By Godwin Tom
Happy New Year everyone! Gone back on your new years’ resolutions yet?
Anyway, one thing I remember about last year was that I attended A LOT of parties. But the ones I enjoyed the most were the “BYOB” parties! For those who don’t know, BYOB is an acronym for “Bring Your Own Booze/Bottle/Beer”. The idea is simple, a bunch of friends decide to have a party and they have a location but since its not one person’s party per say, all members of the said circle of friends are required to bring their own alcohol or drinks to the party location. That way everyone has something to drink and there is hopefully no shortage of drinks.
I do find one thing intriguing though… there are always a few people who don’t bring drinks to these parties but they still get drinks. Most times, they are the ones drinking more. Ever been to a “BYOB” party where you felt cheated? I have! At one particular party, some guy didn’t bring a drink but kept pouring in his cup and one of the hosts wasn’t finding it funny. So he walked up to the guy and asked him politely to stop drinking all the alcohol, as other people have to drink as well. As in, the other people who actually brought drinks! The alcoholic gets upset and causes a scene… to cut the long story short; he got kicked out of the party, with his girlfriend!
I am sure you are wondering how this applies or relates to talent management or the music business. Basically, a “BYOB”party would be pointless if no one brought drinks… A talent manager would be of no value if he brings no substance or value to the table!
Let me explain!
Remember that saying, “There are two kinds of people… the ones who make things happen and those who watch things happen”? Well, there are also those who talk about what they are about to do and the Nigerian Music industry has a lot of them. Learning the words and lingo of a business is not the same as practicing it. Same way watching the movie “Wanted” gives you no reason to believe you can bend bullets… unless you are like 5 or something!
In the real world – and I say this every time – value beats everything! That’s the only thing! Perception would work for a little time but if value doesn’t match, a scam is revealed! Its like too many people coming to a BYOB party and only one person in a crew of 10 brings Booze… Pointless! It’s a matter of time before the drink is over and done with. That’s exactly how is it when a team or a talent manager is running on guesswork and cluelessness. A fluke may happen from time to time but it’s just a matter of time before people realize you have nothing to offer and throw you out.
The music business is becoming more competitive… New artistes are coming up everyday, COSON and BON/IBAN’s recent issues made it clear artistes and even their managers and labels need more education about how this system works. Companies are spending less on partying and shows and focusing more on cost effective marketing activities. To make things worse, the cost of living is rising steadily and this only means one thing… We are all going to need to do more than just book shows!
The music audience want value, Record labels and investors want value, radio stations want value, corporate organizations want value. They want something more than an artiste singing on stage or recording good music. The principles of demand and supply will continue to apply but demand is gradually being determined by what value the artiste is bringing to the table, especially when money is changing hands.
“Yes, you can sing… Great! But how does that help me sell bottles of my alcoholic beverage?”
As managers focused on building a lasting career for our artistes, we need to begin to wear the shoes of these corporate brands and ask ourselves questions. The unavoidable fact, contrary to what a lot of managers think, is that you cannot build a career off farts and hope. You need capital to start anything. Whether you get that capital by gradually putting it together from shows, friends and family etc or you get an investor… or maybe you have the opportunity to benefit from a company’s marketing budget, you need to bring something to the party. No one owes you anything!
This applies in all spheres of human endeavours. The more competitive the environment, the more thinking and action are needed to move ahead of the pack.
Why should these companies pick your artistes over the others?
How can you help them market and sell their brands?
What tools do you have that can help them achieve their bottom line and ultimately help you achieve yours?
What will they gain by giving you their money?
What is your plan for the year and how does this benefit their business?
These questions sound one sided but if you are planning to take from me, you better be telling me how it benefits me. Right? Right!
The source of sustainable value creation is to satisfy customers. As an artiste, there are several customers you have to satisfy but they are all tied to the final consumer also know as the audience. If people appreciate you and your music and your fan base increases, and you manage to grow steadily, there is a high chance that can help sell products. But how do you get here? I wish I could tell you everything but, I wont!
What I can tell you to do though is to find your market. Do some research and understand the music your artiste is making and find the market for that sound… then market and sell to them. When benefits are greater than the costs, value is created. Create value for yourself as well. Market to 10 people who want to hear your music than 100 who will never listen to what you are offering. Let the 10 help you market to like-minded friends and in no time you will have more than 100 listeners. Only your core market will help you market your product. In other words, when you sell to people who want your product and they like the value you provide, they will help you spread it!
Always have insightful and clear knowledge of the alternatives that exists. Competition is good. It has a way of pushing you. Focus on being pushed to find your own way and develop what works for you. Stop copying other artistes or talent managers. Think! What have you promised to deliver to your consumers? Then find a way to keep that promise!
One of the major problems I have noticed is the misleading conclusion that the music business is different from doing regular business. Business is Business, the environments may be different but the principles are the same, exchange of goods and/or services to consumers. Don’t try to twist it… It’s the same thing. Your artiste can be more than a performer. He/she can also be a marketing tool.
In one of my previous articles, I explained that the job of the talent manager has evolved into business development and because there are lots of activities carried out under the “business development” name, I explained how managers here in Nigeria and Africa could engage our jobs using the term “Business Development… You should read it HERE!
One of the annoying things about being a talent manager is that most times no one cares how you get the job done or how you plan to manage the situation… You are simply expected to manage the situation and get the job done! When you figure this out, the job gets very exciting. Personally, I enjoy what I do. It’s not always rosy! Actually, I am under pressure 24/7 to deliver and I try! From creating exit plans for Wizkid to leave Unilag after a show to re-branding and positioning Waje, I am consistently under pressure to perform and if it all goes wrong, it would only mean one thing… I didn’t bring my own booze to the party!
It’s a new year and I’m not a fan of resolutions to be honest. Focus on planning and strategy. Moving your business and personal financial status forward is always a good resolution to start the year with. Focus on bringing something to the table.
I wish you all a productive year and in all you do this year, BYOB!
About Godwin Tom:
Godwin Tom is the founder of The Godwin Tom Talent Management Services, a Company focusing on Talent Management Consultancy, Road Management and Booking. He is a young, determined and creative individual and he believes that Orientation is the bedrock for change in any society. “Change the people’s orientation and the people will change the society”. He has worked with artistes such as M.I, Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince and has been responsible for developing the careers of artistes like Davido, AiRis, Show Dem Camp, Floss, Rooftop MCs and IKON. Godwin Tom currently manages Waje and Wizkid.
Read more of Godwin Tom’s music business and talent management articles HERE.