Loyal AOAM reader Jeremy asked me to address a topic I haven’t yet: managing the relationship with the label.

At the core, it’s a manager’s responsibility to look out for and grow the career of an artist. And it’s the label’s responsibility to create and market the artist’s records.

These two missions can be harmonious, but at times in most manager/label relationships, wind up at odds with each other.

Managers always want the most push behind their artist. Record labels need to push their priorities – the records most likely to break either because of their hit quality or the size of the artist behind them.

I believe what is great for an artist’s career will almost always be great for their records as well, especially in this digital era driven by engaged followers.

Not every record label sees it this way.

I had an experience a few years ago where a highly powerful executive refused to approve a small video content budget for an artist to support their extreme touring activity, despite the fact the artist’s 360 payments were significantly more than the amount being requested. In his own words, “The touring is your thing. We are a record label. We work the records.” 

This individual’s statement implies a firm distinction in the roles a manager and record label play for an artist’s career.