The other day I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryan W., a coworker of mine who is also a professional in the entertainment industry. He is in the business of Marketing/PR and holds the title of Owner Operator and Artist Manager. Though I am more interested in live events, I figured I should interview him about what he does to get a better understanding of the inner workings of the industry. I also know that our focuses within the industry intertwine. Bryan goes to small live entertainment venues in Orlando to find the artists that he represents. If he likes someone, he approaches him or her and that is when the collaboration process begins. Negotiations and deal making is something that happens a lot in entertainment business regardless of what field you focus in.
When I met with Bryan I asked him how long he has been in this industry, which he told me was six years. He added that he has been in sales for 20 years and that the experience from sales greatly helps him now. Bryan regularly negotiates about dollars, percentages, albums, royalties, etc. with music artists. I asked him how he separates the person from the problem when he goes into a negotiation and he told me by rapport building. He explained how this is important in maintaining a positive negotiation and understanding each other’s needs. Bryan went on to mention that before an actual meeting, a phone call is made to build this rapport and from there he extensively researches the person he will be negotiating with. I then asked how long does his negotiations usually last and Bryan told me that he’s had it go from an hour to a week. Those that take long are people that are being hardheaded and in those situations he brings in a mediator. These responses provided a good insight on the general run-through of a negotiation but I wanted the good, bad, and UGLY.
Unfortunately I didn’t really get any ugly. I excitedly asked Bryan about dirty tricks, such as lies and pressure, does he use them in the negotiation room? Bryan assured me that he doesn’t but is great at spotting them from the other party. He defines this ability as being one of a good negotiator He told me that he actually says at the beginning of his meetings, “[let’s] be honest, don’t play games”. Bryan also mentioned how it would be no problem for him to get up and end the meeting if he senses that dirty tricks are being employed. He said that this is “a sign of what will happen later, which breaks the trust.” Bryan is looking out for the artist’s best interest so he never takes them into a negotiation because he doesn’t want them to be associated as being the bad guy if a deal with a label is not taken. In cases like this, I asked Bryan if he has a BATNA to which he responded he usually has three backups. This helps him know the value of the negotiation he is currently in.
The interview with Bryan was helpful because I learned about doing RESEARCH! This was something he reiterated quite often in our interview. Bryan said it’s important to not be caught off guard and research allows one to know a lot of details about somebody. I also learned from this interview to have backups, not just one but at least 3. The entertainment industry is always moving so it’s best to be able to move right with it. Regardless of ‘who you know’, deals are going to be made and they will require some negotiating.
If you are in the Orlando area looking for an artist manager, just let me know and I will get you in contact with Bryan W.