Working artists represent one of the largest factions of wage earners in the nation, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. These talented sorts are considered pulses of strength that nourish America’s cultural clout and economic sprouting.
In Los Angeles, many ambitious performers are independent, hustling to survive within teeming margins of a rivaling entertainment industry. Superintending their business affairs is cardinal.
“The days of waiting to get signed are over for the great majority of music entertainers,” said Gary Stockdale, an L.A.-based singer-songwriter and music producer. “You are your own manager, agent and promo person.”
The award-winning composer said the advent of online platforms has helped make business management less burdensome for sovereign performers.
“You can often bypass the deal-makers and be in direct contact with your audience on the Internet and social media,” said Stockdale, an alumnus of Los Angeles City College’s music department and Theatre Academy.
Why must performers know business management?
“Typically, entertainers think that just being good at their art is all they need. This type of person can be easily taken advantage of. Stories abound of actors, writers and composers having their fortunes stolen from them by unscrupulous managers, agents and business executives.”
In managing your business affairs, what does the role entail?
“The job encompasses sharing my music with my audience, through the internet and social media. I also maintain good relationships with people who present talent.”
What business-related pitfalls must an entertainer avoid?
“Unrealistic goals and ego are our biggest enemies. When you’re independent, you have to be able to shift your focus as circumstances change. You must also keep yourself in tip-top performance shape.”
What is your advice for self-reliant artists?
“I urge artists to suck up all the info that you can about how to get your music to the people who want to hear it. Learn how to book a tour, how things like Kickstarter and internet radio work and how licensing your music for TV and film is done. Agility, determination, commitment and single-mindedness are key, along with an ability to roll with the punches.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.