About

Why I started Smartist University

Smartist University aka SmartistU (formerly Smart Band Management) is a resource created by me, Jamie New Johnson, that helps artist managers navigate the music business and advance their artists careers through the sharing of others’ experiences.

When I started managing my first band, I had no idea what I was doing.

I was surrounded by experienced managers, attended conferences and workshops (and even planned them myself!), Googled everything, but still felt like my questions weren’t being answered fast enough or succinctly enough. I often thought that if there was just one website that could tell me everything I needed to know in an organized, quick but detailed, step-by-step, and easy-to-understand format, then I’d be set! That’s not too much to ask, right?

But not only that, I also wanted to learn more about the worlds of successful artists and artist managers; their processes, their challenges, their failures, and their biggest lessons. I wanted to learn straight from the mouths of the best in the world that I didn’t have to fly to another Country or Province for, or wait 6 months and pay $600 to attend the next event for.

And there became the birth of SmartistU.

Your best place to start here at SmartistU, is to get your hands on the 10 best freebies you can ask for.

music business for artist managers book
Jamie New Johnson

Jamie New Johnson

Founder, Author

Ok so, who the heck is Jamie New Johnson?

I’m a retired artist manager, author, marketer, and educator from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I started my music industry career planning educational workshops with some of North America’s top artist managers, then moved on to manage commercial radio and internationally touring artists independently. I’m addicted to learning and love sharing what I learn with you here.

In my spare time you can find me taking hip hop dance classes, playing beach volleyball, binge watching whatever I set my mind to that month on Netflix, re-decorating my apartment, enjoying all the craft beers Canada has to offer, relaxing on the cottage dock, and telling myself I really need to go to the gym.

Check out the timeline below to learn a little bit more about my story!

Career Timeline

After graduating from Brock University with a Bachelors Degree in Arts & Culture Studies, I got my first job at the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival. It was the best first big-girl job I could ask for. I got to live at my family cottage on the lake and coordinate in-school arts programs, summer camps, and a small summer festival series in Canada’s best cottage country. On the weekends, I bartended at Muskoka’s famous concert venue, The KEE to Bala.

When my one-year contract was up with the festival, I moved back to Toronto and became the fundraising coordinator for the Canadian Music Centre.

I first got involved in the artist management world in 2011 when I got hired to run the operations of the Music Managers Forum Canada. There are over 25 MMF’s around the world and each of them provide networking, awards, advocacy, and education for music managers. It was my DREAM job.

Reporting directly to the board of directors (10 of Canada’s top artist managers), I managed the memberships, partnerships, marketing, communications, sponsorships, fundraising, financing, and events. The majority of the events were educational workshops for artists and managers to learn from expert artist managers. I was working with so many successful artist managers that it didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to be just like them.

So, I started managing my first band.

After two years at MMF, a year as a college teacher, and a 13-year history as a gymnastics, cheerleading, and trampoline coach, I realized that I had an innate desire to help people succeed. That, coupled with my passion for music, my experience in artist management, and a gap in the market place, I started my blog, Smart Band Management, now known as Smartist University aka SmartistU.

At the same time, I also realized that I had a strong desire to live in Western Canada, so I moved 3400km away from my hometown to the wonderful mountain-surrounded land of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In Calgary, I worked and consulted for educational music industry organizations such as Alberta Music and Music Calgary, and continued to independently manage and co-manage a handful of promising Western Canadian acts in rock, pop rock, pop, and r&b genres.

Gay Nineties were getting airplay on rock radio stations across Canada reaching #5, and getting nominated for radio awards; Sidney York were touring internationally and becoming quite a buzz band; The Wet Secrets won a radio-run artist development project earning them a cheque for over $100,000; and Jocelyn Alice had created a name for herself through a few major television and film placements. Exciting stuff for a new manager.

Toronto was calling my name again. My client Jocelyn Alice had decided to move to Toronto, and shortly after I decided to as well. In January of 2015 we released Jocelyn’s first single as a solo artist ‘Jackpot’ to Hot AC/Top 40 radio in Canada. It reached the top of multiple Mediabase, Billboard, Shazam, and iTunes charts, and by September 2016 it was certified Platinum (80,000 sales) in Canada. A nearly impossible feat for an independent Canadian artist in pop music.

After moving back to Toronto I decided to work out my editorial muscles a little more and became the managing editor for TopCountry.ca, Canada’s top spot for country music access. There, I interviewed the top country artists (umm, DOLLY friggen PARTON), wrote news, produced content, and managed partnerships.

Don’t let my love for country fool you. If you need a dance party playlist full of Bieber, Tove Lo, Major Lazer, and Rihanna; or some deep cut hip hop and R&B full of Travis Scott, Jazz Cartier, Bryson Tiller, or Kendrick Lamar, I’m your girl.

Follow me on Spotify to see what I’m listening to.

In April of 2016, I wrote and published my first book called The Music Business for Artist Managers & Self-Managed Artists: All You Need To know To Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get SignedI questioned and interviewed nearly 40 experts from all areas of the business in an effort to find out exactly how people prefer to be contacted and pitched, and how they decide to sign artists. I learned more through the researching and writing of that book than I had learned in the past 5 years prior.

Up until late 2017, I continued as an artist manager both independently as well as for Bumstead Productions, an artist management company (and former record label) having managed JUNO and GRAMMY Award-Winning Artists since 1979. Over the years the company represented artists such as k.d. lang, Big Sugar, Colin James, The Trews and Tim Chaisson, to name a few.

Independently, I launched the solo career of Country/Pop Artist, Tareya, 1/2 of JUNO and CCMA Nominated ‘Autumn Hill’.

In late 2017, SmartistU went from my side-blog to my main job, leading to my “retirement” as an artist manager.

2018 is an exciting year! Come socialize and smash goals with us!

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WHAT WE DO

We’re here to set you up for success, right from the start.

>> Get 10 FREE Templates & Guides for Management

Articles & Books

Whether it’s how to sign your first band, get your first manager, book your first record label meeting, or book your first tour, we’ve got you covered.

Expert Interviews

Each issue contains inspirational stories, how-to’s and actionable, tactical and strategic advice you can take away and apply to your own business.

Celeb Release Strategies

We track and analyze how celebrities market their album releases and summarize them into nice little timelines for you. They’ll get your creative juices flowing!

Ask Jamie

Ask Jamie features actual questions submitted by you! Each question and answer will be posted on the blog. Scroll down and click on contact to send your Q!

Documents & Systems

The Vault: Artist Management Toolkit 2.0, includes 100+ of the most important systems, plans, templates, and guides you need to start and grow your business.

Free Resources

Free downloadable resources include the music business plan, royalties 101, funding for Canadians, ultimate guide to becoming a manager, and so much more!