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“Are you ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes to succeed, because that’s what it will take in this business and even then there is not a single guarantee that you will make it.”

Persistent Management™ is a full service artist management company. Launched in the spring of 2008 their artist roster includes, Latin pop-rock sensation Ignacio Val, hard rock act Disciples Of Babylon, feature film and television Director/Producer Keith L. Shaw.

With their headquarters based in Los Angeles, PM is already working with some of today’s hottest artists on the music as well as creative scenes, and are poised and ready to become one of the premiere artist management companies in the entertainment industry.

Eric Knight

BusinessInterviews.com: How does your experience and background enable you to take your clients to the next level of their careers?

Eric: Well I am an active recording artist and performer as well as on the business side of the music industry. So I feel I have an intimate understanding and knowledge of what it’s like to be in their shoes. I know the psychology and the roller coaster ride emotionally that they go through on a daily basis. So my advice and counsel to them comes from first hand experience of what I have been through and how I’ve dealt with it. With that advice I feel our clients are put at ease to know that someone else has been there where they are at currently and it positions them on how to move through it much quicker and get out of the fog faster. In my industry, I deal with very creative people whose works and creations are extremely personal to them. You have to handle them with kid gloves but also be firm in your analysis of their works or the direction they want to go in.

I am not a yes man either, I will tell them quite bluntly what I think of something and if I don’t agree with a move they want to make or the direction they want to take, I’ll explain what the reasoning behind it is, we will discuss (or argue) the points and meet on some middle ground. I mean it is the reason why we are in business together, my advice, my knowledge and my intellectual property which is my years of experience and insight that I bring to the table. Ultimately, the artist or act has the final say in their careers but I need to give them the 360 degree 50,000 foot level view and then bring them down to the ground level and proceed from there.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some unique challenges that musicians face when it comes to marketing their music and how can they be avoided?

Eric: Well I think some of the biggest challenges would be that they don’t have an idea of who their target audience is and how to go about getting to them. They usually tend to have a shotgun approach to their marketing and that never works.

We have become a mass of niches as stated in the Jeff Jarvis book, “What Would Google Do?” you have to know what and who your niche is and begin from there. Once the band or artist understands who their audience is intimately they can then start marketing to them and speak to them directly. Granted, it is a much smaller audience than before, but once you speak their language they will walk through fire for you and pay you handsomely for it in the process.

BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that it’s possible for artists on how to manage their own careers without professional management?

Eric: I think it is, in fact I believe early on it’s their only option. I am currently writing a book on this very subject. We get tons of submissions here at PM for artists that want or claim they need management to take them to the next level. Frankly we are a small boutique management company and don’t have the resources or manpower to take on every act that comes along. We pride ourselves on giving the time and attention to the clients we already have here. Plus it would do a disservice to them in the process if we had 100 acts on the roster and we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

Nobody knows the artists and their brand better than themselves. It is absolutely crucial for the act to take ownership in their career and brand from the very beginning. And if artists don’t like to hear the word “brand” as it is applied to their music and art, then you are already on the losing end of success. You are a brand whether you like it or not. The more you study your other competing brands in your industry (i.e. other bands or artists in your genre) you can see trends and pick up things that you can apply to your own strategy and brand to make it a success. Of course in our industry it starts with great songs, without that you have no brand.

I think once an artist learns the ropes of managing the day to day themselves and taking ownership of their careers they will have a better appreciation and understanding of what it is a manager actually does. Also they won’t get screwed over like so many acts do still till this very day because of getting involved with so called “managers” that really doesn’t have their best interests at hand but their own. I had managed myself for many years and my motto was if someone can’t come in and do a better job than I am doing myself and get some significant “added value” to the proposition then I don’t need them.

Once the artist or act attains a certain level of success on their own (whether on a local or regional level) and feel they can’t go any further then I would start exploring the possibility of soliciting and seeking out a manager. Believe me if you are having a lot of success and have something very special going on it won’t take long to find one, that you can be sure of.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the music industry that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Eric: Well I think this trend from physical product to a direct access model (i.e. Spotify, Pandora, Netflix) is one that is here to stay. It means the costs for a band or artist to do business has dropped down significantly then it used to be before. You don’t necessarily need a physical CD anymore to make. Now you can record a song from the privacy of your own house with minimal gear to make a broadcast quality track uploaded and distributed on the same day to all the major music aggregators around the globe and be available for purchase worldwide overnight. The downside is now you have more people than ever that think they are musicians and artists and there is such a glut of product and music out there that is substandard that it’s driving the value of music way down I believe.

Crowdfunding, is another hot topic that seems to be all the rage now. It’s a great concept in theory but it is a catch 22 there as well. You are seeing all these bands and artists asking for money to fund their projects etc. The ones that are having the most success are the ones that have already established a large audience that are willing to do anything (remember: walk through fire for you) for you. So now everyone is out running asking for money to fund their projects and not very many of them are having success because there is no audience to support them. Now there are exceptions to every rule but nine out of every ten campaigns are a failure for this very reason. I think it takes a well thought out plan and there needs to be a foundation there to build it on.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share your thoughts on the quote, “You’re running a marathon, not a race!” and how that relates to running a business or managing a career?

