Managers & When to Get One
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
There are numerous tasks when keeping up correctly with an artist and their career. From Connections to appearance to analytics and even booking, one would need help to properly handle the business aspect of a music career. A manager can be everything you need when it comes to this. A manager will literally manage your expectations,desires and other miscellaneous road bumps along the way. That is why choosing and vetting the right manager is crucial to growth in your music career.
A manager will give you the professional look you need to establish yourself or your brand. A manager usually has connections most people just can’t create, thus creating opportunity for their artist. You want a great manager and a manager wants a great artist.
That being said, i should mention, you need to know WHEN to start looking for a manager. At the very beginning , most of these deeds can be done yourself since the fan base might not be too big to control. An artist should build his brand from the ground up and allow a manager to expand it. It is very hard for a manager to get exposure for his artist when that artist has not generated any buzz on their own. You want to be your own manager to get the ball rolling, handle your own analytics, research your fan base and make connections. You want enough “clout” that having a manager is beneficial to both parties, after all, managers do get paid according to your success. A growing fan base equals a manager motivated to make you bigger. After you've generated some buzz and have a small, but proper following, it is time to invest in a manager.
I use the word invest because it is exactly that. Not only do 99% of managers work on a contract that usually splits a percentage, but it will take a lot of your time and explaining skills for your manager to completely understand you and your wants. Artists and managers sometimes have what you call a test run. Meaning for a period of time a manager will show what he/she has or could have to offer an artist and why they should be hired. After the test run, artists have to decide on whether or not it is the right manager. A manager is someone you have to trust to make decisions for you. Major decisions will be consulted between the two, but smaller decisions or inquiries are left up to the managers.This is why who you choose should know best in regards to what you want, putting him/her in a position to decline or accept any offers thrown your way for your benefit. This is why communication, understanding and trust are vitally important. You want to make it as easy as possible for a manager to be a representation of you.
Let's dive into a little bit of what a manager is expected to do. Managers are the ones who deal with legal issues, cash flow, radio play, connections, and equally important, your brand coordination. Since this role handles legalities and technicalities it is a huge supporting backbone to your operation. When starting with a manager the brand is usually small enough where it is wiser to have the manager handle all of it.Later people can be hired for positions accordingly. A manager should provide structure for your dream and brand. They make sure there is a goal and an active way to get them done. It is their job to make sure your expectations are realistic and probable.They are also required to anticipate possible problems and have a solution ready while building relations. This usually takes up most of a manager's time. Building relations is what will get your brand bigger than you could have thought. Your manager should also be very well versed in the music industry opening doors for music execs to know who you are as well as provide resources for videos etc. Whoever fills this position will need to be very versatile and have a sense of urgency when handling most matters.
The manager position is also the spokesperson and gatekeepers for artists. They are the first and last line of defense for you. Everything goes through them which requires a total alignment of trust and transparency. This position is responsible for building and coordinating the rest of the team. The team is a bunch of moving parts and the manager makes sure everyone is doing their part. Most times the team is chosen by the manager, as he/she would know who would be most efficient in their prospective roles. Managers are also responsible for making sure these partnerships are working for the benefit of the artist and if not, they are to be replaced accordingly. These deals and partnerships are a big key to your career.
An overlooked but huge role for a manager is artistic direction. By now your manager has hired an A&R for your team. This does not mean only the A&R can help you market your creativity. Most times the manager has to push for your creative wants to an A&R and will fight for your vision. A manager will also help the artist choose what he wants and lets the artist know how possible or not possible the idea is. Not to forget, the manager is who coordinates video drops and song drops as well as tour strategy. Being strategic is the epitome of a great manager.
A successful manager fills in the gaps as needed. A manager should and will step up in any area that is lacking. This position very easily can handle all the administrative stuff. From packing up the stage after a performance to running the merch booth when and if needed. They handle payroll and spread money evenly for video shoots and marketing. They provide a professional look to your untamed creativity in your career.
Keep in mind this investment requires capital. Managers usually make anywhere from 5-20 % of revenue depending on the artist and agreement. This might or might not include travel and food fees. Be wary, but don't be hesitant if you truly know you need a manager. Having the right manager could be the best investment you might ever make. Knowing when to get a manager will be all the difference.
Remember , you want to do as much as you can on your own before seeking a professional manager. When you decide it's the right time for one, be sure to research and build a relationship with your selection. Choose which person you feel will have your best interest aligned with what will help you succeed.
Choosing a manager should not be a decision made lightly but confidently. Now that you know what should be expected of a manager you're on your way to finding the right one to expand your brand .