Green Flags You’ve Got a Great Manager
Green Flags You’ve Got a Great Manager

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By Lisa Marie

November 12, 2023

The Engine Behind The Musician: The Artist Manager

Discover the pivotal role of an Artist Manager in a musician's journey and the top signs you've got a gem on your team.


The Multifaceted Role of an Artist Manager

In the dynamic landscape of the music industry, the role of a great manager is comparable to that of a guardian angel, guiding and elevating the trajectory of a music artist's career. A stellar manager is not merely a behind-the-scenes orchestrator; they are the architect of success, seamlessly navigating the intricate pathways of the industry to cultivate opportunities, forge strategic partnerships, and foster an environment where creativity thrives. Beyond the logistics, a great manager serves as an advocate, understanding the artist's vision intimately and ensuring it resonates with the world. Their ability to blend business acumen with genuine passion defines their role as a vital catalyst in transforming artistic dreams into tangible realities, making them an indispensable force in an artist's journey to stardom.

Just like leaders, management styles vary from manager to manager but the great ones all share common characteristics. Care, passion and a sense of responsibility & determination to help their clients achieve their dreams and fulfill their potential. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some of the greatest managers in the history of music - Chris Lighty and Sarah Stennett. Two very different management styles but both extremely effective. 

Let’s explore the styles of each of these two. 



Chris Lighty (VIOLATOR)

Chris Lighty, founder of the legendary 90’s- 2000’s management company VIOLATOR, was known for managing iconic artists like LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and 50 Cent. He was recognized for his strategic and business-oriented approach. His management style was characterized by a strong, street-smart focus on branding, partnerships, and securing lucrative deals for his clients. Lighty played a pivotal role in expanding artists' careers beyond music, exploring opportunities in endorsements, sponsorships, and other ventures. His emphasis on financial acumen and business diversification set him apart, and he was regarded as a shrewd negotiator with a keen eye for identifying opportunities that extended well beyond traditional music avenues.


Sarah Pic V2

Sarah Stennett (FAE GRP)

Sarah Stennett, founder of FAE GRP is known for her hands-on and holistic approach to artist management. Stennett places a significant emphasis on artist development, working closely with her clients to shape their artistic identity, image, and overall career trajectory. Known for discovering and developing a number of successful artist careers such as Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Iggy Azalea, Zayn Malik, Lil Peep and Madison Beer to name a few.  Her management style involves building a comprehensive strategy that not only includes music releases and performances but also encompasses brand partnerships, endorsements, and strategic collaborations. Stennett's approach is characterized by a deep understanding of the artist's vision, fostering a collaborative relationship that extends into various facets of their career.

Chris Lighty's style leaned toward a strong cultural understanding, business expansion and strategic partnerships, Sarah Stennett's approach is equally as encompassing, involving a close collaboration with artists to shape their overall artistic and commercial identity. Both managers share the common goal of maximizing their clients' potential and creating long-lasting, impactful careers in the music industry. Ultimately the artist’s personality and needs will determine the management style that suits them best.  


Here at 10 roles a manager must do well: 

  1. Artistic Development: Cultivating and honing the artist's unique style, ensuring continuous growth and evolution
  2. Performance Preparation: Getting ready for live shows, including rehearsals, stage presence, and connecting with the audience.
  3. Media Presence: Managing the artist's image across various media platforms, from interviews to social media, to build a strong and consistent brand.
  4. Networking: Building and maintaining relationships with industry professionals, collaborators, and fellow artists to foster career opportunities.
  5. Strategic Planning: Developing short-term and long-term plans to achieve career goals, considering releases, tours, and overall trajectory.
  6. Contract Negotiation: Handling negotiations for deals, contracts, and partnerships to secure favorable terms for the artist.
  7. Financial Management: Overseeing the artist's finances, budgeting for projects, and ensuring financial stability.
  8. Brand Building: Establishing and enhancing the artist's brand identity to create a distinctive and memorable image.
  9. Fan Engagement: Connecting with fans through various channels, maintaining a strong online presence, and fostering a loyal fan base.
  10. Health and Well-being: Prioritizing the artist's physical and mental well-being, ensuring they are equipped to handle the demands of their career while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


How can you tell a manager is doing a great job? Well, a  proficient manager's effectiveness can be gauged through various indicators that contribute to an artist's success and overall well-being. One key factor is the manager's ability to secure opportunities, such as performances, collaborations, and media features, demonstrating their commitment to advancing the artist's career. Successful negotiations for contracts and partnerships, maximizing financial and strategic benefits, highlight the manager's skill in navigating the business side of the industry. An active and positive presence within the music industry, coupled with a strong network, showcases the manager's dedication to keeping the artist's career at the forefront of industry trends. Effective communication, including regular updates and clear expectations, contributes to a healthy artist-manager relationship. 

Additionally, a manager who fosters the artist's artistic growth, supports well-being, and proactively problem-solves challenges is likely contributing to a successful and thriving career. External validations, such as positive feedback from industry peers and collaborators, further reinforce the manager's effectiveness and positive reputation within the music community. 

Ultimately, a great manager not only advances an artist's career but also cultivates a trusting and respectful relationship that fosters mutual growth and success. 

Behind every successful musician is a dedicated Artist Manager. Recognizing their worth and spotting the right one is vital to finding success in the music industry.

If you are looking for management, take a look at our Artist Development Packages. 


Elevate your music career with our artist services: 

  1. Dive into Artist Coaching with video consultations, enriched with A&R feedback, brand advice, and a detailed pre-call questionnaire to tailor the session to your journey. 

  2. Opt for our Account Set-Up & A&R Admin Support for hands-on help optimizing 10 key platforms, ensuring you're on top of royalties and more, inclusive of a 90-minute workshop with additional resources.

  3. Explore flexible, custom-priced Artist Management Consultations for tailored guidance on music rollouts, bookings, media relations, and more without long-term commitments or shared revenue percentages.