Jab, Jab, Hook: On the Uselessness of Artist Managers

A manager cannot operate without a great artist to represent to the world. For all the connections, and influence, and rhetorical skill they might possess, it is useless without great talent that can prove itself over and over again live, and on record.

A good manager is like a boxer’s jab: it gives the other side a little taste of what’s to come, wears them down gradually, and creates the opening you need as an artist to come in swinging.

A good artist is the right hook: a powerful blow that leaves people floored. The flash and thrill and spectacle. The moment people remember.

Over 90% of the punches Muhammad Ali threw in his career were jabs. Managers take endless swings to open the space up for their artists to come in and deliver the knock-out punch. Not every combo is going to land, but if you keep throwing, you’re bound to get at least a few hits in.

It’s when you start pulling punches that you might find yourself up against the ropes and exhausted. There can be no relenting. There are no half attempts. It’s jab, jab, hook until you’re landing hits consistently every time you step in to the ring.

People want the knock-out. People want blood, and sweat, and tears.

In the grind of it you bleed together, you sweat together, and you cry together – in good and bad times. And you always keep swinging until somebody hits the mat.

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