A Week in the Life of an Artist Manager: Research and Symbiosis

Hello and Good Day Music People, 

This week in my life as an Artist Manager I would like to talk about Research and Symbiosis and how doing your research can facilitate a truly symbiotic relationship. That is to say that “knowing is half the battle” (yup I just said that.)


I say it almost every day, to my children, my siblings, my husband, random people on the street that think I’m talking to myself, (just joking about the last one, kind of). If you don’t know something you have three options:

  1. Pay someone who does.
  2. Ignorantly barrel through and hope for the best.
  3. Do your research! 
Sweet Boxes

Sweet Boxes

I know, I know, this means that you actually have to read and sift through the bad information on the net, and oh my lord, invest your time. Granted, I’m an avid reader and learner about anything and everything that sparks my interest, but you don’t have to be a super-geek like me to learn. (Let’s be honest here, with the text-to-speech options with most word processors and other applications you don’t even have to read any more you can just listen.) Bottom line is knowledge is power, it always has been and it always will be from now until the day you pass on to the next plane of existence, (and possibly even then). And although it seems that the internet has de-valued knowledge, I can tell you it is completely the opposite. Information is one of the most precious currencies of networking.

Information can and will help you form a business relationship. How? If you know what your networking target is looking for, better off what they need to reach their goals, and you know that you can provide it, there is a strong possibility that you have all the makings of my favorite type of relationship, a symbiotic one.

Symbiosis is defined as an interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both. It is also defined as a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. Now, in a perfect world, every type of relationship would have an element of symbiosis. However, as a mother of a head-strong teenage girl I know that this is not always so. But it can be true in a professional relationship.

Let’s think about this, business should have very little to do about your personal feelings, perceptions, or moral judgments. Business is Business, and the best way for it to stay this way is to create symbiotic relationships and connections. Never make deals with another



entity that can’t benefit you and never approach an entity if you have nothing to offer that can benefit them. It’s simple. Whether you are an Artist, a mechanic, or a baker it’s the same. When you walk into a bank they never say, “Here’s a lot of money because we believe in you and your product”. No, they say, “Here’s a sum of money that we think that we can profit on by lending it to you for your business.” That’s the short and skinny of it kids. If you can’t or refuse to offer something, than nothing is what you should respect in return.

This week as an Artist Manager I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with going into a project expecting a (ROI) return on investment. Whether it’s a look on a new fan’s face, a new networking connection, or cold hard cash, expecting something for something should be okay. (Is that a conservative notion I wonder) Either way what you have received

Tony, Nick & Catherine

Tony, Nick & Catherine

should be respected and then returned in kind. I have worked in this manner since I began on February 13, 2015 and so far have found it to be the easiest, most productive way to conduct my business. Everyone I have chosen to do some kind of business with has chosen to do business with me. It’s a simple idea that has lessened the sting of rejection, and removed a lot of stress from any given business situation.  It’s not always easy, and the symbiosis is not always clear, but I do believe in my heart and mind that it is always necessary to keep things balanced. Life has enough ups and downs, dramas and extenuating circumstances. Business is where it can all be balanced. If you can take out the politics, the greed, and the need for power, (ha, ha, ha, that’s funny). I think we would find that business is not evil, it’s just Business. Until next week, keep your mind open and your perceptions slightly skewed. JLF


A Week in the Life of an Artist Manager: Head Monsters and Baby Steps

Hello and Good Day Music People,

This week in my life as an Artist Manager, I would like to talk about Head Monsters and Baby Steps. The former being the negative voices that we hear in our heads when we are trying to accomplish something out of our comfort zone. The latter being the necessary pace of all things worth doing well. First we will start with the most despised:

head monster

Head Monsters:

