JACKSON WALKDEN-BROWN - ARTIST MANAGER
Updated: May 15, 2020
"I’m the CEO and founder of Artists Only, a music services agency. I’ve been messing around in the music business for about 15 years or so. I provide management, legal and general consultancy services. I began my legal career in 2003 as a corporate lawyer and transitioned into music law a few years later. These days I spend most of my time managing the career of global sensation Tones and I.
I’ve worked from home for over a decade, so that part of it all has remained consistent. I was supposed to be on tour with Tones for most of 2020, so that has been the most drastic impact to my professional (and personal) life. We had to cancel so many amazing sold out headline shows and festival slots in Europe and the US, which was obviously very disappointing. All things considered, however, I have been personally impacted a lot less than a lot of my friends in the business, particularly those who rely on the live sector for income.
I think that the most significant positive for me has been having conversations with emerging artists about the exciting new ways that they’ve been connecting with their fans in this strange landscape. Most artists are really trying to latch on to the silver lining wherever possible and capitalise on the fact that it is a great time to be writing new music and conjuring up cool new ways to create and connect.
Funnily enough, the lockdown hasn't actually resulted in me having any more “free" time than I did prior. I’ve always been quite regimented about my professional time blocks each day, and its really been business-as-usual in terms of time commitments to the various projects I’m working on. Yes, removing touring from the equation was significant, but any time that change has afforded gets sucked up quickly by the artist development aspect of my business. My business is in a real growth phase and I’m just trying to do everything I can to hustle and further the careers of the artists I work with. I have a very supportive wife, and she is also my business parter. She drives everything behind the scenes and is my rock in every sense. We have two beautiful young children who keep us in check every day. We feel really blessed to be working in an industry that we genuinely love. Music is such an important part of our life and we immerse ourselves in it all day every day. Generally speaking,I’d say about about 70% of my time is dedicated to maintaining our client services and 30% is dedicated to learning and building new relationships.
The most important conversations I have with artists relate to content development and delivery. I’m always just rabbiting on about the fundamentals… searching for new and innovative ways reach new fans, and then keep the fans engaged with first class content. There’s just so much interesting stuff happening at the moment and its crucial to keep pace. Thinking about the ‘how to use your time' conversations I’ve had in the past month with early career artists, these things come to mind: Spend 30 minutes every day researching music marketing online (because once you have quality product, everything comes down to marketing); Read music industry books like 'Music Business' (Shane Simpson | AU) and ‘All You Need to Know About the Music Business’ (Donald Passman | US) (because the more you know about the business-side of the industry, the better decisions you’ll make); Sign up and read the key industry e-newsletters like Industry Observer and Music Business Worldwide (because its important to keep across what the ‘industry’ are talking about); Learn more about digital distribution service providers so that you can make informed choices about the distribution of your music (because ‘distro plus’ deals are changing the game); Get across TikTok now (because its role in this business is growing exponentially); Research all of your favourite artists and try to connect with people in their networks (because this is the best way to expand your networks and build your team); and, most importantly, practice your craft and WRITE NEW MUSIC (because that’s all that really matters)!"