Building a successful music career comes with its challenges and lots of decision making. So it’s sometime difficult to know if you’re getting things right.
Even in a DIY digital world, a good manager can still play an important role in advancing your career. But they’re not necessarily the first person you need on your team when you’re launching your career. In fact, it’s not uncommon to get a good accountant and lawyer onboard before you hire a manager.
A good manager wears many hats
A good manager is versatile – part adviser, negotiator, protector – and inevitability chief BS deflector. A savvy manager gets things done efficiently to help take your music career to the next level. Typically they:
• Provide advice on all aspects of your professional life
• Help you overcome music industry obstacles and avoid the pitfalls
• Use their network to find and leverage opportunities such as getting your next gig
• Negotiate deals and contracts
• Constantly re-evaluate your progress to plan for your bright future
• Run the day-to-day like booking shows, taking calls and planning recording sessions
• Can help you select other members of your team like booking agents and publicists
You might dream of having a dedicated Pat ‘The Manager’ Corcoran type to catapult you into the spotlight like Chance the Rapper. But in reality, most managers won’t consider your project until you’re already a more established, successful artist or band. No surprise, considering they typically take a 10-20% of your earnings minimum – so it’s understandable most are interested in prospering artists.
In actual fact, managers typically seek out artist or bands, not the other way around. And while it’s true managers may be able to get you noticed, booked in studios and touring more, they can’t make you popular. Remember, they’re not the key to kickstarting your career. You are!
At the start of your career, managing yourself is a great way to fully understand what managers do, recognise your specific needs and the type of hustler you need as an artist or band. Self-managing also saves some serious cash, until you actually really need a manager.
When you’re starting out, there are plenty of things you can do to ramp up your reputation and increase your fanbase to grab a manager’s attention and showcase your success. Besides the obvious making music, you need to:
• Get out there – network, gig and be front-and-centre as an artist or band
• Develop an active fanbase and interact with them via social media
• Be available to people interested in your music – fans, media and, of course, potential managers
Before you hire a manager
Already getting gigs, doing albums and even making money with your music? Well done! As a more experienced, thriving artist or band, you’re no doubt already on the radar of people in the music industry.
You should see your manager as another member of your team. So just like when you’re collaborating with your crew, be clear about what you want to achieve and how you want to do it.
A contract clearly outlining the terms and agreements between you and your manager is standard – and should benefit and protect both of you. Normally it identifies the duration of the agreement, the terms and period of the manager’s commission and who collects the money.
Most management contracts are one year with an option at the end of that year to renew. However, before you sign anything, ensure you understand all the details and financial implications of the contract. Checking with your accountant and lawyer is also worthwhile – just to be safe.
We’ve got you. Head over to the spinnup blog or download one of our free guides for even more info and advice about taking your music career further.