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How to Manage A Music Star: Advice From 32 Masters

A crash course in management from the best in the business.

To accompany Billboard‘s first-ever Managers Issue — a double cover that featured both Steven Victor with Pusha T as well as Danny Rukasin and Brandon Goodman alongside Billie Eilish and FINNEAS — we polled today’s top managers on the best advice for navigating the biz.

From revealing what aspiring young managers should study up on (from Web3 to IP) to sharing the ways in which they have helped superstar clients level up over the years (from strong touring strategies to keeping a trim roster), the following 32 managers/management teams are at the top of their game — and offering tips. Consider this list a crash course in management for 2022.

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David Ali

Company: Above Ground
Key Clients: Kehlani, Rico Nasty, Tee Grizzley, Larry June, Stormzy (USA Only), P-Lo, Destin Conrad

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Young managers should study and know about every aspect of the business — from touring, record deals, merch, digital marketing, distribution, publishing, day-to-day and every single thing that makes their artist’s business tick. The more you know and understand, the less room there is for things to go left or to be confused about.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I think the smartest decision Kehlani and I made together was to put out the Cloud 19 mixtape with Nick Cannon in the beginning. She was one of the first female artists to put out an actual mixtape at the time, including physical CDs and passing them around in the streets. It really showcased her songwriting and versatility as an artist.

Bernie Cahill

Company: Activist Artist Management
Key Clients: Dwight Yoakam, Bobby Weir, Grateful Dead, Dead & Company (co-manager Azoff/Moir), The Lumineers, Alec Benjamin, Brittney Spencer, Empire of the Sun, Michael Franti & Spearhead

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Music publishing, licensing, IP and digital rights. We have all seen the many IP acquisitions in our industry lately, and while these can be complicated transactions, the results can help create long-term career independence and generational wealth if the foundation is built and properly managed over the artist’s career.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

At Activist, we’ve created a true team approach that includes in-house experts that can advise on everything from tour marketing to nonprofits to Asian market expansion. For example, Alec Benjamin who in a short time has amassed almost four million fans on Chinese social media platforms and DSPs, benefits from having an experienced and fluent head of Asia on his team. Alongside our partners at Warner Elektra, the launch of (Un)Commentary in China shows that Alec’s focus and investment in the region is paying off. On release day, the entire Top Ten on Kugou’s Western music chart was made up of songs from (Un)Commentary, a staggering accomplishment and a testament to the passion of his fanbase. Almost 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia and we’re excited about helping our artists tap into the power of the region.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Music-focused film and TV producing opportunities for full-service management companies with dedicated film/TV/literary and packaging departments are exploding. In the last two years alone, we have set up over a dozen projects at major studios including Apple, Sony Pictures Television, FX, Endeavor Content, UCP and Warner Media. Some of these projects are in partnership with Activist clients such as The Lumineers, Bobby Weir, Dwight Yoakam and the Grateful Dead and others are based on music IP or music centric ideas we have developed, packaged and sold as producers.

Andrew Gertler

Company: AG Artists
Key Client: Shawn Mendes

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

As old school as it sounds, I have always been a proponent that foundationally, every manager should know the insides and outs of putting a tour on the road to the deepest possible degree. Knowing how to put people in seats, and how to engage your artist’s fanbase properly live is the most important part of career longevity.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I think my decision from the beginning of Shawn’s career to not pick up other clients and focus all of my energy into ensuring he achieved his goals was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I would say the most exciting thing about being a manager today is the ability to diversify your business and to grow without having to pick up tons of clients. The lines between the industries of music, TV, film, tech and consumer products have blurred and the skills you learn as a manager in music can translate to so many other things.

Brandon Farmer

Company: B. Farmer Management
Key Client: Latto

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I believe young managers need to know more about how to work and create results under pressure, especially when things don’t go as planned. You have to be a quick thinker to figure out how to resolve unforeseen issues.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Let the artist be in control. Our job is to advise and not dictate them. We as managers have to trust our artist’s vision and make that vision as big as possible.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I think some of the most exciting things happening in management right now is that artists are trusting their managers more and the relationship between artists and managers has evolved to business partners — starting new ventures together such as labels, festivals, clothing lines, etc. rather than just the traditional artist and employee manager model.

