Musicians at the early stages of their career should consider getting an artist or music manager somewhere down the line, especially if they truly want to get a firm foothold in the industry. It’s tough building a career in music – there’s a lot of work to do.
You have to engage with fans, talk to promoters, radio stations and music journalists, get your official website up and fill it with relevant content and so on. All of these tasks may not leave you with enough time or energy to do what you do best: create music.
What an artist manager does
An artist manager handles the day-to-day business affairs so you can focus on being a musician. Managers do a lot of things, all of which aim to create opportunities for you. They come up with a strategy to steer you in the right direction.
Of course, it’s up to you to have a vision of what you want to become. Your manager would work with you, taking that vision, devising a viable plan of action and executing it.
Here are some of the things music managers do:
- Building a team, which includes booking agents, publicists, accountants, lawyers, radio trackers and other people who are necessary in making sure your career-building strategy is executed well
- Coordinating with and talking to labels, venues, promoters and other entities on your behalf
- Making sure taxes, scheduling, merchandise and other small business details are in order
- Track down sponsors, sync licensing, ad placements/endorsements and other income streams
- Introduce artists to industry people who may help in boosting their career
- Provide artists with advice about their next move and help them come up with sound decisions
- Give you credibility as a professional music artist
An artist manager can take care of all these things so you can have more time to keep improving your skills, rehearse with band members and create new music.
Finding a good manager
Management doesn’t come for free, which is why it’s important for you to find a good manager who will really take your vision into consideration and do what’s best for your career.
If you’re just getting started, it would be a good idea to enlist the help of your friends who can assist you in booking shows, setting up digital and radio distribution, booking a gig and so on.
If one or two of your friends are interested in entering the music industry themselves, they would be the best people to tap. Managing you will give them the experience they need, plus they’ll take the load of managing off your shoulders. You’ll both grow and learn the ins and outs of the music business, which is crucial if you want to make it big.
You can also do your homework and some legwork. Do some research about music managers in your area, check out who manages your favorite bands and artists, ask around for referrals. When you’re ready to go for established managers, you need to be prepared to pitch yourself to them.
If you already have a prospective manager in mind, give them the resources they need so they can get an idea of the kind of music you make and what you want to achieve. These resources should include music samples, a short bio, a list of gigs or venues where you’ve played and so on. If they express interest, set up a meeting so you can discuss your goals further and see if the manager is a good fit. Don’t be afraid to discuss your financial situation. Honest, open communication is key to establishing a good manager-artist relationship.
When you’ve found the manager you think would take your best interests to heart and help you build your music career, it’s time to draw up and sign a contract. Make sure all parties involved understand what the contact entails. If in doubt, seek legal advice.
We hope this helps give you a better idea of what artist managers can do for you and your career. If the burden of managing yourself gets in the way of your creative process, hiring a manager can be your next best move.