Artist managers have always been at the epicentre of the business of artists. As the administrator, communicator and negotiator of all the facets that make up an artist business, you have a vast workload and numerous relationships to manage. Today, the role of the artist manager covers much more than that due to the decrease in artist investment available as well as the growing complexities of the digital business. As the only people with a 360-degree, 365-day view of what’s going on in the artist’s life, you are at the forefront of any issues arising, including those around the health and wellbeing of the artist.
The MMF wrote in an article last year; “A good modern music manager protects their client’s emotional, mental and physical state just as passionately as their business interests. It’s a role that can make all the difference for artists who may be struggling with the demands of stardom, along with any other mental health challenges they harbour.” [The Guardian, 2016].
But in an area that is little understood, this comes with some big questions, uncertainties and, most importantly of all, the balance in protecting your own wellbeing and mental health too. We all have mental health just as we all have physical health – it moves up and down a scale from good to poor for any number of reasons. Experiencing poor mental health is not an issue specific to the music industry. One in four adults in the UK will deal with a mental illness at some point in their lives. However, for the majority of music managers, there is no compassionate leave, no sabbatical, no HR support and oftentimes, very little peer support. Becoming unwell can be a very scary, isolating experience but the most important two things to remember are; it is not a weakness and you are not alone.
Packed with information, first-hand accounts from leading managers and links to further reading, the guide covers three specific areas:
How to Manage Mental Health: The Music Industry’s New Priority by Fiona McGugan. Via The Guardian.
How to Approach Mental Health as a Band or Artist Manager by Ellie Giles, as told to Ryan Bassil. Via Noisey.
Why 2016 was a Breakthrough Year for Mental Health in Music by Rachel Michaella Finn. Via Dazed.