Eric: Yes! This quote is something that I am very passionate about. It comes from most people (artists and bands) that I have worked with in artist management. Everyone wants to have it all now. Unfortunately, we have become an on demand society. Everything is instant access. They want the success the big tour big selling albums (don’t exist anymore) now! They don’t realize that there are so many factors so many things that come into play when you are working on a career, particularly in the music industry. This industry is so unique and different in so many ways it’s hard to put your finger on.

So my quote comes from that you have to slow things down with an artist and rein them into reality and tell them “no this isn’t going to happen today, tomorrow or maybe in the next 5 years.” Artists tend to think that once they get management that you become this messiah like figure and are going to get them a million dollar record deal (doesn’t exist either) or on tour with Lady Gaga etc. It just doesn’t happen that way. You have to be in it for the long haul. This was also me early on in my career. And I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

A perfect example is my artist, Ignacio Val which I have been working with for about 6 years now. He is an artist in the Latin, pop rock genre. When we first began working together, Ignacio wanted to come out with guns blazing in every aspect of his career, he wanted it all now! He was (and still is to some degree) like a bull wanting to get out into that ring and charge one or both of his horns into the guy riding him. I had to rein him in and tell him whoa, Nelly although you have a lot of great things going on right now we need to build and cultivate every other area of your career before we can even begin to think about going after the big fish. Now after only 6 years in we and he are beginning to see the fruits of our labor together, but it has been a constant push and pull and almost like you are walking a tightrope everyday. It was only after we had made every other area of his career bulletproof that we are starting to have really measurable results. So my advice to all artists and bands out there is that there is no such thing as an overnight success, it is a long and extremely hard road ahead of you. Are you ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes to succeed, because that’s what it will take in this business and even then there is not a single guarantee that you will make it.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on your plans for developing and synergizing the rest of your sister platforms and how that will impact the direction of the company?

Eric: Of course! Well some of the other platforms that I am creating or co-creating with others has a big educational aspect to it, which I am very big on, are educating the musicians of tomorrow.

MUBUTV which stands for Music Business Television is intended to be the first subscription based online 24 hour Music Industry centric WEB channel. Our focus is to provide news and original programming designed to inform, educate and empower music artists, bands, musicians, in addition to music industry professionals and music fans about all areas of modern music, tech and the business that surrounds them. We want to become the next CNN for the world of music.

It is a project that I co-founded with my partner Ritch Esra from the Music Business Registry and a project that we are very excited about. We currently have a show that is available for free on our website at http://www.mubutv.com called the MUBUTV: Insider Series. It is a music business video series that interviews some of the biggest names in the industry and examines several areas of today’s music industry, including: A&R, music supervision, legal affairs, marketing & branding, publicity and record production among others. The ultimate goal and objective of MUBUTV is to educate, empower and enlighten the musician and industry professional of the twenty first century.

At Persistent Management, we have an artist consulting program that we are currently reimagining and developing from the ground up for artists that need help and guidance in their careers. As I mentioned earlier we get so many requests for us to manage bands that for obvious reasons we cannot take on. So with the consulting service we can help artists that are looking for help in various areas within their career at whatever stage they may be in. It is a paid service but one that is really reasonable. We give everyone a free initial consultation and assessment with no strings attached and then go from there.

I am also developing a program at PM for burgeoning managers or people that want to get into artist management. Anyone can become a manager, which is why you hear all the horror stories of these artists in awful situations with their managers and bad contracts they signed with them etc. It definitely takes a certain type of person with certain types of traits to become an effective one. So I want to change that stigma and develop a system that can help managers in educating themselves to work better with their artists and develop that trust that is so vital to a successful business relationship as well as a personal one with their clients. Without that trust it will never work.

From this system that we develop, almost like a minor league scouting system for the majors for baseball players, only for managers, we can bring them on board into PM give them some type of infrastructure that is already in place and have them be able to develop their roster of clients and in turn increase our roster to grow and scale the company in those ways.

And finally my other venture is called Symbiotic Nation. Symbiotic is an idea that I have been working on for about as long as I have had the management company now. It takes the idea of symbiosis, the scientific term for two different types of organisms or anything for that matter that can mutually benefit each other and apply it to the entertainment industry. By creating and using other existing infrastructures you can feed off of each other and benefit so to speak.

The idea is to gather various talent and creative’s in the different spaces and media within the entertainment industry that we are trying to enter into (i.e. animation, comic books, movies) and give them the opportunities to create content that they would normally not get to do. And what I want to do is share in the ownership of those creations and intellectual properties with them. There is such untapped talent out there and I see it everyday, amazing artists, animators and writers but they don’t have an outlet for their talent because the current ways to break in are next to impossible to do so. With Symbiotic Nation I plan to change all of that.

We currently have soft launched a record label Symbiotic Records, a music publishing company Symbiotic Music Publishing which are obvious choices to start with. My goal though is to enter into those other spaces soon and begin growing them. Again it’s taking talented people in their respective worlds of expertise pulling that talent together and giving them the opportunities to utilize their gifts to develop something new and exciting. We provide the distribution model connecting the dots with our strategic relationships and build from there.

The Symbiotic name would be branded (there’s that word again) with each of the companies that we launch like Richard Branson’s Virgin. He has been a major influence on me and the way that I am approaching these projects but with a new twist.

With each of these ventures the plan is to synergize them all to ultimately benefit our clients at PM and beyond. If I can offer a one stop shop for their creations and have various places for their creations to be placed into then I think that is a win – win for everyone.

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