Do you need a manager?

Posted: 29 November 2018

Start a band, get a manager, get signed, tour the world. That’s the dream, right? Well, not necessarily. When everything falls into place, we’re looking at whether you need a manager and what they can bring to the table.

What’s a manager’s role?

A manager keeps the music at the front of the stage and the business in the background. When your time is being spent on juggling your bookings, logistics and promotions, here is where a manager could come in.

They will be able to guide your career in music along the right path. Their industry know-how and contacts will be able to open doors for you and show you the bigger picture. Some high profile bookers and labels won’t deal with artists directly and this is where a manager adds credibility and experience for arranging deals.

When do you need a manager?

We’ve put some questions together to ask yourself when considering a manager:

Should I self-manage to start with?

Self-management is the best tool you can use until you’re ready for a manager. It will be demanding on your time and may feel a little overwhelming but should be worth it. It shows labels that you’re professional and serious about your music career. Self-management has some great benefits:

I’m ready, so how do I find a manager?

Typically, if you’ve made enough of a splash and generated a real buzz then managers will find you. Early on it may be people with limited experience, but the higher you climb the more experienced managers will be looking to jump onboard.

What should I look for in a manager?

You need someone you can work with closely and trust implicitly. They need to understand your personality, your tone and your goals and make sure they align theirs with them.

You need to understand them as much as they need to understand you. Learn about their background and experience because if they are a specialist in hip-hop with a wealth of contacts in that genre but you’re a rock band, they may not fit.

Once you feel you’ve found the right manager for you, the next thing to do is agree on terms. Pay attention to:

  • cash: how big a cut your manager gets; and
  • terms: what you’re signing away.

Make sure to get a lawyer to check it before signing anything.

As an aspiring musician, this will be you! But that’s no bad thing.

Living the life of both an artist and manager gives you valuable insight into how both worlds work. At some point in your career a manager becomes an imperative part of your operation, and if you generate enough buzz then managers will come find you.