Adam Alpert

Company: Disruptor Records & Management
Key Clients: The Chainsmokers, Dove Cameron, Jessie Murph, Maude Latour

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Managers should immerse themselves in the places and platforms that their artists’ fanbases live. It could be TikTok, it could be Roblox, it could be in the Metaverse. Cultivating a fanbase and serving them is more important than ever.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

In general, encouraging all our artists to tour as much as possible and make fans in real life and not just on the internet.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Web3/blockchain/NFTs and what’s possible in the Metaverse is beyond exciting. The new forms of revenue and ways to fund an artist project as well as ways to reach your true superfans and the infinite possibilities of a virtual world are all incredible new developments for our industry.

Eric Duars

Company: Duars Entertainment
Key Clients: Rauw Alejandro, EiX, Cauty

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Without a doubt, all digital platforms; that’s where we live now. I’m not talking only about streaming, but also NFTs and other new opportunities that are available and which we need to be familiar with as managers. The other basic area is shows and tours, because that’s the motor that allows artists to connect with their fans.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

The ability to develop an artist in multiple areas, from concerts and songs to NFTs, virtual reality, the Metaverse and the reach we can have thanks to technology. Also, coming out of a pandemic and being able to do live events again is very exciting for us.

Austin Rosen

Company: Electric Feel Entertainment
Key Clients: Post Malone, iann dior, 24kGoldn, Louis Bell, Billy Walsh, Blake Slatkin, Carter Lang, El Guincho

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Web3. So many artists are able to tap a new audience and reach their fans in creative ways with NFTs, etc. It’s a new space and a lot more disruption will come from it.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Creating a company that is driven by collaboration between artists, producers and songwriters. We’ve seen massive success with major records like Post Malone’s “Sunflower,” “Wow” and “Circles” and 24kGoldn and iann dior’s “Mood,” which were all created with EF management/publishing clients. We’ve been inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for 83 weeks straight, so it’s a huge accomplishment for the company and our roster.

Jorge “Pepo” Ferradas

Company: FPM Entertainment
Key Clients: Camilo, Evaluna Montaner, Giulia Be, Lali

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

More than studying or learning something specific, my recommendation is to build teams. Build teams that bring different points of view and different areas of expertise, and who can then help [managers] implement and create the correct strategies. Build teams who can help with contracts and tour routing. The secret, in my opinion, is to focus on building a good team that brings the expertise and knowledge he may lack.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Taking Camilo very quickly out on tour and allowing him to play as much as possible and connect directly with as many fans in order to build that base that, if all goes well, will stay with him for many years.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Management’s role is being revalued. When you look at the most successful artists in the world right now, you see a solid management team behind them. I think there’s new awareness on the value of the manager’s role, and an understanding of just how important good management is.

Virginia Bunetta

Company: G Major Mgmt
Key Client: Thomas Rhett

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

The human part. It’s still and always will be a business of relationships — of and for people.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I was once told by a legendary manager to “not sign a bunch of talent, focus on one artist you think you can break.” Best advice I ever got. When I signed Thomas Rhett over a decade ago I had a  full roster of clients. A year or so into working with a young, unknown Thomas Rhett, I adjusted my roster and was able to really focus my time and attention on growing his career from the opening act he was to eventual arena headliner. A big part of that journey was not signing a lot of talent while we were developing his career. Focus was key.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I’ve been in the music business since 2001 and it’s an ever changing, ever morphing machine. I feel like I’m learning just as much today as the day I started.

Danny Robson

Company: Leisurely
Key Clients: RÜFÜS DU SOL, Lastlings

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I’m always fascinated when learning more about an artist’s fans, whether through observation, experience or data. I think the most valuable thing a manager can do is to dive into the world of your artist’s fans and to ask yourself at every moment, “How would it feel to be a fan of this artist at this juncture?”

