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04 January, 2011

Solving Poor Artist Management in Kenya.

Having observed the careers of several artists in Kenya very few of them takes the issue of artist management seriously. If you were to look at the music industry you will instantly realize that very few artist have really exploited the numerous opportunities that exist in this market. Most of the artist either self manage or are managed by their music labels, the sad thing is that the artist or the Music label fail to professionalize their operations which leads to wastage of opportunities and sometimes burning out of the artist. Accusation of exploitations by music label are rife, promoters are also blamed on the poor way artist are managed.

Artist management refers to overseeing the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advice and counsel talent concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career. By that definition it is rather obvious that it would be very difficult for an artist to self manage given the challenges that come with it. A manager can also help artists find an agent, or help them decide when to leave their current agent and identify who to select as a new agent. Managers informally establish connections with producers and studios but do not have the ability to negotiate contracts. The role of music managers can be extensive and may include similar duties to that of a press agent, promoter, booking agent, business manager , tour managers, and sometimes even a personal assistant.

Celebrity endorsements in Kenya is quite low with album sales very disappointing ,the use of the social media to promote artist work is poorly executed with very little income coming from the efforts. Branding of artist is rarely done professionally with beef and publicity stunts characterizing the mode of promoting or publicizing ones work. In some cases this has worked to generate interest on the said artists but only over a limited time frame. How can we enhance artist management in Kenya so as to create an industry that work for both artist managers and the artist.

Now is the time to get real. Branding is about image and perception. Do not claim to not understand the social networks. Muck right in, however with a special eye to product awareness. Hear yourself scream out, Facebook, linkedin, twitter and Google Trends, here I come.
In principal, a brand is a promise of something that will be delivered by you and your work. This promise comes in a form of quality, an experience, as well as with a certain expectation in mind. Brands that stand for something connect with customers.
Just as you use brands personify your position, status, and identity when you make decisions about which detergent or automobile to buy so do your clients and fans . Give fans something to rely on, something they can sink their teeth into, something which enhances their identity with a positive vibe.
Your credentials have much to do with your image in the consumer’s mind, so does your office ambiance and the courtesy (or lack of) offered the minute your fans click on your fan page.

Conceptual Personal Branding

Branding is similar to the development of our own personal traits. Our looks, the clothes we wear, our personality, achievements, contacts, experiences and anything else that adds to, or even detracts from, our appeal to others encompasses our own “personal brand.”
When branding, you have the ability to carefully create a brand position that will appeal to your market and make your career more successful through broader, or in some cases, very specific appeal. However, brand development requires time, energy, as well as a reasonable budget.
Personal brand positioning is the activity of creating an identity with a distinctive value in the target customer’s mind. For instance, when we think of an accomplished Musician or artist, the first ones that spring to mind are those who have a reputation for having a high rate of album sales, Awards and numerous endorsement deals and tours. Essentially that is the position they occupy in your mind whenever you think of them.

Package Yourself As “The” Entity

A sound marketing and branding plan can help make your fans and clients feel confident about your work. In addition, a sound sustained campaign will help get new ones grow your fan base. Doing so requires the following action plan which will help build your name in a professional and unique way that enhances your recognition, trust and confidence in you as an artist or an artist manager.
There are several benefits to creating an effective personal brand. These include:

Enhance Your Competitive Edge

By building a strong personal brand you are creating a sense of individuality and “distinctiveness” in the marketplace so that your clients and fans are able to easily differentiate your practice from your competitors. This may include the sound of your music your style and belief system.

Make The Big Leap

Your professional brand becomes your authentic personal identity. The goal of personal branding is to create and portray a consistent image of which you are as a person and what you stand for. It’s a reflection of you which includes your values, opinions, and beliefs that are determined by what you say do, and how you do it.

Create Awareness

Due to the plethora of artists and music labels in the marketplace, fans and clients are now placing more emphasis on brand differentiation when it comes to distinguishing comparable music or sound. As a professional artist, you have the ability to take control of your identity and influence the perception others will have about you and the music you offer.

Create The Buzz

Effortless career growth can be achieved by exploiting word-of-mouth advertising through clients and fans ,as well as various networks that the buzz spreads through. The latter will be produced when your personal brand will connect you with your spheres of influence who will send you referrals.
The idea is to give people a reason to talk about you in a flattering way which is considered fan-to-fan selling. Your personal brand should be communicated consistently through many channels which will begin to generate the hype and create excitement for your Music and products.

A case in point: nonini has distinguished himself and his music from other musicians in the Kenya by having his music well packaged and distributed in a very professional way especially the digital distribution channels .He has utilized the social network effectively to his advantage .Juacali another Kenyan musician with calif record label has packed himself well as a brand which has, not only made him win several endorsement deals, but also enhanced his album sales and social status.

Generate Profitability In less Time

A highly regarded personal brand offers the advantage of attracting clients and fans in a timely and effortless manner. You will be able to position yourself in the mind of your typical client as the artist of choice. In doing so, you begin to dominate your local market and command higher fees which, consequently, translate to less work and more money – work smarter as opposed to harder.

Establish Celebrity Status

Gain name recognition in your area of specialisation in your “customer’s” mind. By making a lasting impression you will be well rewarded for your distinctiveness. Trust, respect, and admiration will follow and you will be perceived as an Icon the more visible you are to your target audience. As a result, your brand will propel you to the top in your domain.
Nameless,Wahu,Juacali,Nonini,Eric wainaina,Suzanna Owiyo and a few others who have succeeded in becoming celebrities in their own right are , undoubtedly, are well publicized Kenyans with constant media appearances and in some reality shows they also command a considerable chunk of fans.

Create And Sustain Brand Online

Begin by crafting a marketing, advertising and publicity campaign that focuses on helping you achieve your vision. Your consistent message should include your credentials, areas of specialization, as well as the ambiance and experience you desire to achieve for each and every client. It is important to note that your local professional practice code of ethics in advertising may have some restrictions in place with regards to the content of your marketing and PR campaign.
Your Website is essentially your online office and marketing presentation. It too conveys a strong message about your brand image. Make certain it is done professionally, free of any clutter, and include the right amount of information and make it effortless to navigate. Place your Promo CD, photo gallery of your tours or performances or anything that will enhance your profile to your fans or clients.

Additional material
by James D. Roumeliotis, WCW Columnist


  1. I like this article. Too bad it doesn't give any references or links to reliable management firms. Good work though. Cheers

  2. I'm also glateful for the information given here - much appreciation! As well, I wish there were links to other articles or management agencies.

  3. Artist management these days are lack of facilities. As a performing artist I'd rather go sign entertainment contracts as my stepping stone for my career.

  4. But the biggest potential issues are copyright and compensation. Artists receive no royalties from these videos, adele discography