I don’t know if everyone deals with these little buggers, but even on my most confident of days I have head monsters. They are those little voices in your head coming from the back of your mind telling you that something is going to go wrong and that you are fooling yourself. Have you heard them? They are mean, unfeeling and absolutely detrimental to anything and everything that you try to accomplish. They’ll take a brilliant idea and turn it into high-risk stupidity, turn a dream into a hellish nightmare or make the brightest light look like nothing more than an illusion of the darkness. But it’s not true. What the head monsters really are, are warnings of what could happen if you give into the negative thoughts that can plague our minds. It is an omen that negligence can alter a path, but it is also a reminder that a thought can be incarnated to reality. Think about it. If you can manifest negative thoughts into negative actions then the same can be true of the opposite. When I find myself surrounded by “Nega-Jesthenia” (Yup that’s a movie reference), I do what Scott Pilgrim does, I listen, I acknowledge, and then a set a meeting for next month. The bottom line is that head monsters exist to remind us that there are boundaries and there will always be an edge. We can’t ignore it, but we can’t let the notion consume us either.sophie and randy

I am proud to say that not only did I progress and make a few connections this week. Shout out to Beth from ModMarket and Brandy Darling from Girlwreck Presents. But I also survived the weekend. With Tony Dollar playing at Miller’s on Friday and Sophie West at 4 noses Brewery on Saturday, all the little negative monsters had no choice but to to stifle. Why? Because back to back gigs are exciting when you see the crowds of people showing up to catch your act, but when it’s over what a beer loving manage is left with is at miller's grilleexhaustion. Which is why I’m thankful for Baby Steps.

Baby Steps:

Here are two degrading words that can be taken to mean small inexperienced steps babystepsexhibiting a lack of grace and independence, or the non-negative definition which is the first steps of individual discovery and eventually accomplishment. Either way it means slow. Driving down a mountain without headlights doing unsafe speeds, now that’s my style. However, hauling ass a little better than blind down a pathway really only means one thing. Youbanner know that road very well because you have traveled it many times before now. Unfortunately for me this is not the case. I have traversed similar roads to this one, parallel roads and even some crossing, but never this one. It’s because of this simple fact that I concede to the truth. For now, I must take baby steps.

sophie at 4nosesSmall accomplishments are quiet all right, great even. One small accomplishment every day is 365 small accomplishments by the end of the year. That’s a pretty big accomplishment wouldn’t you say? It’s hard sometimes, especially when the head monsters are at work and the big pictures thuds on your brain like it is the only thing that exists. But it’s important to pat yourself on the back because a new connection responded to your email. Go ahead and have that celebratory extra hour of gaming time because you helped your client get 5 extra likes this week. Sure it’s seems small, but in this moment it is an

tonydollardollaraccomplishment and therefore worthy of praise. This week my small accomplishment was obtaining two signed one dollar bills from my first two clients. Sure it’s a small thing, but it’s a thing none the less and I am proud of that.

In the end I will always have doubts, I will always move too fast, and hopefully if I keep my head in the right place, I will always learn from the lessons it teaches me. Yesterday was

sophiewestdollarmy two month anniversary in my new chosen field, and that is a small but significant accomplishment. Until next week friends.

What was your recent small accomplishment? I would love to hear them.

A Week in the Life of an Artist Manager- Mistakes and Triumphs

Hello and Good Day readers,

Last week I introduced myself and talked about the new direction of the blog and got an overwhelming response proving that this is what you want to see so here it is, my week as an Artist Manager. This week I’d like to talk about my mistakes and triumphs. As a new Artist Manager I have much less of the latter at this point, but that doesn’t mean my mistakes are not in some way small backward successes. Yeah I like that. So let’s start with the first mistake that an excited Artist Manager can make:

The Mistake – Booking without Artist Confirmation

This, thankfully was made in a time that it could be resolved without pissing anyone off, but this was a lesson that I will not soon forget. I was excited, I finally had a guy on the phone with his calendar out and ready to book my artists. Now I don’t know aboutEinstein quote most of you out there booking gigs, but breaking into this circle is not easy. All my connections from yesteryear are gone and with these new “Pay to Play” scams that make bands buy tickets to play shows the whole scene seemed sour. So just getting someone to write or call me back has been a feat, but I did it. (Well actually Sophie’s killer performance at the venue did it and it was up to me to lock it down.) So I did, I booked the gigs, very excited. I made sure that each of my artist were spread out so that they didn’t saturate the market and I also made sure to secure a promise for a bigger room and pay once we delivered on the agreed dates.

