We have all had the boss that no one really likes, that comes into your room and scream at you. Whatever you do it's not good enough. Yes, we all have had that boss.
Revealing, many artists are that boss. If you are an artist you are the boss, sure it doesn't feel that way when you sit in the record label room or in other situations. Still, it's your music that is being promoted and the people that work on the promotion team are in fact, your employees.
Sure, you can look at it like you are a customer. Same here, we all have worked in a job when they had customers that are just ugly, ignorant and you just want to tell them to shut up, but since this is a business you can't just do that. We all had that job!
And yes, many artists are that boss or that customer. In my daily life as a manager, my job is to get the artist away from the decision makers to keep them from looking like the bad person. Most of the time, because they are acting just like the person we all hate. The risk is that they accidentally do that to someone really important.
Recently I got a call from one of the PR firms. The picture the artist gave us wasn't good enough. Like I didn't know that! I told the artist from the beginning. the photographer is a friend of the band and is artsy fartsy. The picture doesn't really look that appealing. No, this is the standard indie crap picture you find with most bands. This PR agent is working in the higher field, so they need the best. I know if this got to the artist, they would have been angry, they think the picture is the best since sliced bread just because their best friend took it. What they don't get is that in the level that PR agent works this shot is not good enough. The press won't accept bad indie pictures and that will get the PR agent in a bad situation and there will be no good results. Yes, I have to work this situation out. Get the right stuff to the PR agent and in the way not letting my artist look like spoiled brats that think they know everything, but they don’t.
It's like the classic moment when your boss comes in the room with this idea that the boss thinks is brilliant. You know that the customers will hate this new idea or product. Mainly because you are working out there and know the requests from them. Still, the boss needs to have it their way and you will end up by getting screamed at from the boss and the customers. All you want to do is just take the customers in the room to the boss and they can scream at each other. At the same time, that is how the business goes down and you don't have any work if you don’t learn fast how to maneuver these times.
Then, of course, you can just make the decision to not work with jerks. Well, that is not a decision. The boss doesn't know they are idiots and if you tell them they might listen but, in many cases, not and do you have the "get lots" capital, the money you need to tell people to sod off? Not always.
In all ways, you always hear if the artists are a good boss or not. The artist that is nice working with is preferred before the nasty ones. Even if the good ones are not quite as hip or cool or selling, in the end, you want to work with the nice ones. So are you a good boss or a bad one?
Editor's Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl.