A post i wrote while on the plane to MIDEM 2016 🙂
I work in an industry, where people seem to be attempting to kill each other each day. Very often you hear stories of talent managers taking from talents more than they should, or talents taking on jobs behind their management’s back. Though they are supposed to be a family, they often backstab each other. It’s tiring to think about these stuffs sometimes, hence I try my best to stay away from all these nonsense.
I sit on my plane today, on my way to Cannes for MIDEM 2016, where I venture into a whole new dimension of representing my talents. Something I never thought I would get the opportunity to do right until about 3 weeks ago where I was asked if I was keen to join the entourage of Malaysian Labels and Artiste Managers to expose our products and services to an International Music Audience. Yes, the trip is partially paid for by MATRADE through their MDG grant and I applaud such initiatives as if it wasn’t for you guys, I would not be on this plane today.
Anyway, as usual, when I have too much time to myself, I’d always like to reflect back on things that I have learnt in my journey and give a word or two of advice to my fellow readers.
RESPECT, a word that is slightly rarely used in the Malaysian Entertainment Industry anymore. It’s sad, but true. EXPLOITATION seems to be the more appropriate way to put things this way. Now, I’d like to breakdown my thoughts for your reading pleasure on what each person means to the other.
Talent Managers: Widely mistaken in our industry as people who manage your schedules and follow up with enquiries. This is just the basic job of a manager. You see, the real job function of a talent manager is really much more than what it seems. A manager is or should be someone that identifies the talent of their clients, develop those talents, exploit the talents in various potential monetizing platforms and ensure that the talents brand prolongs in the industry that they are in.
Here is a rough estimate of how much a talent manager has to invest in the development of a singer per annum in Malaysia:
- Production of Song (RM 6-10,000.00)
- Production of Lyric & Music Video (RM 8-15,000.00)
- Exposure on Social Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram (RM 15,000.00)
- Marketing of talent (RM 10,000.00)
As you can see, a serious manager or management spends an average of RM 50,000.00 per annum on an artist. Of course there are ways to decrease this cost when dealt in volume, but still, the effort put in is no-less painful.
So talents, do the math, if your management takes a cut of let’s say 20-30% of your income per year. How close are they to breaking even with their investment? However of course, the argument is whether or not your management is actually doing the above.
On the talent side, management has to also understand that talents need to eat. And this in a lot of ways, means giving the talents the leniency of doing some jobs that helps them pay the bills. Even though it means that we’re not getting a cut out of it. It just has to be under control. That’s all. After all, we’re all out there trying to make things work for each other.
Then comes the talent agents. The most successful people of the industry. The people who has got connections to give jobs, but also the people who refuses to work with the talent managers. Had this conversation once with a prominent figure of the industry and he labelled these people the 10% man. The guy who comes to talents and say, hey I got this job.. I can pay you this much.. But if you let your management take the job, you will get very little. Now in malay, we call this kind of people ‘kurang ajar’. But hey, these are the most popular breed of people.
So, after all that is said and done, I hope talents understand better what their management is doing for them and how the management too needs to break even with their investments. And for managers out there, there is nothing more important that to making sure your talents are comfortable and making more money with you then they were doing by themselves. And for 10% man, you can go and fuck yourself. Karma is a bitch.
Mind my language. But hey, if talents & managers work together and understand each other’s needs and goals, That’s when magic is made.
I end my writing today with a video about goals and achieving them. I hope it helps some of you improve your work & career.
I’d like to also take this opportunity to apologize to talents who have left our management in the past couple of years. It is definitely the saddest thing to see talents leave. It shows that we are not perfect and are sometimes incompetent too. We are by the way just humans. However, we will improve ourselves, and we always welcome our talents back with open arms. I wish you guys nothing but the best in your future undertakings. Don’t be a stranger. I’ll always be your MB 🙂
Till I write again.