What is Artist Development?
Artist Development is a broad term that encompasses many roles that used to be covered by managers and A&R departments at record labels. You could also use the word mentor, consultant, or industry expert. These people would help with whatever was required to maximize the success of their financial investment. This could be improving an artist’s songs, defining image and brand, working on the show, planning and executing marketing strategies, booking gigs, building teams, securing publicity, planning tours, managing publishing, searching out licensing opportunities, and an endless list of other support activities.
Most record labels no longer invest in developing artists from raw material to marketable artist. Artists are now expected to “develop” themselves. The good news, however, is that there are now more resources to help artists do just that.
Artist Development Today
Some artist development resources are pricey online programs, “industry showcase” packages, or one-size-fits-all courses. Others focus specifically on one aspect like music sales, list building, branding, or performance. We decided to start offering artist development services because there is still a distinct lack of one-on-one, customized help.
Who’s it For?
We believe the activities of artist development are in many ways equivalent to personal development. Whatever the end result, the work you do along the way translates into whatever you may do next. For this reason, we believe artist development is valuable for any singer looking to become the artist they dream of. That’s true whether the next level is becoming a more compelling performer, releasing a first album or developing a large enough fanbase to sign a favorable record deal.
To support artists at all levels, we offer affordable, one-on-one, hour-by-hour help covering just about everything under the Artist Development umbrella. We won’t promise to make you rich and famous. That’s up to you, and a whole slew of other factors outside our (and your) control. And no, we don’t promise to be as expert about music contracts as an entertainment lawyer. But we have deep enough knowledge and enough experience in the old and new music industries. We can help you pick the right path through a very confusing, overwhelming maze of possibilities and advice.
How Much Does it Cost?
We offer artist development services by the hour, by the month, and in a package with other services. Standalone AD rates are here; the Artist Development package is here. If you’re looking for artist management, contact us to discuss.
The biggest thing we can and do promise is to be on your side. We believe that the best way for us to serve you – and stay in business – is to help you strategize how to use your time, money, and energy. When the best path is working with another expert, we’ll give you referrals.
About Your Coach
Justin Leighton Long is a lifetime musician who was promoting and selling out large (300+) shows by the time he entered high school. He got his band, No Address, signed to Atlantic Records, which resulted in a million-dollar recording contract (with the producer of Eagle Eye Cherry, Three Doors Down, Creed, and Jewel) and an 18-month national tour with bands like Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin before the old music industry tanked in the mid-2000’s. He has worked in and owned recording studios in Florida and California; performed, recorded, and produced a wide range of genres; and coached and mentored scores of artists in Florida and at Performance High.
How Do You Develop an Artist?
We help artists tackle two main questions:
1. WHO do you want to become?
2. HOW will you become that artist?
The questions are simple, but the answers are not. Do you actually know what genre you are in? What your ideal show looks like? Whether you really want to tour? Whether your songwriting is up to par? How about your show? Your recordings? Do you know how to book gigs, license songs, get them on the radio? Are you a member of a PRO? Do you know how to get people to your shows? Do you know how people make money in the New Music Industry? Do you know who to trust?
And the hardest question of all: Where should you start?
A Customized Process
Artist development is by nature a customized activity. As every client’s goals and personalities are different, so will be their paths. For some people, artist development is assistance with production or songwriting to help them find their sound. For others, it’s figuring out how to get a music career off the ground on top of a full-time non-music career. For others, it involves developing identity and brand across all channels, putting together and workshopping a killer live set, and working on strategies for an album release and fanbase building.
Regardless, we’ll keep you focused on what’s important, develop strategy and tactics, help you set goals, keep you encouraged, give you feedback, and help you find resources each step of the way.
How Much Work Will it Take?
The pace is up to you. We’ll move faster if you’re rocking, and slower if you’re on marathon pace. But whatever your level of commitment, we can save you months and years by helping you ask the right questions and find the right answers. Plus, there’s nothing to speed up your progress like having someone to be accountable to!
We’ll be honest: we’re not going to do the hard work for you. But we will help you make sense of the mountain ahead of you and stay by your side as you climb it.
Artist Development Topics
Our work is not the same with any two people. Topics – and the order in which we address them – vary depending on artist needs. But we may get into things like:
• Goal setting and priorities
• Identity – genre, personality, elevator pitch, “like” artists
• Branding – values, marketplace competition, visual branding, wardrobe, photography
• Songwriting, recording, production, mixing, and mastering
• Booking and promoting shows
• Vocal and guitar skills
• Show development and stage performance skills
• Networking and conferences
• Social media and websites
• Business structures and band partnership agreements
• Fanbase building
• Avoiding scams
• Musician streams of income – streaming, sales, licensing, crowdfunding, sponsorship
• Copyright, licensing, publishing, music libraries
• Marketing and PR – press, podcasts, interview skills, press releases
Am I ready for Artist Development?
Although we’re happy to talk to anyone to give you some practical starting advice, the clients we best serve are those who are already writing their own songs, have already performed on stage, and have already had some studio recording experience. Most also play an instrument. That said, “artist development” encompasses such a huge variety of skills and knowledge that you may be ready to start working on earlier skills such as stage performance, before you’ve written your first song. Feel free to contact us to discuss.