For more than two decades, Kristin Lee has worked to help musicians, athletes, writers, actors and others working in entertainment to manage the business side of their craft. As the managing director and owner of KLBM, a Los Angeles-based international business management firm, Lee helps artists turn their dreams into sustainable lifelong businesses.
Lee recently joined John Gioia, City National senior vice president and team lead for Entertainment Banking, to discuss the role that business management plays in the entertainment industry.
Working as an entertainer or athlete often means following a passion rather than pursuing a job. However, with the right business management, the financial fruit of that labor of love can become a sustainable career that lasts throughout the individual's lifetime and beyond.
As entertainment business managers, Lee and her team handle “anything that touches clients' finances," she said. “We really try to work closely with our clients and dig into the financial aspects of their business and, sometimes, their personal lives too; sometimes those things really flow together. We help them make smart decisions to grow their empires."
While growing the empire is the big-picture goal of business management, on a day-to-day basis, business managers might be paying bills, collecting money and doing taxes for their clients, Lee said. Handling her clients' finances in a smart, responsible manner on a daily basis may eventually translate into helping them achieve long-term success.
“Artists today can't just put out a record and go on tour and expect that they're going to be successful," Lee said. “There are so many other aspects to the business and so many things they need to do to be dynamic and have staying power."
For example, an artist's financial success might also include sponsorships, contract negotiations, tax structures, and catalog copyrights or sales. To get all those pieces right, most artists, athletes and entertainers need a business manager.
As with any business, successful entertainment business management is “all about who you know," Lee said. For example, Lee often gets referrals and repeat business. As she works closely with entertainment management teams, she may bring almost all of their clients on as her clients as well, due to numerous referrals.
Just as Lee's clients often work with her for many years and refer her to their friends and acquaintances, she also appreciates her long-time relationships with organizations like City National Bank. She said the collaboration works so well because of City National's streamlined approach. “We have you guys, really, as part of our team," she told Gioia. “You guys understand our language, our needs, what our workflow is like."
When clients experience an emergency, Lee said she has peace of mind knowing that City National will understand and will do what it takes to find a solution. “We've got to get things done for our clients or the show really stops," she said. “Having everything under one roof makes City National feel like a little division of our company."
In the entertainment business, where it often feels like everything needs to be done yesterday, City National really shines, Gioia said.
“It makes the job so much easier, and more fun too, to get to work with people you really enjoy working with," Lee said.
Find out more about how City National helps with entertainment banking needs in this episode of Beyond the Spotlight, our series highlighting sports and entertainment professionals.
This video is for general information and education only and is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank. It is compiled from data and sources believed to be reliable, however City National Bank does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates given are those of the speaker as of the date of publish with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change.