Everything was going great and then something hit me. I had forgotten to get date approval from my artist before I confirmed. Doh! So frantically, and nervously I wrote and called my artist giving them dates and praying that they can fulfill those dates. And of course, there were conflicts. Needless to say we worked everything out and everyone was happy, but this could have gone very, very wrong had we been further along and our venue wasn’t understanding. In the end we lost a date, which meant losing money, but it was a small price to pay for a very important lesson learned!

Everything must be run  by the artist. As an Artist Manager things can get exciting and overwhelming, but we must remember that it is the artist’s career that’s putting money in our bank accounts. If we get caught up in the idea that we know what’s best for our clients then we promise nothing but discord. It’s true that the Artist/ Management partnership is like a marital partnership and I wouldn’t dare make a decision on my husband’s behalf without talking to him first, and I’ll be damned if someone would be allowed to make a decision on my behalf. So I have to remember to give my artists the same courtesy.

The Triumph – Seeing the look on people’s faces when my Artist offer their hearts

Tony Dollar

With every 3-5 mistakes I make I have these moments of triumph that wakes me up in the morning and makes me get to work. This week I’d like to talk about that moment when all the work you’ve been doing throughout the week pays off in a way that you couldn’t have imagined. The moment when you see the look on people’s faces when your Artists’ music touches them in a way that only great music can. The room stops, everyone collectively is focused on that one note, that one lyric, that one sound. Goosebumps race up your arm and down your spine and you can’t help but to think…

Sophie West

“Wow, that was a great moment.” This was my triumph, for all the invisible hard work that I do it is that feeling that makes it all worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I like money, I want to make money, and I need my artist to make money, but that moment is priceless. I look over to my husband, who is usually there supporting us and we smile, high-five and sigh. In that moment we remember why I started this business, to help these artist give the world something it so desperately needs…them.

So I continue on, doubting myself everyday and working toward that moment where this endeavor catapults itself from experimentation to business success. Waking up everyday wondering if I’m crazy and then celebrating those small moments where I just don’t care if I am or not. In the end it’s all about the journey and right now I am digging the ride! Until next week my friends.

crazy meme

Hello, my name is Jesthenia Lea Fritzke and I am an Artist Manager

Hello again and welcome back to my new and improved blog for Dragon Monkey Music. In the beginning of this blog endeavor I wanted to offer helpful tips to aspiring musicians and artist and have already written and posted numerous articles to do so. Then as I continued my own personal research I realized that not only is this information readily available almost everywhere, in quite a few places it was offered up in a much better format. So from today on I offer a week in the life of an Artist Manager…me.

To Begin

my name is Jesthenia Fritzke, but most people call me Tina, (because they can’t pronounce my first name.) I’m not particularly happy about that because I feel that Jesthenia is more complex and rare, but whatever, you can call me Tina.

Jesthenia Fritzke

(Me looking all sexy and what not.)

Six weeks ago I heard the voice of Ms. Sophie West, my soon-to-be-sister-in-law as she was singing for fun during a celebration of her engagement. As music has a tendency to do, her vocal to Adele’s “Someone Like You” awakened a part of my soul that had fell dormant. So Dragon Monkey Management was born. (There were a million other things at play, but this particular moment was the catalyst.)

Why Dragon Monkey?

For those of you that know of or study the Chinese Zodiac you know that specific years of birth are assigned a symbolic animal to represent the birth. My sign is the Dragon, my husband’s sign is the Monkey and from that union we have both enjoyed a harmonious relationship filled with love, prosperity and learned wisdom. I wanted to bring that energy and symbolism to our company, hence Dragon Monkey Management. I run the artist side of things, my husband runs the business side of things and between us both we hope to help artists find their voices and whatever level of success they choose.

Our Artist

Sophie West at home

Sophie West posing for the camera.

Currently DMM represents two fabulously talented people. Ms. Sophie West and Mr. Tony Dollar. Completely different in all aspects from musical genre to home lifestyles and age these two artists have kept the spark lit by Sophie burning everyday. There innovative styles and heartfelt original music keeps me motivated from sun up to sundown. It’s a great feeling to love your job, and no matter what happens in the future these two artists have given me that gift.

