Navigating the Role of a Music Manager: Do you need one to succeed?

Have you ever marveled at a band or musician’s meteoric rise to fame as they show the world their incredible talent? Of course, you can’t help but be impressed by how talented they are. But you need to realize that to achieve this goal, there are lots of people supporting your idols, including a music manager who pulls the artist’s success together. These unsung individuals play a crucial part in an artist’s success by helping them navigate the treacherous waters of the music industry.

I already know what you wanna say. Now that musicians have more tools than ever before at their disposal to self-promote, the question arises: is it still necessary for an artist to have a music manager? 

This article will go into the realm of music managers, discussing what they do, the value they add, and whether or not they are necessary for today’s dynamic music industry. Grab your backstage ticket and come along as we explore the hidden world of music managers and their crucial role in aspiring musicians’ careers. 

Who is an Artist Manager?

In the music industry, a band or solo artist is represented by a manager. Managers work with their clients to further their careers by negotiating contracts, booking tours, and introducing their clients’ songs to producers and label executives.

What exactly does an artist manager do?

Working with a music manager can open doors for you that you wouldn’t be able to open on your own. What can a Manager do for you besides give you the ego boost while saying, “Speak to my Manager?” (Also, please, avoid this phrase) When agreeing to work together, it’s crucial to have an accurate picture of what to expect from the partnership.

When it comes to managing their customers’ businesses and careers, excellent managers must wear several hats. They’re responsible for a variety of things, such as:

  1. Marketing. With an eye toward the most recent developments in music and popular culture, a manager should assist in shaping a musician’s public persona.
  2. They are taking care of contracts. Contracts in the music industry are notoriously tricky to negotiate. Artist management entails a lot of consulting and bargaining on behalf of the client. Managers are vested in securing favorable terms for their clients since their livelihoods depend on the client’s performance.
  3. Organizing tours. Organizing a tour involves a lot of moving elements, so you’ll need to be a master planner. Managers ensure a successful tour by securing performances at desirable locations and in desirable markets.
  4. Music promotion. A manager’s job is to increase an artist’s exposure by including them in relevant music blogs, magazines, etc.
  5. Budgeting. Managers who are worth their salt will surround their artists with a crew to assist them manage their money and control tour and production costs.

Administrative tasks including managing cash, negotiating contracts, and organizing shows, are commonplace for any manager, regardless of the scale of their artist’s career. They may also manage the day-to-day activities of an artist, advising them on anything from song selection to stage costume.

What your manager shouldn’t do

Managers in the music industry don’t have any say in what their clients do. They do not dictate to them how they should behave or live. They don’t intervene too much in their jobs. Instead, they focus on empowering their clients via education and advocacy while respecting their autonomy.
They aid creative people in realizing their full potential and goals, but they do not exert any form of authority over them.

When is the right time to find a manager?

Before you can get a Manager to help you with these career-building moves, though, you have to show that you’re already working hard and need someone with more experience to take you to a higher level. 

Signing with a Manager may be as tricky as getting a record contract. Finding a potential new management partner doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need a lot of effort (not to mention smart work).

Some of the situations in which I think it is necessary to employ a manager are as follows:

Your music is on point
Maybe you’re a music producer who started in your parents’ basement and now has songs that are making a new artist’s name known, or perhaps you’re an up-and-coming musician who has found their musical voice and is receiving positive feedback from audiences who aren’t members of their family. Whatever the situation, it’s obvious that there’s a fantastic product on the market. The next step is to find a representative to pitch to record labels, talent agencies, and production companies.

The Interest Factor
If your music is making waves in the business, you’ll want to work with a competent manager who can steer your career in the correct direction and protect you from the avalanche of requests that are sure to come your way. A good manager can assist you to avoid several professional traps, including poor deals that might harm your career advancement if you don’t see the warning signs.

Art versus Commerce
When the music industry becomes too demanding, it can be challenging to focus on improving your craft because of the time spent on tasks such as keeping track of your daily schedule (recording, performing, writing, etc.), making important decisions about your career, and communicating with various executives. Instead, as a creative person, you should prioritize being creative and investing time and energy into honing your musical and artistic skills.

Expanding Your Network
If you’ve been handling everything on your own and are hitting a wall getting past the proverbial industry waiting room, it might be time to hire a manager. 

How to find your perfect Manager?