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I think with RÜFÜS DU SOL, choosing to promote our own shows in Australia from day one was one of the best decisions we’ve made with the project. It has set the tone for the project where the guys are happy to get their hands dirty and do things their own way, they are happy to take on calculated risk where they need to. Part of that process was being patient, making a commitment to not skipping any steps on the way up and returning to markets year-after-year to build the base. This work ethic we applied to our touring strategy in the U.S. when the band first started coming here consistently in 2014, and it laid the foundations for the project to have tremendous success in the live space.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

There is no management without artists and there are no artists without fans. I feel we are on the verge of a lot of breakthroughs in Web3 that are going to allow artists and their management teams to build new types of relationships between artists and fans, relationships that weren’t possible in the past.

Rebeca León

Company: Lionfish Entertainment
Key Clients: Rosalía, Tokischa

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Obviously the basics: Touring, contracts. But right now, publishing is huge, given all the collaborations that are happening. The Metaverse is something people have to get familiar with, embrace and get educated on. And, consumption trends. You really need to follow those consumption trends and know where your people are listening and discovering music. TikTok, for example, came out of nowhere. We have to know what’s next.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

My number one thing, for every artist, is the power of no. That is the one thing I learned that really helped me level up with Rosalía. Sometimes you gain more from not doing something than taking an opportunity that appears to be excellent on paper, but, applied to the day to day of your artist, may not work.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

All the female managers that are coming up. Cayetana Smith from my team; Dina Sahim; Alex Depersia from Pharrell’s team; Kaily Nash from Roc Nation. These women are all superstars and it’s really exciting to see the girls get into management positions.

Dre London

Company: London Entertainment
Key Clients: Post Malone, Tyla Yaweh, Ronny J

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Contracts. Read your contracts. Publishing, performances, different avenues of revenue, the type of money you make from a brand ambassador deal. Learn about sync.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

After Post’s Stoney album released in December of 2016, I funded his “Congratulations” music video out of my own pocket a month later and it was like gas to the fire. After releasing that video, the song really struck a chord with the audience — it quickly hit the top 10 and was played at every graduation, basketball championship, etc. You have to learn to trust your instincts.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

There’s a lot more flexibility for managers to chart an artist’s destiny because the fourth wall has been removed. The fans now decide and once they do, there’s a direct connection between the artist and their base.

Tunde Balogun

Company: LVRN
Key Clients: 6lack, DVSN, Cruel Santino, Eli Derby, North Ave Jax, WS boogie, Brs Kash

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

How to move and promote their artist in international markets besides their home market, and new technologies.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Honestly and consistently trusting my gut.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Artist and managers teaming up to build companies together.

Chris Kappy

Company: Make Wake Artists
Key Clients: Luke Combs, Niko Moon, Hailey Whitters, Flatland Cavalry, Drew Parker, Tyler Dial, The Panhandlers, Red Shahan, Keller Cox, Jackie Lee

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I am a true believer in knowing the fans. Going to shows, talking to them in line, talking to them at the merch table, watching the show from the crowd and truly immersing themselves into the fan experience and seeing it through their eyes is so important. You can’t appreciate the relationship a fan has for a band unless you stand shoulder to shoulder with them and feel their experience.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I think the power we have to get music out to more people now worldwide and build that connection with fans from anywhere. The days of end caps and distribution deals to get your music [out] are done. Having the access to get it right to [fans’] ears with a couple of mouse clicks is pretty crazy.