Sophie West is classically trained with a sophisticated power vocal that leaves you floored every time she opens her mouth. Her whimsical perception in life completely contradicts her old soul and makes interactions with her fun and unexpected. Her original music carries the pain of Etta James, and the pureness of Paul Simon. If you want to hear Sophie just click here:


Sophie West

Here Sophie is wailing to “Criminal” by Fiona Apple and killing it!

Tony Dollar is a hardworking family man who plays his guitar like it was a second skin.

Tony Dollar Music

Tony Dollar giving you the baby blues.

With honey dipped vocals and raw emotional performances Tony Dollar knows how to bring out all the “feels”.  His commanding stage performance and smooth as silk lyrical flow has his songs stuck in your head like a tire in mud, no matter how many times you spin it, it isn’t going anywhere. With inspiring songs like “Compassion” and down-earth-lyrics like:

“It’s like fighting Mike Tyson with the sun in your eyes,you get pounded…” and “Music’s like love it is everywhere…”

Tony Dollar can make a room stop and turn. Don’t believe me take a listen here:


Tony Dollar Logo

Tony Dollar’s official Logo

And so our thousand step journey begins with one step

So now we will start on this journey navigating the current changes in the music industry and finding our places in it as musicians and artist manager. The road will be long, frustrating, heart-breaking, but ultimately rewarding and worth it.

Every week right here at Dragon Monkey Music on WordPress I will share my insights as Artist Manager and keep you updated as we embark on a voyage through music land. So stay tuned as we “Keep our feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”  (I love Casey Kasem)

See you all next week!

Gigging Part 3: Transforming your venue Revenue into Revenue Streams

So you have your venue list. You know which type of venue uses which payment method and where your music is going to fit in best. That’s great! But how to you make money beyond the venue pay? Unless you’re playing a private event, your pay for any gig is not going to exceed a few hundred dollars a night. This is great if you can play 4 to 5 nights a week without saturating the market, but in most cases this just isn’t true. So this week we are going to talk about turning your revenue from your paying gigs into revenue streams that can pull in money when you’re not playing live.

Revenue Stream 1: Live Merchandising

The cost of purchasing merchandising can be expensive so make sure to always buy in bulk. Sure it’s going to be a hefty investment, but it will create a solid revenue stream every time your band hits the circuit. Whether you are touring or playing in your home town having a line of merchandise will really help to boost the revenue from every gig. Start with something small like buttons, stickers and key chains. They have a lower cost to produce so you don’t have to gauge your newest fans when they want a piece of you to take home. Once the fan base grows invest in T-shirts, Tank tops and hoodies. This will be a little pricey so be sure that you have the fan base to unload them.  Once you get your songs recorded you can add digital downloads to the list. A no cost revenue stream once you recoup the expense of the recording.  Get creative with this, the point is to put extra money in the pocket and provide a piece of yourself and the music that will leave fans smiling.

Revenue Stream 2 : On-Line Merchandising

On-line merchandising can be done in many different ways. For those of you that have no money to invest there are many online stores like Redbubble.com that will allow you to set up a store using your bands logo for NO COST!  So what’s the catch?  Most of the money made from each sell will go back to the site. Your profit will be a very small amount of each sale. However, if you are a band low on funds any revenue stream is a good revenue stream.

For those with money to invest in their Merchandise, sell your “Live Merch” stock online by adding a product program to your band’s website.  Most sites will charge fees for processing, and you will have to pay for the shipping so make sure to reflect those costs in your price.  Now more people will have access to your merchandise not only at your live gigs, but around the world if you like.

Revenue Stream 3: Sponsorships

Everyone likes publicity, even the small business down the street from your practice space.  Sponsorships can be a great way to get your band a little extra income, or provide free stuff at your gigs to draw more people.  Sponsorships can be money paid to display images on your website, or your gear. Money paid to where a logo on a t-shirt or mention them at a show.  Some establishments will pay larger sums of money for you to display their banners and advertisements at your merch table at a gig. Once again, be creative.  It’s not selling out if helping someone get to where they want to be gets you to where you want to be too.  That’s just called good business.

