Now that you’ve got a solid band, and some songs to back you up it’s time to look for a manager. Of course, you could try managing your own band, but if you want to get places and make money, searching out a good music manager is essential.
The band manager’s responsibilities include financial planning, publicity and marketing and acting as your personal advisor in all band-related business ventures. There are many qualities you can look for when looking for an excellent manager—someone who will stand by your band and help you find success.
When you’re first starting off you may come across or be approached by potential managers looking to get into the business. While it’s always great to help a friend out, you need someone with the experience and knowledge of how to make it in the music business. Music management covers everything from booking your tours to making sound business decisions, choosing your label to helping you pick out the right songs to put on an album—and everything in between.
Check your potential manager’s roster, and see what other artists they’ve managed or are currently managing. Ask a lot of questions about their plans and aspirations for your band, and make sure they’re not just talking out of their backside.
Your music manager will take care of nearly everything for you, from transportation to bookings and beyond. Choose someone you feel good about, and know that you can trust with your career. If you’re not 100 per cent sure, keep looking. The trust factor has to be mutual for this relationship to work.
Some of this you can rely on gut instinct, and some of it you can attribute to the above category: experience. Ask yourself if this is the person you’d trust to run your life for you, transport you around the world, and book packed shows. Do they seem humble, but able to stand their ground against pushy salespeople and promoters? See how they conduct other business relationships.
Your manager will act at times as part of the band, helping you to pick songs for the album as well as marketing your product! You want someone who is excited to be there, and is interested in the music you’re making. Your music manager’s input, especially if they have experience in the business, can be essential in getting radio play or press coverage. A great manager wants to be there with you every step of the way, kind of like a dad.
This can tie into experience. A music manager with good connections in the industry will not only get your career going faster but will also lend to better publicity, and ins for live performances. They should be able to find you a studio, a booking agent, PR rep or a gig without any wasted time. Someone with good connections, and this means good connections and not just being able to rattle off a list of names, will be able to find you opportunities you would not be able to find yourself.
5. A Good Human Being
This factor can often be overlooked when choosing a music manager. Someone who is a good human being, is liked by people and is accessible and approachable signifies a person who will be trustworthy and reliable. Oftentimes a band manager will step in and act as the cheerleader, psychiatrist and shoulder to cry on, and someone who does this well will make your whole team feel closer. A close knit team is solid and can withstand hardships.
6. Financially Responsible
Pick a manager who knows how to handle finances, above all else. Many, many bands have unfortunately lost a lot of money because of irresponsible financial management. This includes everything from signing with a label, to touring and recording expenses, to their own cut in your income.
A music manager makes their money from part of your income. If you don’t see any money, then they shouldn’t either. Do not get wheeled and dealed into some contract that offers them more than you receive.
7. Firm Business Person
Experience will bring a manager knowledge of how to make sound and profitable business decisions. Personal traits, education and good business instincts may be the difference between your band making it or breaking up. Make sure your manager is not a push over, or has the overeager need to please—unless it’s you they’re dealing with. Choose a manager who knows how to get what they want, where they want and when they want it. Negotiation skills are key.
Above all, you want a manager who will work with you and has your best interests at heart. This can be a lifelong relationship, so think of your manager like family. How will they fit in and lead your group to success? By looking for these seven essential traits and skills you’ll be on your way to not only making great music, but great music that everyone hears.