bridge to the public. Your publicist will be your go to expert to help you craft and develop your image. It’s important that your publicist either specialize or share a passion for your industry. Your publicist may cost you $300 – $10,000 monthly (depending on where you are in your career)
5. Booking Agent
- For artists dependent on live performances, appearances, lectures, and things of that nature to further their careers, booking agents are another key part of their team. Booking agents have relationships with venues and promoters regionally, nationally, and/or internationally, and help to connect artists with venues and concert promoters. The booking agent’s job is to procure (solicit, negotiate, and obtain) contracts for engagements for the artist. The artist’s personal manager works with the booking agent regarding the artist’s requirements (their performance fees, the size of venues, geography and travel issues, and how the tour will be routed around the country and/or world) in an effort to advance the artist’s career.
The way you select your team is just as important as having the team. It’s very important that your team shares the same goals and VALUES that you do. Hip-Hop has been pimped by corporate interest for a very long time, and the sad truth is that Hip-Hop artist walk away in debt and broke after going through the major label system. This is also true for every other genre because most artist don’t ever recoup the money labels have invested in them. In addition to that the image of the Hip-Hop culture has been tarnished because the narrative is controlled by european-owned media conglomerates, and not the people who actually care about Hip-Hop. If you take a minute to listen to the number one Hip-Hop/Rap radio station in your city, you would think that Hip-Hop/Rap is only about sex, money, drugs and death. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but the fact is that most of world still listens to terrestrial radio (AM/FM) so we can only conclude that most people of the world are programmed to relate Hip-Hop Culture to a culture of savages. The image that is portrayed only has a negative effect on the Hip-Hop community as well as blacks and other melanated people around the world.
Simply put, this is what the programming of Hip-Hop/Rap at major labels and major media outlets looks like and results in:
- Hip-Hop/Rap Programming = Black and Melanated People + Drugs, Sex, Violence, and Death (DSVD)
- Black and Melanated People + DSVD = Thugs
- Thugs = Criminals
- Criminals (in a jail cell) = Caged Animals
- Violating the human rights of Black and Melanated people = OK because in the minds of the programmed Black and Melanated people are animals
- Hip-Hop/Rap Programming = Acceptance of the violation of human rights of Black and Melanated people around the world.
If you’re not looking to sell your soul and the souls of your people for $1 and a shiny chain, choose your team wisely. At this point the evidence is irrefutable, the perception of Hip-Hop Culture has been hijacked and turned into an image of death culture. In the hands of these european conglomerates, Hip-Hop culture will never be portrayed in a positive light. This will only change if the people take back their image.
Now, what the hell does this have to do with my team? It’s as simple as your lawyer rolling over and advising that you take a deal that will have you enslaved to major labels like they did the late great Prince. Or your publicist recommending you talk more about sipping lean because it’s really popular right now and you could sell a lot of records that way. Meanwhile, turning your fan base into drug addicts to the point that they are too strung out to support your career. These are the risks associated with not having the right team around you. All to often people in Hip-Hop are teamed up with people that don’t come from where they come from or can’t relate to their life experiences. This has to stop in order for the true essence of Hip-Hop to return. I’m not talking about the sound, I’m talking about the lifestyle and the message of real Hip-Hop.
I notice that in movies and TV shows, there is a common trend of homeboy management. The friend that you’ve known since you were five skimming off the top to earn some extra cash. The solution is always go outside of your community to find someone you can “trust”. Its a double edge sword, bad people are everywhere and come in all walks of life. But i’d say, Ray Ray from my hood will try to get away with a couple hundred even thousand dollars. Cornelius from Kansas with a harvard MBA will try to get away with the masters to your entire catalog your house, your wife, and your dog kujo.
Pick your team wisely.