Music Artist Management- What You Should Know

Thousands of people at an event with flashy lights :Music Artist Management
Image by Yvette de Wit from Unsplash

Success in the music industry is not an easy feat. The competition is very steep, and talent alone is not a guarantee of success. It gets harder without the proper music artist management. Many renowned artists have fizzled out due to a lack of good music management. There is a lot a music manager can offer to the career of a music artist. 

From booking gigs, getting label endorsements to organizing tours, music managers have a lot to do with the rise and fame of any artist. They are a significant determinant of just how far an artist can go. Therefore, many big names in the music industry often attribute their successful careers to their managers. The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and multitalented music manager Troy Carter come to mind. 

In this article, we dish out everything you need to know about music artist management, what they do, and the secret to finding the right music manager to promote your musical career. 

  • What Is Music Artist Management About?
  • Who is a Music Artist Manager?
  • Traits of a Good Music Manager
  • Music Manager’s Contract
  • How To Find A Music Manager

What Is Music Artist Management About?

No matter how brilliant an artist is, they alone cannot handle all the work required to make it in the music industry. The networking, organizing, and promotions have to be done by someone with the know-how. 

Therefore, every artist needs a manager to help run other aspects of building a music career. Getting a qualified music manager to help sort out all the needs of a budding artist is referred to as music artist management.

It is a comprehensive role that promotes an artist’s image and works, building a solid social media presence, increasing the fan base, getting contracts and endorsement from well-known labels, and so much more. It is typically the backbone of any successful music career.

There’s also the aspect of overseeing music video production, organizing music tours, setting up a PR team, and finding a good booking agent. All these and more are what managing a musician entails. There are many other underlying roles in an artist’s career that a competent music manager can only fill. 

Who Is A Music Artist Manager? 

A music artist manager is a professional representative of an artist interested in advancing their musical career. Additionally, they have a firm grasp of how the music industry works and apply it to build an artist’s career. They play a managerial role and have an involvement in every aspect of the musician’s life. 

Some of the essential responsibilities of a music manager include: 

  • Improving The Artist’s Image: A Music Manager is responsible for developing an artist’s profile.This includes helping them grow a positive image through their dressing, public appearances, and social media platforms.
  • Negotiating Music Contracts: Facilitating music contract negotiations is a significant responsibility of any music artist management. Additionally,they serve as a guide for the artist in decision-making and ensure they get the best possible deals. 
  • Create other media opportunities: When you see musicians make appearances on TV or radio shows, it is typically the work of their music managers. They look for other media platforms to promote the brand and image of the artist. This could be through interviews, shows, online music streaming platforms, or featuring their music in ads or movies. 
  • Organizing Music Tours: Touring is an important marketing campaign for musicians. Music managers capitalize on this and work with booking agents to organize tours for the artist. Also,they are in charge of all the logistics, planning, and making sure everything moves according to schedule. 
  • Budgeting and Finance: Artists are not always involved in the minute details of preparing a budget or financing tours and other music projects; that’s the job of their managers. The music manager works in hand with a financial team or business manager to sort out money issue and ensure proper allocation of resources, tax preparation, financial statements.

Traits of a Good Music Manager 

Music artist management isn’t one of those careers you necessarily have to go to school for. What’s most important is gaining the right experience and exposure and putting it to good use. However, there are specific characteristics every good music manager ought to possess. They include: 

Tenacity

Doggedness and tenacity is a necessary trait for a music manager. Besides, securing endorsements and record label contracts is not an easy task and has the tendencies of rejections. However, this will not deter a good music manager. They are invested in the artist and will do everything to make them succeed. 

Interpersonal Skills

As a music manager, you will need to interact with many people. So, cultivating an intelligent, friendly, and memorable personality can be a massive advantage for you. 

Negotiating Skills

Every music manager is essentially a marketer. So, they are marketing their client’s music and brand to record labels and other organizations in marketing their client’s music and brand. They need to be good communicators and master the art of negotiations to get the best record deals for their clients. 

Interest in Music

Although not always a common trait, it is a crucial one. Therefore, the best music managers are the love their client’s music. They can easily develop a personal relationship with their artist and offer suggestions or critiques of their music. 

Music Manager’s Contract 

Drafting a contract for a prospective music manager is one of the first steps in music artist management. Management contracts vary, and In most cases, the managers have specific contracts with individual artists. However, there are universal factors included in every management contract, such as the manager’s commission, the duration of contract validity, and other terms and conditions. 

Managers Earnings/ Commissions

This part of the contract deals with how much commission the manager receives from the artist’s earnings. The commission is typically within the range of 15% – 20% of the artist’s total income. Most managers take this cut off the artist’s gross income (that is, total income without deductions), while others take theirs from the net income (although this isn’t common). 

Contract Terms

The term of a contract fundamentally deals with how long the management contract is valid. In most cases, the initial management contract lasts for three years (at most five years) with attached clauses for termination or continuation of the agreement. 

Specific performance goals can be tied to these clauses, and if the managers fail to meet up with them, the artist can terminate the contract. Likewise, the manager states financial goals that determine whether the agreement will continue or not. Many of these clauses are not rigid and are often subject to negotiations by both parties.

Other Important Conditions 

Here are some other important aspects of a management contract.

  • Commission Term: You must also state the duration of time the manager will receive a commission. Previously, most managers demanded full commission on all revenue generated by any contract entered before or during the term of their contract with the artist, and that could last for as long as 50 years. 

However, this has changed in recent times. Managers are now more inclined to accept what is popularly known as the “Sunset Clause.” The clause allows for managers to still receive the commissions but at a reduced yearly rate. That is, every year, the commission the manager will get reduces by a certain amount. 

  • Accounting, Auditing, and Expenses: It should be clearly stated in the contract who receives the money, whether it’s the manager, the artist, or a third party (like a business manager). In terms of expenses for any music project, it should also state who can withdraw from the bank account and their limit should. 
  • Power of Attorney: It should also state the amount of authority the music manager has about signing publishing or recording agreements on behalf of the artist. Most artists only give such rights after the manager has informed them of the agreement and its conditions.

How To Find A Music Manager 

Develop Your Craft

As an upcoming artist, no one will take a risk with you unless they see some potential in your music. As such, you need to constantly and consistently create good music, improve on it, and put it out there for the world to see. Go for as many public appearances as you can. You might find the right music manager at one of them.  

Network and ask for Referrals

However, even as you create good music, make sure you make connections in the music industry. Go out of your way to network with other musicians and let them know you are searching for a manager to boost your career. You could also leverage your social media platform to network with other artists and big names in the music industry. 

Utilize the Internet

Several online organizations within the music industry provide information on managers in your genre of music. Make sure you do your due diligence before reaching out to any of them. More importantly, be sure that they are a good fit for your music brand and make promoting your music a priority. 

Promote Yourself

Technology has made it easy for independent artists to promote their music globally without much hassle. You can make use of the internet and music streaming platforms to publicize your craft. So,constantly update your social media platforms with your most recent music, shows, and performances. Such that when music managers search online, they can see your work. 

Conclusion

Proper music artist management is vital in the development of any artist’s career. There is a lot to benefit from having a good music manager promoting your work. With the right strategies, recording, and publishing agreements, you will be on your way to succeeding in the music industry.

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