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Dave Cronen's Manifesto for Artist Management: The Art and Science of Nurturing Talent

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

For over four decades, Dave Cronen has been a guiding force in the world of artist management, shaping the careers of iconic figures and influencing the landscape of popular culture. From the vibrant days of Virgin to the indie spirit of Rough Trade, Play It Again Sam (PIAS), and Grand Royal Records, his journey has been relentless dedication and a keen understanding of the delicate balance between art and business.

Cronen's legacy spans many renowned artists, from The Beastie Boys to Johnny Marr, Ash, We Are Scientists, Dexys, and Baxter Dury. His repertoire includes collaborations with Ivor Novello Award winners, Oscar nominees, and NME Godlike Genius Award recipients. Beyond the limelight, Cronen has committed to mentoring the next generation of artists, producers, and entrepreneurs at the esteemed Academy of Contemporary Music.

Studio 3, RAK Studios, St John's Wood, London - An Epicenter of Creativity.

The Cronen Manifesto: Five Pillars of Artist Management Excellence

1. Dedicated Work Ethic and DIY Sensibility

In Cronen's world, a dedicated work ethic and a hands-on, Do-It-Yourself sensibility are the linchpins of successful artist management. Steering someone else's career demands serious commitment, persistence, and care. Cronen recalls the early days of "The Only Way Is Up" by Yazz and the Plastic Population, where success meant sitting on a sidewalk, assembling vinyl records to meet overwhelming demand. For Cronen, success results from relentless effort and a willingness to go the extra mile.

2 Time waits for no one

Cronen's manifesto implores artists and managers to take the long view. Building an artist's career requires patience and a focus on creating exceptional material. The emphasis is on developing a unique talent and brand, engaging fans through targeted campaigns, and optimizing revenue streams. As Cronen notes, leading by example means being proactive, embracing innovation, learning from failure, and staying relevant in a rapidly evolving industry.

Dave Cronen, Mat Bancroft, and Jonathan Burns experimenting with Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality device to envision the future of music making. Studio 3, RAK Studios, St John's Wood, London.

3 Empathy As A Driving Force

Empathy lies at the core of artist management, according to Cronen. Managers must see through the eyes of the artist, putting their life and work first. This involves a social conscience, authenticity, and a commitment to artists whose work resonates personally. It's about making smart decisions grounded in honesty, transparency, and trust, ensuring a manager's actions align with the artist's desires.

4 Building teams that make history

Cronen advocates fostering a creative atmosphere combining autonomy, focus, inclusivity, and meritocracy. Success begins with a shared vision and a big idea, with teams working collaboratively to turn dreams into reality. Cronen reflects on the elation derived from being part of a skilled, diverse, and committed team united by a common purpose—the greater good of bringing an artist's work to the forefront of popular culture.

"Creativity in the Digital Age" shoot. Studio 3, RAK Studios, St. John's Wood, London. Left to right: James Fisher, Ben Thornley, Dave Cronen, Mat Bancroft, Roy Sharples, Jill Furmanovsky, Steve Franklin, Olly Wiggins, Malcolm Smith, and Jessie Deol.

5 Communicate with clarity For success

Communication is paramount in an industry built on relationships. Cronen emphasizes the importance of clarity, inspiring optimism, creativity, and growth. Success, in his view, comes from driving innovation and relentlessly pursuing meaningful outcomes. In a relationship-based business like the music industry, clear communication is not just a skill but a foundation for building and maintaining connections at all levels.

Dave Cronen, Mickie Most's office, RAK studios, St John's Wood, London.

Dave Cronen's manifesto encapsulates the essence of artist management—a delicate blend of artistry and business acumen, a commitment to excellence, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of music. It's a blueprint for those navigating the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the music industry.

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Music composed and performed by Iain Mutch


Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins Creative Studios, is in the fight against unoriginality by unleashing creative bravery. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photo credit: Brian Smale

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

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