Artist Management – A Definitive Guide To Finding A Manager
What Is Artist Management?
Artist Management is the management of professional musicians, actors, and other performing artists. It is a specialised form of management that focuses on the development, promotion, and marketing of an artist’s career.
Artist managers are responsible for a wide range of tasks; including booking performances, negotiating contracts, handling finances, and marketing the artist’s work. They also provide guidance and advice to their clients, helping them to make informed decisions about their careers. They are essential to the artist’s career growth.
What Does An Artist Manager Do?
Artist Managers are essential for any artist who wants to succeed in the music industry. They provide the necessary support and resources to help their clients reach their goals. At Music Gateway, the artist management team’s job is to help clients truly grow and develop their potential.
An artist manager role description is essentially being responsible for overseeing the professional and personal development of an artist. As we have mentioned before, this includes managing the artist’s career, whether that be in terms of finances, public relations, marketing, and other aspects of the artist’s business. They also provide advice and guidance to the artist, and handle contract negotiations and deals on their behalf. Additionally, artist managers are often responsible for booking shows, tours, and other appearances for their artists, as well as handling press and media relations. So you can see, they are a critical part of an artist’s success.
If you are looking for an artist manager, we would suggest doing some research into potential artist managers online, by searching for music industry professionals in your local area or by looking for artist managers who specialise in the type of music you create. We advise that you make sure to read reviews and testimonials from other musicians who have worked with the artist manager to get an idea of their experience. This will give you an idea if you think you will work well alongside them and if there will be longevity in the relationship.
Characteristics Of A Great Artist Manager
You may be asking yourself, what are the characteristics of an artist manager? What do I need to look out for as an artist, or you may even be thinking of becoming one yourself? A strong head for negotiation and other business acumen is a winning characteristic of an artist manager.
Below we list some of the most important personality traits of an artist manager.
A great artist manager must be able to juggle multiple tasks and prioritize them effectively. They must be able to keep track of all of the details and ensure that deadlines are met.
A great artist manager is able to think strategically and plan out a long-term career plan for their artist. They need to be able to identify goals and create strategies to reach those goals.
Excellent Communication Skills
To be a great artist manager. You certainly need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with your clients, other industry professionals, and the public.
Whether it be organising tour schedules and in general the activities of the artist, you have to have excellent time management skills. These are a must and you may be working to tight deadlines and other commitments.
Public Relation Skills
In brief, as an artist manager, you have to be a people person and be able to communicate in a professional manner as you are helping to promote the artist as a brand and you are in charge of their public persona if you will. You will be the one who builds connections between the industry and your client, so you will need to know and cultivate relationships with numerous people on the music scene.
Working With An Artist Manager
Working with an artist manager for the first time as a musician can be an intimidating experience. So here are a few tips to help you make the most of the relationship and grow as an artist:
Set Expectations & Goals
Before you begin working with a manager, make sure you have a clear understanding of their role and what they can do for you. Be sure to discuss their fees, payment schedules, and any other contractual details. Talk about your artist manager contract before entering into a professional relationship.
Open communication is key to a successful relationship with your manager. Make sure you keep them informed about your career goals, upcoming projects, and any changes in your plans. The more open you can be with your manager, the more fruitful your career will be.
As we mentioned before in terms of the characteristics of an artist manager, it works both ways. Strong organizational skills are essential for any successful artist-manager relationship. Make sure you keep track of important documents, contact information, and other important details.
Listen To Their Advice
This may sound obvious, but your manager is there to help you make informed decisions about your career. Take heed of their advice and be open to their suggestions. You can always share your opinions on what you think would be a strategic path to take in terms of your career. They will have the experience and knowledge to give you sage advice, so listen.
Showing appreciation for your manager’s hard work is important. Make sure that you thank them for all their efforts and express your gratitude. They are the ones at the end of the day that can elevate your career and they are putting in the time and effort for you, so make sure you remember this.
Why Should You Hire an Artist Manager?
If you are serious about your music artist management should be a logical progression in your journey to success. When you employ an artist manager, you can expect them to provide guidance and advice on how to best promote and market your music. They will help you to identify and reach out to potential venues, labels, and other industry contacts. They can also help you to negotiate contracts and secure bookings. Negotiating can be tricky, so allow your manager to help you with the complexities of a management contract.
Additionally, they will help you to develop a strategy for your career and help you to stay organized and on track. Finally, they will provide support and encouragement to help you reach your goals. As we have mentioned before, the clearer you are about your goals at the beginning of the relationship, the better the artist manager will be at helping you secure and realise these in reality.
Good managers will have pre-existing connections with record labels, publishers, booking agents, promoters, music supervisors, sync agents, PR personnel, engineers, producers, session musicians and more. They can assist you in establishing links with the people who will help to develop your career and business.
The roles of a general artist’s manager will vary depending on the current needs and stage of both the artist and manager. These could include; budgeting, booking tours or hiring/managing booking agents, overseeing logistics and payments for shows, finding record labels/publishers and negotiating/managing contracts, pitching music for sync opportunities or finding a sync agent and managing studio time/session musicians/contracts related to recording projects.
It also includes managing all media outlets like social media accounts, newsletters, etc, distributing music (if there is no record label), delivering news (good or bad) to the artist internally, hiring attorneys if necessary and assisting with career decisions such as what producer or engineer to work with, what songs to cut on an album, who to collaborate with, etc.
So as you can see, artist management is no easy feat and you have to have the right skills for the job – and as an artist, you need to put the research in and take time to see if they are a good fit for your needs.
