In the fast and competitive music industry, talent alone isn’t always enough to stand out and shine. You need an experienced and skilled music manager to guide your career trajectory, and help you navigate the challenges of this cluttered industry and find the right opportunities. But how to get a music manager to partner with you on this tumultuous journey.
If you are an upcoming musician, you are in the right place. In this post, we will discuss the steps you need to take to find the right music manager! Read on to know more.
How to Find a Good Music Manager — 8 Crucial Steps
Whether you are a beginner musician or seasoned artist looking for your next big break, follow these steps to find the right music manager!
1. Understand a Music Manager’s Role
In the fast-paced and crowded world of music, a music manager acts as a bridge between an artist and other areas of the business.
They wear multiple hats, managing everything from contract negotiations to strategic career planning. Here’s a quick list of roles a music manager can play:
- Business Manager: Your music manager will typically take the lead on all your business dealings. This includes ensuring you get the best deals, negotiating contracts with record labels, ensuring fair compensations, managing booking, and so on.
- Career Strategist: Apart from managing your business-related chores, your music manager will also manage your overall career direction. This includes deciding which music producers you will work with or which songs to release, determining the best time to launch a tour or perform at a live show, and so on.
- Public Relations Manager and Image Consultant: Your music manager will mostly have a say in your public image. They may advise you on a variety of things, such as public appearances, press conferences, social media presence, and so on.
- Network Connector: Music managers typically have deep industry connections. Therefore, they can introduce you to music producers or other influential people in the industry.
- Financial Advisor: An experienced music manager will have a sound understanding of the financial aspects of the music industry. They can guide on your investments, budgeting, and understanding the financial implications of contracts and deals.
- Support During Crisis: In times of crisis such as a PR disaster or canceled show, your music manager will often step in to tackle the situation and steer you through the challenging situations.
- Emotional Support: The music industry can be pretty demanding. Therefore, having someone who understands and supports you can be invaluable.
2. Know the Key Differences Between a Music Manager, Music Agent and Publicist
Beyond understanding the role of a music manager, it’s essential to differentiate between the responsibilities of a music manager, music agent, and publicist. Let’s dive into a brief comparison!
|Music Manager||Music Agent||Publicist|
|Key Role||Provides overall career guidance and strategic decisions (collaborations, song release, etc.)||Secures work for artists (contracts, live performance, tours, etc.)||Manages an artist’s image and relationship with the media|
|Way of Working||May represent one artist or several artists; some work with larger management firms while others operate independently||Are mostly a part of larger talent agencies that represent multiple artists; can also work independently||Can work for PR firms/agencies or record labels’ can also work independently|
|Regulation||Do not require licenses to operate in most cases; their contracts with artists can be binding and intricate||Require licenses to operate; requirements can vary across countries and states||Usually have a background or degree in communications or journalism|
3. Evaluate (or Rethink) Your Requirement for a Manager
As an artist or musician, it is important to determine the right time to hire a music manager. It’s not about attaining certain goals or reaching a certain level of fame; it’s about recognizing when you can truly derive maximum benefit from professional management.
Here are some indicators that suggest you might need a music manager:
- You are finding it increasingly challenging to manage your burgeoning responsibilities.
- You have defined the goals for your music career but are not sure how to achieve them.
- You are struggling to handle your expanding finances (and are ready to afford an experienced music manager).
4. Research Thoroughly and Create a List of Potential Managers
We recommend using digital channels as well as traditional networking to find potential music managers to suit your needs.
Here’s a quick checklist of approach you can use to find potential contacts for the music manager role:
- Word of Mouth: The music industry operates a lot on personal connections. Therefore, you can ask fellow artists, music producers, or other contacts about recommendations for music managers in their circles.
- Events: Attend music events such as seminars, conferences, launches and panel discussions. These events typically host good music managers as attendees or speakers.
- Social Media: Use social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to find the profiles of music managers. Many managers leverage these platforms to showcase client testimonials and discuss industry happenings/trends.
- Manager Directories: We also suggest scanning through online databases and directories related to music managers. These resources can be a goldmine for finding music managers who align with your goals and vision. Some music directories you can explore are Music Business Worldwide (MBW) and ManagersPro.
5. Create a Compelling Pitch to Bring Them Onboard
Once you have found some potential contacts for the music manager’s role, draft a compelling pitch outlining your achievements and vision. Remember, your pitch will be your first impression on the potential candidates.
Music managers regularly receive multiple inquiries from artists and musicians looking to hire them. Your pitch will determine whether a potential manager will engage with you further or simply move to the next pitch.
Keep the following things in mind when preparing your pitch:
- Avoid generic messages and keep it concise.
- Reference each candidate’s current or past clients in the past to demonstrate that you have performed thorough research on their background before contacting them.
- Explain why the candidates would be an exceptional fit for your career aspirations and music styles.
- Highlight your achievements, such as notable awards or mentions, outstanding performances, and so on.
- Share your long-term vision to help the candidates understand what you are seeking in the partnership and your direction.
- Include a crisp bio and high-quality professional photographs.
- Embed links to your music or video samples.
Here’s a sample pitch (or rather a template) from an artist to a potential music manager. The names, titles, and references in the pitch are entirely fictional.
|Subject: Emerging Indie Artist Seeking Strategic Management|
I’m Eric Carlton, an indie singer-songwriter with more than 300,000 streams on Spotify for my latest EP, “XYZ” and overall 800,000 subscribers on YouTube. Inspired by artists like The Smiths and Imagine Dragons, I blend indie-pop to create a unique sound that’s been featured on Pitchfork.
I’ve been following your work with Robin Watson and I deeply admire your approach to artist development. I firmly believe that under your kind guidance, I can navigate the next phase of my career, aiming to release a full-length album in the next year.
Would you be open to a conversation to discuss a potential partnership? I’ve attached my portfolio and samples for a deeper dive into my work.
[email protected] | (123) 456-7890
6. Ask Questions to Align Expectations and More
When considering a partnership with a potential candidate for the music manager role, you must ask questions to:
- Assess the potential manager’s commitment and willingness to invest energy and time into your career
- Clarify expectations and build alignment for a smooth partnership
- Evaluate compatibility and expectation match
- Determine their background and experience
- Know their network and potential opportunities they can bring to the table
- Discuss compensation, fees, and other financial arrangements
- Evaluate risks by discussing their past challenges and problem-solving methods
- Gather their feedback on your current your status in the music industry
- Build trust in the client-manager relationship
Sample Questions to Ask a Music Manager
- Can you tell me about some of the artists you have managed in the past?
- How did you navigate complexities with previous clients?
- Do you specialize in any particular genres or markets?
- How do you see my music career progressing in the next three years?
- Do you have any ideas for elevating my current status in the industry?
- What’s the typical duration of your contract?
- How is your compensation structured?
- How do you handle conflicts or disagreements with your clients?
- What do you believe sets you apart from other music managers?
- How many artists are you currently managing?
7. Establish Roles and Responsibilities Clearly
Once you are satisfied with the manager’s responses to your questions and have decided to hire them, clearly establish roles and responsibilities to ensure a more effective working relationship.
Clearly outline the manager’s responsibilities, whether it’s related to the overall strategy, promotions or bookings.
You also need to keep in mind where your manager’s duties end and where your own begin.
8. Finalize the Deal
When it’s time to seal the deal, negotiate contract terms and ensure they protect your interests. Both you and your music manager should be candid about your expectations, concerns, and any potential challenges you foresee.
Every element of the deal, from the manager’s agreement duration to their commission rate should be clear to both the parties. We strongly recommend working with a legal professional to draft the contract.