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DJ Tigerlily on labels, management and being a signed artist

We recently chatted to DJ Tigerlily about being and becoming a disc jockey, touring internationally and how in the heck you become the kind of person who wears blue/green hair and gets away with it.

While with her, we took the time to pick her brain about management and becoming a signed artist. How big of a deal is it? Is it a deal? When should we do it? Here’s Tigerlily with the low down:

The Footnotes: How did you become a signed artist?

DJ Tigerlily: It takes a lot of hard work!

I signed to Universal about 18 months ago so that was my first record deal. Although I had released music through One Love and Ministry of Sound prior to signing with Universal.

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FN: Do you have any advice for musicians and DJs looking to sign a deal?

T: It’s important to not jump into management or getting a label behind you straight away.

What’s more important is that you have a fundamental understanding of your brand, your music, your sound, your look, and a whole heap of music and performing experience behind you before you sign to a label.

I still think that these days, from my experience, signing to a label may not always be the best option.

There are lots of artists choosing the independent route and think that’s great because it provides more control to release music when and where they want.

FN: How important to your career is having the right type of management?

T: If you’re going to have a manager, they need to be flippin’ amazing because you pay them quite a bit of money to work for you.

Having a good manager is fundamental. In saying that, if you’ve got a manager that isn’t doing a good job, they’re just going to create problems for you.

I was lucky enough to have a great manager for the first four years of my career but I’ve now chosen to manage myself which was a difficult decision but one that I’m extremely happy with.

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I’m at the point where I think being in control of my business – and the decisions that are being made for my business – is really important.

My advice to young DJs is that, no, you don’t actually need a manager. I would suggest you don’t get a manager for the first two years and just work on yourself, and your business. Then, when your business grows to a point where you need some help, that’s when you get a manager.

FN: Do I need an agent too?

T: Yes, they’re different things. The manager doesn’t book shows, the agents do.

I’ve got an agent in Australia, an agent in Asia, an agent in Europe, and an agent in America. They all look after their own territory which is important because, especially for gigs and shows, it’s very territory specific. Especially when you’re dealing with places like Europe where there are language and cultural barriers, so you need a great agent behind you for all those different territories.

DJ Tigerlily’s Good Manager checklist:

1. Contacts in the industry

2. Well-spoken and presentable

3. Diligent, trustworthy and understanding

4. Able to step up and play ‘the bad guy’ when needed e.g. contract negotiations.

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