Artist relations managers are broadly responsible for keeping artists happy in their relationship with a company—whether it's a record label, a company whose brand or product an artist is endorsing, or an organization for whom an artist is creating promotional content. The heart of an ARM's job is building a good relationship and an open channel of communication with the artist, ensuring his or her satisfaction while identifying and diffusing potential conflicts that might cause the alliance to deteriorate.
This is a job for someone who is detail-oriented, efficient, and above all, extremely sociable.
While the specific tasks of an ARM vary greatly depending on the company in question—and particularly whether that company represents artists, serves artists, or is represented by artists—ARMs are likely to coordinate with many different company departments and the artist's own team in pursuit of their goals. An ARM might be closely involved in organizing the artist's marketing, promotion, media, management, publicity, and/or personnel, or could simply act as a direct line between the artist and the company, responsible for communicating feedback and decisions between the two groups and maintaining the artist's interest in the company. ARMs may also handle paperwork, facilitate contracts, maintain social media accounts, process ticket requests, and schedule activities such as promotional trips, aftershow parties, and launch events.
Artist Relations Manager at a Glance
Some artist relations managers begin as interns or assistants in this or a closely related field (e.g. community management or social media management), advancing up the departmental ladder. Others, however, work for some time as or with artists, gaining valuable connections and life experiences that help them as artist relations managers. Working as an artist relations manager can also be a jumping off point to jobs in A&R or artist management.
Successful websites related to music or content creation like YouTube, Bandcamp, Genius, Etsy, or Twitch have created new markets for artist relations managers.
Artist relations managers work for three main kinds of companies: companies that represent artists, companies that work closely with artists, and product-based companies that have marketing or promotional relationships with artists. This includes record labels, management companies, PR firms, gear or merchandise manufacturers, event producers, and lifestyle brands. ARMs can also work for websites, particularly those that interface with artists frequently or depend on independent artists for content creation.
- Superior written and verbal communication
- Administrative skills
- Event planning
- Social and emotional intelligence
This is a job for someone who is detail-oriented, efficient, and above all, extremely sociable and emotionally intelligent—able to make instant and lasting connections with artists and manage the moods of people around them. Additionally, being an articulate communicator is a huge strength.
Some artist relations managers work a simple daily schedule in and out of an office. Others are constantly on the move, making contact with new artists, checking in with old ones, and generally establishing a presence in the scene. Networking after hours is an expected part of the job, but how and where it happens depends on the kind of artists the ARM's company is pursuing.