I recently spoke with music industry professional and recent graduate Sarah Young, a current business coordinator for the company InGrooves, based in London. InGrooves is a business distribution company offering marketing and technology as part of their services with the aim of helping independent artists, labels and content owners to deliver music.
From the interview I conducted, I was able to identify key management principles that Young puts into practice through her role at InGrooves as well as past positions in more local roles such as working as an artist liaison manager at 2000 trees and marketing and events coordinator at Gloucestershire College.
A management principle mentioned that stuck out to me was the idea of building relationships. As the music industry is a very network based industry as Young referred to by stating she often meets clients ‘at networking events,’ it’s important to know how to build strong and appropriate relationships not only with clients but those working around you. She states:
‘What I do is try and maintain a relationship over email and the phone and meet in person and keep it friendly and light and make sure I’m promoting the business and what we do in a very positive way and in a way that’s relevant for them.’
This is a good principle to follow as the stronger relationships you build, the more avenues and opportunities are opened for you and your company. For example, if you as a manager begin working with a client who is aiming to get some festival gigs and you have a contact within a festival that can assist, this opens an avenue for your artist and can build a better reputation for you. Thus, building relationships and networking also enables you to begin developing a reputation within the industry and a good reputation at that. This is particularly important for Sarah Young having only recently graduated from the Music and Media Management degree at the University of Gloucestershire. To have your name known by people in the industry with their own web of contacts puts your foot in the door to new opportunities and gives you a higher chance of entering the industry and climbing further than just an entry level.
Another principle mentioned by Young is having overall knowledge of your role. For example, Young mentions this in reference to dealing with difficult clients stating
‘I need to be able to think strategically and have an overall knowledge of the festival which means I can resolve those situations easily and effectively.’
The impact of this is it promotes your professionalism as you can demonstrate knowledge and use that to enhance how you perform your role. In the scenario described by Young, she used her knowledge to resolve a confrontational situation, thus by having that knowledge she could display her professionalism and diffuse the situation by knowing the correct resolution. It may also be said that knowledge is power and this can assist someone like Sarah Young in building her career. If employers or simply industry professionals recognize that she has vast knowledge of the industry and see potential for her to benefit them, she may be offered opportunities to advance within companies. Similarly, in relation to knowledge is power, having such knowledge helps you to be taken more seriously both as a young professional and when leading teams. If the people you are working with both as colleagues and clients can see that you understand what you are doing, they are more likely to put their trust you making you more respected and linking back to building better relationships.
A final management principle which is significant but more on a personable level than professional is simply caring for those around you. In the interview, Young discusses this in relation to an experience she has had with one of her own managers and how she implements this in her own work. When describing her manager at Gloucestershire College she states,
‘She was really good at driving you forward into an area that you might not necessarily have thought would work for you but then it did. She would call you up on things but only to make you better at your job and in your career overall.’
From this we can infer that her manager cared for her and believed that in her success thus would drive her forward and wanted to help her get better. Linking this to the music industry which is a competitive based industry which requires long hours and a lot of hard work, having a manager that is behind you and striving for you would help anyone, in particular someone like Young just beginning her career in the industry grow in confidence. Similarly, such actions will drive the quality of work forward as well as if your team is confident in their work and trusts you as their leader they will be more willing to put in the extra work and long hours and will deliver better results. In the interview, Young links this to her own management principles by stating
‘I’d try and make sure they’re having a really good experience and learning a lot and that they are getting a lot out of the experience that they can take away and use in their next step.’
This can link back to the previous point of building relationships as caring and helping those around you is inevitably going to build strong relationships that can be called upon in the future. By helping the people you work with to learn and gain experience from working with you, this could help propel them in their own career and into avenues that you may need to contact in the future. Thus, by simply caring and as a manager ensuring peoples wellbeing you are not only being ethical but you are driving your own career and the local as well as national industry forward.
In conclusion, as a recent graduate and a professional entering the music industry and just beginning her career, Young calls upon more modern principles when managing her teams. By caring and ensuring the wellbeing of those around her she is making the music business a more pleasurable industry to work in, and by building a network of relationships while gaining knowledge and skills she is making it less exclusive and making it a more professional business as it moves forward.