  • Make a name for yourself. This is the first step towards getting a manager. You won’t have any use for management until you start scheduling shows and getting listeners. Having no representation can make it difficult to get through to the next level, but most respectable managers will want you to put in some effort before they sign you. 
  • After you’ve established yourself as a musician, networking with other professionals in the field is crucial. Having a strong online profile might help you be noticed by hiring managers. 
  • It’s crucial to pick the perfect Manager for you, and there are many different types to choose from. Some Managers are self-employed people that manage a small list of performers. Some managers work for famous multinational corporations. Get down with the Manager and ensure your vision for your future in music and theirs are in sync.

What skills should you be looking for in your manager?

The skill set of an artist manager is broad. Your Manager must be well-organized and proactive and know their way around the music business inside and out. Their duties will include marketing you and keeping up with your ever-changing schedule in addition to booking performances. Don’t forget about strong communication and negotiation skills.  

First and foremost, your Manager needs to have a real love of music and confidence in your talent as an artist. 

Check out Remote Music Producer jobs on Jooble

How Much Money do you have to pay? 

Although most people are aware of what an artist manager does, they might not know how much they make. Managers of musical artists usually take a 10-20% cut of their clients’ income. This percentage is calculated as a percentage of the artist’s total gross revenue, which includes things like concert ticket sales, album sales, and merchandise purchases. 

Manager compensation is often discussed and agreed upon at the outset of any working partnership with an artist. If their client hits a key career milestone, like landing a recording deal with a major label or selling out a major concert venue, the manager may be eligible for a bonus payment. The amount may not seem like much at first, but over the length of a musician’s career, it may sum to quite a bit of money. If an artist makes $1 million in a year, for instance, the manager will receive $100,000 to $200,000 of that number as commission.

Also, managers may be compensated for more than just their commission if they take on other responsibilities, such as those of producer or booking agent. 

Legal aspects of getting a music Manager

While signing a contract with a music manager, it’s important to remember a few fundamentals. 

Overcomplicating things is unnecessary, especially if you’re an independent artist or a band. Don’t go too flowery; just make sure the money, responsibilities, and duration of the agreement are all laid down in writing. 

It needs to be a win-win for both parties. Do not sign away your future safety for the chance to learn from your Manager’s experience, no matter how long they’ve been in the field. A manager who has faith in you won’t pressure you to prove yourself. 

It must be signed in good faith; if either you or your management is searching for ways out before signing, that’s a red flag.

Additional Agreement Conditions 

The commission rate is a vital part of any management agreement, but there are many other terms equally (or more) crucial. The Manager and artist should have a thorough understanding of the contract’s terms, territory, and scope. 

Termination of the contract is just one of many topics that must be discussed and settled before work can begin. For example, if an artist fires their management, will they be obligated to give the manager redundancy pay? This sort of information is crucial for both sides to understand before entering into a contract. And the Manager can just up and leave one day, right? So, just make sure that your interests are protected.

Is there financial support for musicians from their managers? 

Managers often assist musicians in recording and touring. The manager may also take the form of a financial investor in the artist’s career. Although this is a terrific way to get your feet wet in the sector, not all managers are able to or willing to finance their customers. Having an open dialogue about goals and expectations before starting a business relationship with a manager is crucial. If you don’t, you can find yourself depending on assistance that never comes. 

If you need money from your manager, you should show him or her exactly how it will be spent and why it would be a win-win situation before asking for it. With some forethought, you can make sure that everybody is on the same page right away.

What are the disadvantages of hiring a manager? 

Working with music managers may be beneficial in many ways, but there are also some negatives to consider. 

There are a few downsides to working with music management, including: 

Hiring a music management company might be a financial burden for some musicians, especially those just starting out. 

The artist may be obligated to compensate the management for some of the promotional expenses expended. 

Some artists may feel their freedom and originality are being compromised when they work with a music manager. Sometimes a manager will try to influence an artist’s decisions or get in the way of their creative process.

So, do you need a manager?

A manager is someone who will be by your side in the music industry and your personal life. They should be expert networkers who can help you build connections that can advance your career as a musician and as a brand. 

This is why it’s vital that you don’t sign a contract with the first music management that contacts you. You shouldn’t settle for a manager just because you need one, and they’re better than not having one at all; instead, it’s better to take your time and choose one who is a good fit for your goals and who is interested in your success as a client.

But it’s also true that some artists choose the DIY path and don’t hire a manager. A manager’s knowledge and connections can be invaluable to an artist in many situations, but they aren’t always required. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh your options and figure out what’s best for you. Working under a manager might be beneficial if you are just starting out in your profession or if you are unsure of how to proceed in your chosen field. Yet, you might not need a manager if you know exactly where you want your career to go and are certain that you can get there on your own. The choice of whether or not to collaborate with a manager always rests with you.