How To Get A Music Manager
The music industry is competitive and difficult to breakthrough for independent artists.
To have a successful and sustainable career in music, getting the help and expertise of a music manager can be just the right antidote to what can otherwise be a stressful and never-ending venture.
If you’re thinking about how to find a manager for your music, what band managers and music managers look for, and even what a music manager’s role actually entails, I’ve got you covered.
Why Should You Have A Music Manager?
Things have changed for musicians trying to promote their music online.
The workload involved in making a name for yourself is simply too much for a singular artist to handle.
Being an independent musician isn’t just about making music. It’s not as easy as just making some music and they will come. ⠀
You have to be:
- Social Media Manager
- Content Creator
- Tour Manager
- Customer Service
- Graphic Designer
- Marketing Manager
The list goes on and on.
You’ve got to handle all of these things, as well as funding it with your own time and money.
Marketing your music takes time and energy, but you can get lost in the day-to-day of managing your presence, instead of focusing on the important parts of creating and writing music.
Not only that, maintaining that audience that you put so much effort into building requires constant attention.
We need help.
A music manager can assist you in navigating the music business, let you focus on the creative aspects of your music whilst they handle the music industry and business side of things.
This can not only free you up to spend more time on making amazing music, but it can also propel you to the next level and open up doors for other opportunities.
What Does A Music Manager Do?
Music managers manage the operation of a musician’s career.
They also function as delegates and advisors to you, the musician or band.
An effective manager will guide your music career under your wants, needs, and overall plan. They can help in finding opportunities, signing deals, developing your brand, music publishing, and so much more.
All managers have different knowledge and skillsets. Finding the right manager for you can mean filling gaps in your own skillset that are important to your music career growth.
Ultimately, a music manager is the closest thing to being in the band without actually being in the band.
They will spend the most amount of time with the band and can be involved in everything.
Here are some specific things potential managers may help a band or musician with.
Networking & Relationship Building With Music Industry Contacts
Best managers know how to develop industry links to help enhance your business brand and music.
The trick is to work with a good music manager who has contacts within your niche or genre.
They work with recording companies, distributors, artists, producers, publicists, music venues, and other industry contacts.
If part of your strategy is to get your music onto Spotify playlists, many managers may be able to get your music featured here with blogger and editorial playlist contacts.
Sourcing Live Gig Opportunites
Finding places to gig, organising those gigs, and working with venues can be exhaustive and time-consuming for an artist.
A music manager can assist with the planning and booking of live performances or tours for a band or artist.
They may also work with booking agencies and venues to develop a tour strategy and the logistics involved in gigging.
Negotiating Contracts On Behalf Of Artists
This stuff can be an absolute minefield for any independent musician.
A knowledgeable and experienced manager will understand legal complexities and can help you make the right business decisions.
Royalties, payment percentages, advances, licensing and other parts of the music industry you may not be familiar with can be a headache without the right help from a manager.
Find Record Label Deals, Publishing Deals & Sync Placements
One primary responsibility for managers is finding opportunities for artistic and professional growth.
With the right skills, some managers will seek licensing for recording licenses, publishing agreements, and sync licensing agreements.
These opportunities increase exposure to yourself and can assist in growing your music fan base.
Oversee Music Promotion & Marketing Strategies
One of the most important parts of flourishing as a music artist is by looking after your social media presence and promoting your music effectively online.
Getting more people to listen to your music and gaining more streams from Spotify comes from building a dedicated following online.
Obviously, this takes time, effort and money. A music manager can assist in a marketing strategy to ensure everything is aligned for your story and journey.
Manage Music Business Endeavours
For many musicians, having someone look after these more complicated parts of the music industry is a weight off their shoulders.
A music manager can look after your business operations that you may normally feel anxious or worry about.
Of course, this can give you more time and headspace to do what you do best – make music.
Accountability & Organization
This one is really important and being inconsistent is one of the biggest reasons for failure in musicians.
You can’t just dump all your problems on a manager and expect them to instantly make you awesome.
It’s a two-way relationship. They will help you pull all it all together, but there is no magic wand.
They can however set targets for you to keep on track. To stay organized. Accountable.
This places them in more of a mentor role, someone who can add perspective, see things the artist can’t, and help keep you on the right path as a creative.
Now that we know how having music management can help your music career and the various roles an artist manager might undertake, let’s take a look at how attracting and finding a manager works.
Here are the steps you can take to either get a music manager to notice you, or to find one yourself.