Clarence Spalding

Company: Maverick
Key Clients: Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts, Hootie & the Blowfish

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I advise my young managers to learn the road. It’s where most acts make a majority of their income, but it’s also where huge amounts of monies are invested. Everything from set designs, lighting, sound, rigging, pyro… that takes highly trained personnel to get a show up and running. That takes trucks, buses and drivers, stagehands, loaders… promoters to promote to consumers who buy tickets and merch. On and on and on.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

We recently advised an artist to pull back from their record deal and to take an extended period to just write. This particular artist had, in my opinion, lost their way. The outcome was two hit songs and an artist who knows exactly who they are at this point in their career.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I heard or maybe I dreamed it… all managers are going up to 50% commission. Now that’s exciting!

Jeff Robinson and Jeanine McLean-Williams

Company: MBK Entertainment Inc.
Key Clients: H.E.R., Tiara Thomas, Maeta, Tone Stith, Jourdan

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

ROBINSON: In today’s biz, young managers have to wear many hats … Digital marketing, content creating, A&R etc. This biz is built on relationships and as a result understanding people and behavior is essential, so in addition to marketing courses it doesn’t hurt to take a lil psych courses as well.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

ROBINSON: The decision to release music on H.E.R. with no visuals and letting the music itself draw people in and create the fanbase and excitement. The music caught the attention of celebrities, other artists and fans alike.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

MCLEAN-WILLIAMS: The most exciting thing in management now is there are no limits to how you can build, expand and diversify into the tech, branding and touring space. It’s really exciting.

Ola Ali

Company: OTF
Key Client: Lil Durk

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Booking! Booking! Booking! Even though you’re a music manager, you should always study up on how to be properly involved in the guidance of your artist. Study what the booking agents and agencies know; study how they set things up and how they organize the logistics of doing a show or tour. When I first started with Durk, there was no real interest from big agencies or viable agents to take us on as clients. Even though we tried to make people see what we saw in Durk, there weren’t really any takers at the time. That forced us to adapt and do it on our own, which I’m so grateful for now. Knowledge is key and knowledge provides leverage. And ultimately, it stops individuals or companies from taking advantage of you and your client.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Staying out the way! Four years ago Durk and I was having a conversation about music and he was like, “Look man…I got the music part, you just take care of everything else.” And looking back on it, that was the smartest decision I made. Just to follow his lead on the direction of the music ’cause at that time, he knew where he wanted to take it. He saw it and I believed in him, so I just played my part and obviously he played his part real well too.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

From NFTs to Moonpay to crypto, it’s exciting ’cause it’s something new. And I’m still learning what an NFT is, but anything that’s new in music, managers should at least have some knowledge about.

John Peets

Company: Q Prime South
Key Clients: Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, Brett Eldredge, Marty Stuart, Brandon Ratcliff

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

The ever-changing ways that people discover, share and consume music… don’t assume the way you do it is the way others do.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Give them “permission” to be themselves.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

The arrival of implementation of blockchain technology.

Kevin “Coach K” Lee

Company: Quality Control
Key Clients: Migos, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, City Girls

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Young managers need to pay attention to the details of artist development. Many now rely on social numbers and don’t see the bigger picture of all the goals and steps in so many parts of the client’s development that need work and attention consistently.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I know what I don’t know and that is when I ask for help from experts so that I can expand the team to better help the artist grow. That’s how you level someone up — by delegating to the best in any areas that aren’t your strong suit.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Digital tools to help us see where to focus or put our efforts to best grow or maintain fanbases for the artist. We managers know the culture, vibe and vision but having access to data as well has really broadened our scope.

Chris Thomas

Company: Range Media Partners
Key Clients: Jack Harlow, Houndmouth

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I think all young managers should dive deep into the intellectual property elements related to music. I came from a legal background, pre-Instagram days, and as boring as that may be, I do think it is essential to truly understand why it is the music industry and not just a hobby. Touring income is important, merchandise sales are important, but the art at the center of all of this is the music. Those intellectual property rights are foundational for an artist understanding what they own and what they can do.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

When I first joined C3 Management in 2014, it opened the doors for me to help my first client Houndmouth level up in the radio world, where I was a bit clueless. I learned a ton and the band had their first No. 1 and platinum single release one year later. The second decision is when I decided to become a managing partner at Range. We have a massive film and TV division and Jack Harlow was primed and excited to land some opportunities in that space. Now, he is starring as the lead role in the reboot of White Men Can’t Jump, a massive role and look for him.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Management companies are becoming better than ever at helping artists utilize and maximize the value of their IP and ideas in general. That may be with an artist’s master recordings or their publishing, but this may also be with their idea for a television show, feature film, clothing brand, documentary, spirit or beverage company, you name it. [Range] is built to take any of these ideas or bits of IP and turn them into real income generators for our clients.

