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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 10, Number 1 (2010)

Coping With Narcissism: Causes, Effect, and Solutions for the Artist Manager

Paul S. Linden
University of Southern Mississippi


Narcissism is a threat to longevity in the music business because it is aggravates a loss of self that is already at work in the cultivation of celebrity personalities and the staging of performances. The artist is particularly susceptible because of an increasing dependence on touring which is noteworthy due to prolonged absences from the anchoring effect of friends and family. Erving Goffman and Jacques Lacan theorize the situation in terms of an objectification of one commodified version of the self, subject to the gaze of a consuming public at the expense of another, innate sense of self secluded in the privatized, backstage space. Prolonged participation in this psychologically charged environment leads to a theoretical loss of self in which an idealized version is taken for the authentic one. The jeopardy of multiple selves and compartmentalization informs crisis scenarios in which professional and personal relationships are evaluated based on which identity is being affirmed. Artist managers recognizing signs and processes – including the role of substance abuse – invest in their client’s health and career by supporting high self-complexity, frequent communication and dissuading contingent self esteem.

Keywords: artist manager, artist management, self-esteem, narcissism, loss of self, substance abuse

Linden, Paul S. “Coping With Narcissism: Causes, Effect, and Solutions for the Artist Manager.” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 10, no. 1 (2010): 105-123. https://doi.org/10.25101/10.6

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