Further to this, an artist manager may also assist in organizing tour logistics such as soundcheck times at venues, ensuring the backline is set up, fulfilling hospitality riders, and receiving payment. Additionally, they may also manage travel arrangements (e.g., flights or train tickets) or driving duties. They may also be tasked with other miscellaneous activities like selling merchandise or taking photos for promotional materials or album art. If an artist secures their own record deal, typically the label will take on managerial responsibilities related to promotion and press matters.
When it comes to finding assistance with your music business, there is no set order. In the past, managers were usually brought on board first. Nowadays, some people prefer to hire a PR agent first, while others opt for a sync agent or sign up for a record label without the need for a manager. Usually, an artist will look into hiring a manager when they have reached an important point in their career where they can no longer manage everything by themselves or feel overwhelmed by all the tasks at hand.
When it comes to building a successful career as an artist, many experienced musicians and managers suggest trusting your intuition to decide when the right time is to hire help. However, it’s also important to do as much as you can on your own at first, so that you can learn the ins and outs of the industry and build relationships with people in it. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of what kind of manager or team would be best for your career goals. Once you feel confident that hiring someone is necessary for continuing to grow professionally, then go ahead and take that step.
Where To Find Managers
If you’re looking for an experienced music manager, the best way to find one is to ask your friends and fellow artists which ones they have had positive experiences with. If you are already signed to a label, their team may be able to provide some recommendations. Alternatively, research some of the more established artists in your scene and see who their early managers were or contact them directly for advice. Additionally, consider hiring a friend or someone you know who has the necessary skills and enthusiasm for your music and career growth.
No matter their level of experience, the ideal manager should possess qualities such as organization, excellent communication skills, directness, efficiency, strategic thinking, quick decision-making capabilities and the ability to budget and negotiate. Additionally, having a strong marketing background and being well-connected in the industry would be a bonus. To top it off if they are also likeable and easy to get along with then that’s definitely an added advantage!
What To Expect To Pay
Andrew Stocker, the head of Ruination Record Co. and a former musician, spoke about the various payment structures for music managers. He stated that the two common models are 10% gross or 15% net. For example, if an artist earns $5,000 for an appearance and nets $3,500 after paying out agents and other team members, the manager would receive either $500 or $525 respectively.
Some suggest that a manager should only be paid when their artist is; in this case, they would take a percentage of net revenues. It is not uncommon for indie artists to work with a manager without having any sort of contract in place due to their friendship; however, it is important to have one regardless of trust levels between them both.
A typical contract with a manager is typically three years in length. However, it may be beneficial to include a clause that allows for an evaluation of progress and the status of the relationship after either six months or one year, giving both parties the option to end their agreement without any legal repercussions.
Our model is different – our managers don’t take a commission or any rights and instead receive a fee for their consultancy. You’ll still get to benefit from your manager’s knowledge and expertise, without losing any rights or having the complexities of a management contract.
As an example, if you earn £20,000 in a year as an artist, on the traditional model you could owe up to £5,000 to your manager on those earnings – plus future earnings too. With Music Gateway – you get to keep it all!
Finding an Artist Manager That Follows Your Journey
Having a positive and honest relationship with your manager is essential for a successful business. Communication should be open and transparent, so be sure to take your time when looking for someone to manage your projects. If you are familiar with the person you are considering working with, it may be helpful to start off by collaborating on a smaller project like a single release to make sure you work well together. If not, ask plenty of questions when meeting them and see if they would allow you to speak with former clients. Do your research, consult those around you and trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
How Can Music Gateway Help You As An Artist?
If you are looking to find the right manager, at this time in your career, then Music Gateway can help you. All you need to do is apply for artist/music management here. You can work with our team of experienced artist managers who will elevate your career to the next level through music management.
Our mission is to empower creatives to build a strong reputation in the music industry and to offer the opportunity for growth and development to artists.
At Music Gateway, our team of dedicated artist managers have previously worked with the likes of The 1975, Young T & Bugsey, Joss Stone and Ghetts, as well as working for GRM Daily, Kerrang, Sony and Ministry of Sound. To name just a few.
Music Gateway is proud to empower an incredible roster of global talent through Artist Development and Music Management. We’ve built a strong reputation in the music industry for offering the opportunity for growth and development to artists. Our team of experienced artist managers are passionate about supporting the next generation of artists and helping to take their career to the next level, with each programme tailored to each artist.
How to Become An Artist Manager
The artist manager job description is certainly varied, and working with artists performers and athletes can be a perk of the job. Working to promote artists performers and creatives across the board can be an exciting field to work in, although it certainly isn’t an easy role. Finding work with artist management companies can be a good stepping stone to breaking into the industry, before thinking about branching out solo or starting your own artist management agency.
Agents and business managers in music are expected to keep a lot of plates spinning, so you will need to be able to multi-task and stay organised. Plus managers or artists performers and other creatives know that they are generally dealing with lively, out-of-the-box people who can lead hectic and eventful lives!
Essentially, a love of music helps to represent and promote artists and musicians. There are a number of high-profile agents and business managers of artists you can draw inspiration from. Brave Artist Management, Foundations Artist Management and Apollo Artist Management are renowned in the industry for representing some of the biggest names.
For an independent artist, it can still be worth enlisting the help of an artist manager once you feel that you are heading in the right direction.
And if you are unsure if you are ready to take on full management, our artist development programme can pair you with your ideal artist manager on a more casual, guidance and advice-based basis – where you can explore where you can elevate your brand and music at your own pace, under the guidance of our experienced artist managers. Apply for artist development here.