I met @mrlippman when I had just started working at Yahoo! He and Michael Lippman came by to talk about premiering a Rob Thomas video and at the end they revealed they were in business with my favorite artist, George Michael in the U.S. again. An audible gasp was all I could respond in my utter amazement. George is my musical Highlander after all so it thrills me to have Nick Lippman as the first music artist manager answer 5 Questions!
Vocation: Artist Manager, VP, Business Development
1. As part of your job as an artist manager, you took the plunge with Matchbox Twenty on USB keys. What made the idea stand out from all the other items you get pitched?
We at Lippman Entertainment are always looking to be at the forefront of the music industry, technology is the forefront and new avenues of music distribution are what we are all trying to wrap our heads around. When I saw the USB wristbands I was immediately drawn to the meshing of simplicity and technology. The key to the wristband was that it was not just a wristband, but an album, artwork and it was reusable flash drive, meaning that it could also hold more information than we had preloaded so fans and consumers got great value for their money. We were very happy with how the wristband has turned out for us and our fans.
2. What are the biggest challenges working with established artists vs. breaking in new artists?
The biggest challenges working with an established band in today’s industry is getting them on board with all the new social media and the role the band has to take part in to keep the consumers interested. The old album cycle, tour, single on radio etc… days are over. What was once considered “selling out” is now considered a necessity to survive.
Breaking a new artist is a different difficult challenge. The new artists understand all of the above that needs to go on but they do not comprehend “quality control”. Just posting something to post it may have a negative effect even thought the band/artist thinks that fans want content, which they do, but be careful about what kind of content and keeping that content consistent with the image of the band. One key I always tell new bands is to stay away from posting inside jokes, the public doesn’t understand them and they are now more alienated than they were before. Fans want to feel like they know the band and are a part of the team. Also with the declining of tour sales, more established acts are being packaged with other known acts leaving lees room to take on an unknown band and help them get discovered.
3. With the advent of YouTube, the market is flooded with so many hopeful artists. Do you it as a discovery tool?
I honestly don’t look at YouTube as a discovery tool, I look at you tube as a follow-up tool. If I am turned on to a band and really like the music, I will go to you tube to try to see if I can see some live footage to make sure the band can play the songs and has a presence. It’s easy to be fooled buy things such as “plays” and how much people watch something on you tube, MySpace, etc. so I personally don’t look at those stats unless its something I am pursuing then I want to find out the “truth” behind the numbers.
4. What advice would you give to a new artist on finding a manager?
There are a number of things I would advise but here are the main ones. Find someone who is WELL CONNECTED but also WELL RESPECTED in the business. Relationships are the MOST IMPORTANT thing in the business and more so is the REPUTATION of the manager. Make sure the manager is well versed on the internet, social media and new media worlds. Also make sure the manager is aware of the NEW MODEL of the record industry and is not just trying to do the whole major label deal as the only route thing… It is worth the investment in a great manager but all artists need to understand it’s still and always will be about the songs. A manager can get you to the most important people in the biz, but if the music is not there then nothing will happen. Finally make sure your manager believes in YOU, your music and where you want to go. You need someone who doesn’t give a fuck if they hear 100 no’s because they believe and will work for that all important YES.
5. You are part of The New Atlantians founded by fellow artist manager Anthony Cordova. Could you explain what the group’s purpose is?
The purpose of the New Atlantians for me is being a part of something bigger than yourself. Anthony (Cordova) is one of the few people in the world i truly admire. He does things with his heart and looks to do whats best for the world. I admire that and strive to be like that myself. The New Atlantians is a place for me to being amongst like-minded and equally as hard-working people all trying to make a change for the better in all aspects of our lives, where we can count on each other to help both philanthropical and on the business end. I have been to over 14 events and have made some life long friends, have done business with them and have been a part of numerous charity events. I am proud to be a part of the New Atlantians.