The Artistry of Commitment

Through my time as an artist manager, I have found the term commitment to be taken very lightly by many artists & musicians. I’m not sure why, but many feel like that word doesn’t apply to them. For some reason, many artists feel like they get a “free pass” allowing them to make commitments and not honor them. It’s been surprising to experience this disregard for commitment even with some Christian artists & musicians.


Websters Dictionary’ s Definition of Commitment

com·mit·ment noun \kə-ˈmit-mənt\

: a promise to do or give something

: a promise to be loyal to someone or something


God’s Definition of Commitment  (taken from the Bible)

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:5-8 ESV)


I have personally witnessed an artist purchase merch from a vendor on credit, sell the merch and then stiff the vendor. Others have taken money from record labels to make a record and then walked away from contract obligations of supporting the record. We have had artists not pay us on commissions owed from shows and other income with total disregard. In talking with other artist managers, I have found many of them with similar experiences. One would be arrested if they walked into a retail store where they committed to purchase something and then walked out with the item without paying. Why then would they treat record labels, management companies and merch companies differently?

It appears parents & society are failing in teaching our children what commitment actually means. How a person treats a commitment is a direct reflection of their character, integrity, morality and humanity. The artist community has an incredible opportunity to show others what commitment means as it is an integral part of their artistry.

What does your Artistry of Commitment look like?

Keith Stancil currently serves as President/CEO for Artist Garden Entertainment, an artist management and music marketing company. He spent the last twenty years in sales and marketing roles with Capitol/EMI. Warner/Elektra/Atlantic and Word Entertainment.