Claire Ashton owns Jet Tank Management. She works with Atlanta modern-rock band Jil Station, Ohio pop-punk group Ten Count Fall and, until recently, managed Bain Mattox. She tries to help each artist grow beyond local fame into regional and, hopefully, national success. The art of management is a misunderstood role within the music industry. Many young acts, fearful of slicing up their meager earnings with an outsider, decide to go it alone without a manager -- until they realize they need a manager to reach the next level. Ashton explains why even baby bands can use a little help.
What management really is, honestly, is creating a plan and giving it to every other part of your team. I work with an agent, a publicist and a lawyer. [I] work to get each of those positions filled for a band, and then make sure they work together for the band's best interest.
The biggest challenge is to make sure the band is always working. As you know by looking at a bunch of famous artists, say Britney Spears, they're [always in and out] of the limelight. It's a challenge to make sure that your band is moving forward and they're not out of the spotlight too long.
I think that a band can only do so much. I know it's a really daunting task – "How can I conquer Atlanta? How do I become popular and well-known there?" Well, it's an even bigger task to do that regionally or nationally. I don't think a band can get to the regional or national level without additional help. So the biggest thing a manager does, in my opinion, is break you out of your home market and into a bigger market.
I think the key, besides just networking and getting [a band's] name out there, is grassroots promotion. There are so many tools that people can use to break a band now, including MySpace and movie and TV placement. ... With one of my artists, we even use a reps program, where reps across the nation go into high schools and sell CDs. You have to be creative, and it's different for every band.
It's hard to explain what I do, because I do something completely different for each person. I think you have to listen to the artists. Every artist wants something different. One artist wants to be on a label and make a ton of money. The other artist wants all their creative control, and they don't want any label or anyone to have any input. Another artist doesn't care about being in a studio, they just like touring. Every person is different.
Music Issue 2007
Georgia Music Directory 2007