Earlier this week, I attended a networking event of musicians, artists and promoters and a question that I heard very regularly was “Do you have management?”. A simply question sure, but it got me thinking, how successful can you be without management and why is that question so frequently asked. What makes a good manager and how does this help the development of an artist or band.
Here are my thoughts:
First and foremost, there are managers out on the music scene who have no idea about business and this is where many bands will fail straight away. A manager must firstly understand that their role is business development. Gone are the days when a manager would mainly scout for record deals. Today, the role has dramatically changed. Yes, we still scout for those all-important record deals but it is now largely spent creating visibility, creating a brand, negotiating and arranging appearances, press releases, generating income streams, managing social media, managing diaries and planning. It is not a simple 9 – 5 job. The work continues out of hours and is a commitment that is consuming. That said, the artist should choose their manager carefully; no manager is far better than a bad manager.
A manager becomes in effect a go between for the artist and the industry players who want to do business. It is great for the artist to concentrate on what they do best without having to spend vital time planning, phoning, talking and attending meetings. The more successful the band or artist become, the more time it takes to manage their career which takes them away from creativity.
This nicely leads on to time management and whilst the band should not in any way be excluded from the running of their career, they simple do not have time to craft a master plan and execute it alone. A manager should have exceptional time management and organisational skills and be able to communicate and deliver effectively and efficiently.
Success comes from working together and having a sound business mind. A music career is a business and should be treated as such. A manager can prove vital as a sounding board. They have a habit of turning a good idea into a successful one and will tell you if it is the worst idea you have ever had!
Of course you have your fan base and that’s great and exactly what you need. They will be the ones who buy your records and the ones who come to your gigs and we appreciate and value them, however, your biggest fan should be your manager. They need to be able to display enthusiasm and belief in what you do. They will be the one talking to promoters, booking agents, sponsors and the media. They will be the face of your business, the name they remember when they hear your name and they will be the difference in booking you or not. Relationship building is extremely important.
Finally, it seems that having a manager carries some kind of prestige. If a band or artist are good enough to have a manager then they must be of worth. It appears that most major labels won’t sign an artist without a manager. However, as already said, make sure you choose a manager that will work for you. When I see work, I mean on all levels. You need to be 110% confident that your manager will move heaven and earth to help you with your career. They need to have a business mind, they need to have some knowledge of the music industry and they above all need to have commitment.
"Any artist manages his own business along with his manager. Every band should" - Art Alexakis