Noah Assad

Company: Rimas Entertainment
Key Clients: Bad Bunny, Karol G, Eladio Carrión

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

The art of facilitating. I think that’s the most important word for everything that we do as managers — learn how to be more facilitators instead of just decision makers.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Listening to other people and receiving all their information. Learn from other people’s mistakes. I think the best thing I’ve ever done is listening to other managers, people who have been in the industry for years, how they handle the ups and downs of everything.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

We’re back to where we were in 2015, 2016, 2017, where it’s not about quantity but it’s more about quality. Great music will keep pushing and will keep prevailing.

Sarah Francus

Company: Roc Nation
Key Clients: Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Jess Glynne

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

I’m very fortunate to have Desiree Perez and Jay Brown as mentors in my career and there is always something new to learn from those who do it best. In an industry that is ever evolving, it’s so important to always be a student. It’s equally important to treat everyone with respect, keep your head down, do the work and never forget to be kind.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

There is no “one decision.” The way you gain momentum and success for your client is by creating a strategy specific to them. We are so lucky to work with extraordinarily talented artists and there is no blueprint that applies to all — as managers we have to listen carefully to determine the focus areas. Authenticity is everything.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

The myriad of opportunities at the intersections of music, fashion, art, tech, food, media etc. It’s a wild moment in time where we have the chance to create innovative art and cutting edge experiences across a vast array of avenues.

Dina Sahim

Company: SALXCO
Key Clients: Swedish House Mafia, French Montana, Hope Tala

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Communication, especially when working to bring your clients’ vision to life. It’s imperative that every key member of a team understands the real goals and long term play.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Choosing the right team; the right label, publicist, publisher, creative director, touring team. Each of these people play a vital role in making or breaking an artist’s career.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Artists are finally realizing their power now more than ever and betting on themselves by launching new brands and companies. It’s wonderful to see the execution and creative vision across so many different careers come to life.

Scooter Braun, Allison Kaye and Jen McDaniels

Companies: SB Projects and HYBE America
Key Clients: Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, J Balvin, Idina Menzel, Ashley Graham and Tori Kelly

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Young managers need to know all aspects of the industry: label relationships, publishing, merch, touring etc. The best and most effective managers are those that are well versed in all parts of the business.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

The return of live touring. For two years people haven’t been able to see their favorite artists perform. Being back in venues and hearing and seeing the crowds is incomparable.

Marion Kraft

Company: ShopKeeper Management
Key Clients: Miranda Lambert,  Tenille Townes, Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on? 

Revenue streams. Specifically, touring, merchandising, recordings/streaming, licensing and publishing.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

To start my own company. It enabled me to make decisions about [the] art of music rather than money and that paid off in the long run.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Lots of young women have entered the artist management arena and are having a lot of success.

Brandon Silverstein

Company: S10 Entertainment
Key Clients: Normani, Anitta

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Young managers should learn about the value of ownership as it pertains to industry income streams — whether its overall deals, publishing, records, etc. You need to fully understand how each works and how they affect each other so you can vet each deal holistically.

You can’t let an artist approach negotiating as a zero-sum game, you need to learn when giving up some ownership to bring worthwhile partners to the table is worth it, and when it isn’t.

