Short Definition: The manager is someone Looks at the big picture for the career of the musician, setting long-range goals on their behalf. They are also responsible for overseeing others who participate in the career of the artist.
Long Definition: You will definitely need a manager once you’ve obtained a record deal. Your music manager will help your record label in their efforts to distribute and promote you. Are you ready to have a music manager? You’ve been doing tons of shows & you’ve sold a few thousand CD’s. Lately it seems like you are handling more & more business. Sooner or later you are going to want to hire a music management company to take care of things so that you can concentrate on your music & recording. Don’t underestimate how much business & administrative work there is to do in the music industry. If you get picked up by an inexperienced music manager that has no idea how to manage a successful artist your record label will replace him / her. Most successful record labels will require you to have a successful manager. A successful music manager can also help you acquire a record deal with a well-known record company. You will need to make sure that your manager is qualified & can lead you in the right direction.
This section will help you identify what you are looking for in a manager. These days a lot of artists choose their friends to be their manager. This is not the best idea unless of course your best friend is Doc McGee. It is very important that you choose your music manager wisely & get everything in writing in order to protect yourself from getting screwed. Picking the right music management company may take some time so you will need to be patient. Managers can do many things for you as well as provide creative direction and manage your finances. Your music manager should have extensive knowledge in the music industry. He/she should have experience in your genre. A great music manager will always have a fair and un-constricting contract. It is very important that you don’t go with a manager that has too many other acts. If you are not a priority you will not get the attention that you will need & it will be much harder to succeed in the music industry financially.
WHAT PERCENTAGE DOES A MANAGER GET?
Make sure that your manager is a legit music manager & not just some tired dreamer without a work ethic. The music industry is a tough nut to crack & everyone is not capable of dealing with the trials & tribulations. There is a set rate of 15-20% that managers should receive in exchange for their services. This percentage is deducted from your gross income. Management contracts are usually no longer than two years with an option to extend that time if the manager gets you a record deal & is exceptional at taking care of business. There should be an agreement that at any time either party can terminate their relationship. Music managers can and will sometimes act as an investor if he/she really believes in you. If your package is not up to par, they will do the things necessary to bring your package to a certain level of professionalism. This includes photography, recording, mastering & biography. It is your business Managers job to handle anything administrative and financial including publishing deals, royalties, recording, public relations, publicity and promotion.
Remember it is your business Managers obligation to get you work. This is nowhere near a perfect world, so you need to acquire enough information about the music industry so that you do not put all of your trust in your manager. You should definitely research and discuss things together. Since you will be doing business worldwide make sure that your Manager only gets commission for the deals that he makes in the country that he does business in. When you expand to overseas you will need to hire co-managers to help your manager in that region. The contract that you have with your manager should also state if they are your management for other areas of the entertainment industry as well. It is not unlikely for musicians to become actors and vice a versa. It will also be your Managers job to keep accurate accounting records to ensure that no one is being ripped off. Music Managers role is somewhat sophisticated these days so it would not be a bad idea to make sure that they have taken a course in Music Management. Music managers have a lot of responsibility including development, getting a booking agent for tours, developing a great promotional package, creating the artists image including wardrobe & stage presence, getting the artist a web site, songs, producers, studio time, publishing, publicity, etc.
DO YOU NEED A MANAGER?
All artists need management! My first break as a music producer came when I started focusing my efforts on obtaining a successful music manager. I must have called & sent my music demo to every manager in the whole music industry. I didn’t only contact major music managers I also contacted independent managers. I received at least twenty calls from the two hundred demo submissions. The tracks that I sent must have been good because I received a ten percent response. Most of the artist’s managers that I talked to wanted to ask me if their artist or artists could use a track for a project free of charge. Being new to the music industry I didn’t want to turn down any possible situations. I knew that if some music industry insiders start talking about my songs good things will happen. One of the managers that I contacted became my manager. I soon learned that there are many other ways to capitalize off of music besides CD sales. My manager started getting my music placed in TV & Film projects. Every time my music was aired, I received a healthy check. I learned that managers could be great for your career. Music producers and music managers sometimes act as filters for the actual record label A&R people.
SUCCESSFUL MUSIC MANAGERS CAN GET YOU A RECORD DEAL
A&R people tend to listen to successful music managers & music producers’ opinions. If a successful well-known music manager sends a demo to a Record Label A&R person, the chances of the A&R person actually listening to the demo are extremely high. Record labels like when a successful music manager recommend an artist to them. This saves the A&R a lot of research when looking for new talent to sign. There are several things that the right music manager will be able to do, one of them is get you a record deal. When speaking with music managers you must be extremely professional. I remember speaking with Mathew Knowles a few years ago, for those that don’t know Mr. Knowles is Beyoncé’s father / manager. He answered his phone personally & was extremely polite and professional. This was right before Beyoncé released the hit single Survivor. I asked Mr. Knowles politely if he could listen to a few songs that I had recently produced. As soon as he said yes, I quickly verified that the address I had was correct and off the package went. I did this because I wanted him to shop the songs, I had produced to artists that he knew. I would never sign a contract with an inexperienced Music Manager because it is likely that they have no contacts in the music industry. I hope this information helps you!
A successful music manager or management company is one that handles a lot of administrative work for some of the top artists. Music managers that work for larger management agencies are extremely knowledgeable and are capable of turning new artists into profitable money-making machines. Music managers have the capabilities of shopping your music demo to the most successful Record Label A&R executives. A successful music manager will definitely take on a new act that they think will be able to get a record deal. Music managers look for talented artists much like artists look for rich record labels. It takes two hit songs to sell a hit record and it takes a lot of money to promote that record. That is all the music industry boils down to and music managers are only interested in the bottom line.
Music managers get a percentage usually ten percent of the artist’s profits. This is enough motivation for a music manager to find hundreds of ways for the artist to profit off of their music career. Make sure that you are ready before approaching a music management company. There are a few things you must have established before a successful music management company will give you a shot. If you are already an established recording artist, make sure that you choose the right manager that has experience in your genre. For example, you don’t want a rock manager with no experience in how to profit off of hip-hop music. There are some cases where it doesn’t matter; some managers can handle any genre. I feel that it is an important time saver to go after a particular management company based on the genre of music that you make. These managers are much more likely to have more contacts in that style of music. After you have chosen a few managers that may be interested in your music it’s time to contact them.
Now your music sounds great and your package is ready to send to your intended music manager. Make sure that you call your music manager contact before you send your demo. Ask them for permission to send your demo and make sure that you have the correct contact information and mailing address. There are some very legitimate music industry directories that contain music industry contact information. The most informative and inexpensive one is Contact Record Labels.
Now you’ve sent your demo to a manager or record label A&R that you have been dying to work with. What do you do now? Remember the saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease well it is true meaning you must follow up on the demo that you sent. There is a big difference between following up and being annoying. Wait a few days after you expected that your contact received the demo package and give them a call. Remember to be polite, to the point and professional. A successful A&R, Manager, Producer or Publisher doesn’t have any time to waste.