Revenue Stream 4: Crowd Funding

This is a new trend and when used honestly and wisely can really help a band reach its financial goals for demos and touring.  Crowd funding is basically asking your fans for money. It’s seems crazy, but if you are great band that are loyal to its fans, most of them will be loyal to you.  This is best used to raise money for specific events or goals like recording a demo or putting on a showcase.  Be kind and honest when using this method. No one deserves to be screwed!

There you have it, four ways to boost your revenue during and after live performances. All of them will take investment in time, money and/or energy but when done correctly is very much worth it. Don’t forget Music outside of the artistry is a business and to succeed as a career musician you must treat it as such.

via Dragon Monkey Management.

Gigging Part 2: 4 Types of Venues and Which to Avoid

You’re a Musician, an Artist and sometimes worrying about the money aspect of things just does not seem appealing to you.  Then you realize that the day job is only paying the bills, it does not cover gas to get to the gig, instrument repairs or a number of other small things that will nickel and dime your music career to its end. Money is not the reason, but it is a necessity so in the next few sessions we are going to talk about how to keep yourself and your band financially afloat. Starting with the four types of venues and how they pay their talent.

Venue 1: The Guarantee

A “Guarantee” gig is any gig that offers you a set fee for your performance. The fee will usually depend on your popularity, experience and professionalism. When you have a guaranteed gig it means that the venue itself has its own draw. Your job is to keep their clientele happy and drinking (if you’re at a bar). Once you’ve really pleased the venue owners you can as for a Guarantee plus a percentage of the bar sales during your performance. You may take a little dip in your guaranteed fee, but if you know how to boost the bar’s sales during your performance it will be worth it!

PROS: Marketing and Promotions are not going to be your biggest concern here. You get to focus on your performance, play your originals for a crowd of people that may not know you yet.

CONS:  You get paid a set amount of money no matter how much you pack a house (unless you’re getting bar percentages.) The people aren’t there to see you, so you will more than likely become background music.

SUMMARY: This is a great option for a professional band or solo artist that is used to working an unknown crowd and can provide a great mix of cover and original music.  If you’re an original band with your own draw you may be able to gain a few more fans, but may find disappointment with your loyal fans when they have to share the space with “non-fans”. If you’re a new all original band, play at your own risk. Sure you’ll get paid the first time, but if you don’t know how to market to a crowd like this you probably won’t be asked back.

Venue 2: The Ticket Sales

A “Ticket Sales” venue, also known as “The Door” is a venue that pays out a cut of all covers paid from the first to the last.  A good split is usually a 70/30 split whereby you are getting 70% of all ticket sales. (Some venues will take some off the top for sound. This can be negotiated depending on the sound man’s skill.) The split is smaller of course if you are sharing the bill with other bands.  This is what they like to call a “Career Building Gig”.

PROS: This is a great place to bring your growing fan base. A venue completely focused on you (unless you’re sharing the bill). It allows you to engage you’re audience as yourselves. No need to worry about the bar sales (unless you’re getting a percentage), so you can focus on boosting the sales of your Merch and digital downloads and singles.

CONS: It is all you, the marketing, the promoting and the performing. You may get a few people walking past the doors on the night of the performance, but the work you put into it is the profit that you’re are going to get out of it period.

SUMMARY: These gigs can be ultimately exciting or life draining so it’s best to be prepared.  If you are a professional band with mostly covers, this probably isn’t the best idea unless you are on the bill with like bands.  If you are a band with mostly originals and a strong fan base then this is where you want to be.  This is also a great place for new bands with original music if you can get yourself on a bill with bands that have a great draw, but don’t expect to be paid more than your bar tab.

Venue 3: The Private Party

“Private Party” gigs can be anything from weddings, colleges, executive parties etc. and is the holy grail of gigs for the professional cover band. These parties usually pay in the thousands. The provide meals, rooms and anything else you need to keep their event rocking.  You usually have to find a good booking agency or join a membership site to lock these down, but if you do your job right these events can lead to a very lucrative career.

PROS: Money, money and more money.  You are a professional and are treated like one. You receive great pay, great tips and great connections. You may even get to push a little of the original music and merchandise.  Travel and expenses are usually covered by the event or can be added into the fee.