1. Make Sure You’re Ready
Before sourcing outside management to look after your social media presence, record deal contracts and other music business stuff, you actually need to have something worth managing.
It’s important to self-manage first until you get to the point where industry professionals can help you elevate to that next level.
Promote your music yourself and learn the ins and outs of getting your songs out there into the world and in front of fans.
Once you get to a plateau and realize that other people may be able to help you break through that, that is a great time to get a music manager to alleviate some of that pressure and push you even further.
A lot of musicians look at having a manager as a stamp of approval from the industry as if they’ve made it because they suddenly have management.
The same goes for record and publishing deals. It’s not worth rushing to get a manager if you aren’t ready to be managed.
2. Take A Chance On Less Experienced Managers
If you are just starting out and making a name for yourself in your local area, you aren’t going to attract the big guns.
You need a level of self-awareness here.
However, there are a bunch of young and hungry up-and-coming people who want to be in the music industry. They want to be part of the music business and management would fit them well.
There are a lot of music graduates and students that could bring a lot to the party. They are young and enthusiastic and more importantly, you have the leverage.
They need to build experience. What better way to do that than working with you an actual band or artist around the city.
If you are willing to train and mentor the right enthusiastic people to become industry professionals, you can both benefit from this arrangement.
3. Find The Right Skillset For You
What are you missing?
What is it in your current flow that’s holding you back?
Maybe you don’t have the right connections. You don’t have experience in booking shows. You have absolutely no idea how to run an effective music rehearsal. You don’t know how to promote your live shows. Social media just confuses the hell out of you.
The trick in making this work for your career is to ensure that any management you work with fills the gaps in your skillset.
You may find that you are better off just getting someone to help you a couple of days a week with putting together your music content for social media. Or maybe you just need someone to manage your Spotify presence.
Figure out what’s holding you back and find managers that can help you in specific areas.
4. Release Quality Music
This one should be self-explanatory but an artist manager won’t want to take notice of you or help you grow your fan base if you aren’t doing the basics of writing and releasing quality music.
Again, it comes down to having something to manage to begin with.
Grow your fan base by releasing music that people can connect with around the world. People who matter take notice of these things and you may find that management approaches you if you are making waves.
5. Have The Right Relationship Mindset
A manager wants to know more than just how good you are at your instrument.
They want to know about you. Who will they be working with?
In business as an investor, they are not buying into the business idea. They are buying into the entrepreneur who will make this business idea happen. That is far more important than you think.
- If a manager pushes you, will you break?
- Can they rely on you?
- Will you be there when you say you’re going to be there?
- Are you good with time management?
- Do you stick to deadlines?
- Will you get on with your manager?
- Are you invested?
6. Make Your Fan Base And Have A Dedicated Following
A good manager will be spotted for you if you generate the right publicity and hype.
As much as numbers can be a distraction, they do help.
If you are sitting on an Instagram account with 50 followers, most of them friends or family, you need to increase the attention coming your way.
There are lots of effective ways to increase your followers. Creating a loyal fanbase is critical for being a successful artist in the music business.
People don’t recognize opportunity until there is proof. This is all about building a spark and building momentum over time.
7. Networking & Building Connections
Finding a manager for your music doesn’t just happen out of thin air.
You need to know people. Speak to people.
When you are out at gigs, speaking with musician friends, interacting with similar accounts on Instagram, you can start to build up a list of contacts who may be able to help you find someone.
For artists, networking is really important when trying to align themselves with other professional singers and bands.
8. Find Managers Of Similar Artists
After you’ve done your networking and are aware of the other artists in your genre, it’s time to reach out.
Find out who the artists are that are one level above you.
I’m not talking about the mega-famous superstar artists, I’m talking about the ones that are where you want to be in the immediate future.
If you have become a friend of any artists in your space and they have management, it’s possible that they may also want to manage you as well.
9. Search Social Media & LinkedIn
Some managers do make themselves publically available for contact.
You can theorize that the ‘best’ managers would find you instead, and whilst there is in part some truth to that, you can (and should) reach out if you find someone who you think would be a good fit for your career.
LinkedIn is a professional landscape and requires a certain approach, but don’t knock the power of a well-timed and thought-out Instagram direct message.
10. Have A Solid Pitch
If you feel like you need a manager for your music career and are reaching out directly, it helps to have a solid pitch.
It’s obvious what’s in it for you, but what’s in it for them?
Demonstrate your work ethic and consistency in a well-prepared message.
Managers are not just about finding talent. They want to find a financial opportunity and are interested in working alongside artists who are ready to exploit that.