A Talent Manager is an individual or company who guides the professional career of artists in the entertainment industry. They are also referred to as artist managers. In the case of music or bands, they are often referred to as music manager or band manager respectively. The main role of the Talent Manager is to oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist.
He/ she is tasked with advising the talent on professional matters and decisions pertaining to his career. The roles and responsibilities of a manager vary slightly depending on the industry. For example, a music manager’s duty is different from a manager who works for actors or directors.
In Kenya, the most common artist management business is music managers. Musicians hire managers to book and promote gigs, manage social media accounts and media coverage of the artist. The compensation often depends on the terms of the contract between the manager and his client. The rate of pay is normally based on commissions of performance and commercial incomes.
As a musician or actor, why should you hire an artist manager?
You could be the most talented person in the room but you will eventually figure out that you need an artist manager to complete the equation. You need someone who knows the music business and will lift you to greater heights. Here is why you need an artist manager.
Learning The Business
Being talented is one thing but knowing how to navigate through the entertainment business is another thing altogether. You’re going to need a consultant to help you through understanding publishing agreements or contracts, marketing your work, media interviews, and bookings for events. An artist management business ensures you get value out of your talent and skills.
To cope in the entertainment industry, you need to know the right people. Record executives usually work with people they trust hence its less unlikely for them to award a stranger a lucrative recording contract. Artist managers have learned the know-how of getting gigs, winning corporate endorsements, getting your music played on mainstream media and keeping you relevant.
Most artists are not business people. To concentrate on your craft, you need someone to manage your business. The artist manager plans your schedule including studio sessions, performances, and media appearances. Behind every successful artist, there is a group of people who ensure you exploit your talent and maximize your profits.
A talent manager will support you and offer encouragement during difficult times.
In the entertainment business, you use your talent and skills to earn money. To lead a comfortable life, you have to ensure the craft earns you money. Artiste management companies help you maximize revenue streams and identify new income streams. This comes with the exposure that the company or individual gives you.
Artists living in poverty after years of living the rock star lifestyle is a common narrative. A talent manager will manage expenses for you and ensure you are not spending more than you’re making. Managing expenses is a crucial aspect running any successful businesses.
Majority of artist management businesses in Kenya are owned by established musicians.
It was started by a Kenyan rapper and songwriter, King Kaka of the famous hits such as Adisia and Niko Kwa Jamhas. He has signed East African acts such as Avril and Rich Mavoko to his stable. The company also deals with music production.
Ulopa Ngoma Records
The CEO of this company, Ulopa or Bwana Ngoma has worked with top African artists such as Nigeria's P-Square, Nameless, Prezzo, Nyashinski, Khaligraph Jones and many more. He felt the need to start this company because they were limited production houses. The artist management stable also doubles up as a production company.
One of Kenya’s leading recording labels is owned by musician, Rapdamu. The company has signed artists such as Timmy T Dat, Collo, and many upcoming artists. It also produces music and Rapdamu says they plan to open branches in Tanzania and South Africa.
This studio and artist management company is owned by popular dancehall artist, Wyre.This has been marketed as one of the affordable studios in the country. From these examples, there is a trend of production houses doubling up as artist management businesses and Wyre has not been left behind.
Pro Habo Records
The company was founded by musician, Nonini. He was inspired to create this label for business reasons and assisting local talent. With 11 years in the music industry, Nonini has mastered the craft and this experience came in handy when he nurtured music group, P-Unit.
EMB(Eastlands Most Beloved) Records
This record label and talent management company was founded by gospel singer, Bahati. He draws the inspiration of starting the business from his humble background thus is a way of giving back to the society.
Individuals that have made their mark as talent managers in Kenya and across East Africa include:
o Marek Fuchs who is the manager of Kenyan top boy band, Sauti Sol.
o Sallam SK who is the current manager of Diamond Platnumz and other artists under the Wasafi Records stable,
o Abu Tale who is Diamond’s former manager,
o Tim Adeka who manages successful female rapper Stella Mwangi (STL)