Kei Henderson

Company: Third & Hayden
Key Clients: Asiahn, Ben Reilly, Kenneth Whalum, Jordan Hawkins

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Honestly reading and understanding record label contracts, distribution agreements, brand deal contracts. Reading and understanding them never truly becomes easier until you’ve done it a million times. There’s definitely a through-line in the language used, but it’s hard as a non-lawyer to always understand what these things are saying. I’m actually in-process of asking my attorneys to do a “summary” page at the end of my agreements with artists.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Keeping Ben Reilly independent for a bit so that we can go out, get our hands dirty and get our leverage up before possibly deciding later to go major. When you do the hard work yourself, you know what you’re looking for from a partner — what gaps they can fill.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

Young managers developing and breaking new talent. Lots of talented young people are flourishing right now. And managers getting equity in the brands they’re helping to build. I wanna work on a managers union one day soon as well… We need healthcare and protection just like our artists. We deserve that.

Ash Bowers

Company: Wide Open Music
Key Clients: Jimmie Allen, Matt Stell, George Birge

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Real artist development. It is crucial that the artist is paired with the correct writers and producers so that the artist creates the kind of music they want to build a career on. I still believe hit songs are the answer to everything in this business.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me. I don’t have all of the answers, but with the amazing team I have around me we can usually figure it out.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I would have to say the amount of data and information that is accessible. My favorite part of this business is artist development and breaking new artists. It’s really exciting to be in this world where DSP’s and social media allow us the opportunity to discover new talent and release music without, first, relying on a major label’s support. It’s created new ways to build music careers, while gaining momentum to best position our artists for a more favorable record deal when those opportunities present themselves. That’s very exciting.

Walter Kolm

Company: WK Entertainment
Key Clients: Maluma, Wisin, Carlos Vives, CNCO, Prince Royce, Emilia

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

You need to understand every part of the business — from touring to contracts — especially because there are more opportunities for new business every day. Before, for example, we were concerned with live performances, sponsors and recorded music. Now we have livestreams and NFTs. Managers have to intimately understand and learn every new line of the music business.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Create our own commercial department. We have agents for some specific deals, but we have our own internal commercial department. As part of that, for example, we opened offices in Spain, which have been strategic to launch all our European touring. We knew Europe was a major market, but we needed to control it on our end, directly, from Europe. That office allows us to launch tours there and that is huge business for us. Maluma for example, will have played over 50 European arenas in 2022.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

For Latin managers specifically, every day new markets open up for our music. Our goal now is to conquer Asia. That’s why we’re expanding our European office.

Amir “Cash” Esmailian

Companies: YCFU Management, XO MGMT, XO
Key Client: The Weeknd

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Young managers should know more about what’s going on in the studio and spend more time in [there] with their artists so they understand the vision to the fullest and it makes it easier to present that vision when they are speaking on the artist’s behalf to other partners during the campaign.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

Smartest decision I made was focusing on the touring business and not just taking one-off shows or parties at a club for the money, but instead building their touring business from the ground up to get to a much fuller vision.

Joojong “JJ” Joe

Company: YG Entertainment USA
Key Client: BLACKPINK

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

Brand management: you should understand how your artist’s brand can stay relevant for a long time and stay fresh with the new trend and generation.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

I’ve made a strong alliance/partnership with the major players in the U.S. music industry, so we have full support when our artists are out of their home territory.

What’s the most exciting thing or development happening in management right now?

I think managing/producing virtual human celebrities is one of the most exciting things in management.

Josh Kaplan and Lydia Asrat

Company: 10Q MGMT
Key Clients: Doja Cat, Tyga, The Cool Kids, Camper, August 08, Blaq Tuxedo, Kendra Jae, Ilham

What part of the industry should young managers know more about/study up on?

ASRAT: Simply understanding where your revenue comes from. There are so many ways to earn as an artist but it’s key to know where, how and when that money is generated from the jump.

What’s the smartest decision you made as a manager that helped one of your artists level up?

KAPLAN: Listening. Seriously listening to the artist and trusting that they far better understand how they want to deliver their art than we do. We just need to execute on what we hear them say.

Additional reporting by Leila Cobo.