CONS: You are hired for a job and that job is expected to be done. You are not hired to release your new single, or introduce a new song. You are hired as a performer and must deliver as such. Strict codes of conducts must be followed if you expect to play again.

SUMMARY: A professional cover bands dream.  Lock yourself in with a good agency and make sure your performance is on point. Not such a great idea for originals unless you are being booked specifically to play your music. New artists will find it very hard to book these gigs unless they have their own connections.  Booking agencies, just like record labels want to see that you can entertain a crowd. That usually means that you will have to play many successful gigs before they will even consider putting you on the roster.

Venue 4: The Pay to Play

This is the most dreaded gig and should be avoided at all costs! Good venues know that you promoting your band for one night only benefits there bar for that one night, so what’s the point. The only type of venues that use this mesthod are either inexperienced or a dive bar that refuses to put money into their business. Unless you’re a band whose reputation is playing in dive bars then what’s the point? You work hard on your craft. Make sure your choice in venue shows it.

Gigging Part 1: How to use the Scientific Method to build a venue list

So you have the set list, your chops are honed and it is time to start performing for a live or streamed audience so that the people can fall in love with you and your music. Gigging leads to digital download sells, merchandise sells and more importantly more paying gigs. So how do you get it all started?  First you want to build a venue list. Colorado is one of the top states in the nation for support of the Arts so finding a venue is not hard, but that doesn’t mean you just start emailing your EPK to everyone on the list starting at the top. There a many types of venues and you need to know which venue is going to best suit your music in order to have a successful show. So how do you build a list that will benefit your music? Try using the scientific method.

I know what you’re thinking?  You never thought you would use it, so you weren’t paying attention. Don’t feel bad, you are not the only one. But don’t worry, I’m going to break it all down for you right here.

Step 1: Ask the Question

What type of Venues would benefit me and my music career and provide a fun atmosphere for my loyal followers?

You know what your music wants to say. (If you don’t then you are not ready to gig.) If it’s a cover band, then you know what feelings you want to conjure with your carefully crafted set list, so use this as a jumping off point. Is your music more suited for a coffee shop, wedding event, live band showcase? Once you narrow this down it will be much easier to choose which venue to target with your EPK. (See EPK what it is and how to create and effective one.)

Step 2: Background Research

Now that you know what you want you just have to figure out where to find it. That will take good old fashion research. Thanks to the internet research can be much cheaper than it used to be in the old days. So use it. Look up a venue, check out their website, go to their events calendar and listen to some of the bands they already have booked there.  (A lot of websites will have audio snips and music videos right on the page.) Does it sound like your band is a good fit?  If yes, then put them on the list along with all the information you are going to need: Booking agents name, preferred submissions guidelines etc.

Step 3: Construct your Hypothesis

A Hypothesis is: “a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.” Basically, it’s an educated guess.

Example: If I play at club X I can attract Y followers and build a relationship with the venue for future bookings.

Example 2: If I play at club X it will be perfect for my single release.

And so on and so forth. Keeping the Hypothesis up to date will keep you moving forward as you start to accomplish your goals and will also give you a place to start from again if a plan doesn’t happen to work the first time. Now you have a list and a purpose for every listing so what’s next?

Step 4: Testing the Hypothesis

Now that you have your list and a pretty good sense of what you want to accomplish with it, sent out your EPK. Mention to them that you have researched the venue and tell them why you think you would be great for it. You’ve already done all the work. Why not show the venue how professional you are? Once you land a gig keep your hypothesis in mind. Did the gig fulfill its requirements and expectations?

Step 5: Analyze the Results

Were you able to reach an acceptable goal with the venue? Did the venue meet your expectations? Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. This is your career and although it is exciting to perform in front of a large audience you have to remember that in the end it is a business and you need to treat it as such. The more honest you are with the results, the faster you’ll find a circuit that really suits your needs as an artist.

The Final Step: Record your results

If your Hypothesis is true, then congratulations you can add the venue to your permanent gigging list and add it to the rotation. If not, then your Hypothesis is False and the venue needs to be removed from the list and possibly replaced with another, or maybe the hypothesis for the venue needs to change. Keeping a data base will help you build a gigging circuit and reliable relationships that will allow you to take the focus off of booking and put it back into what you love most, Your Music!