How to Get a Music Manager: Music Industry Insights
Now that you have gigs lined up left, right and centre, it might be time to start looking for a music manager. Here’s our helpful guide on what you should do next and how to find the right manager in the music industry for you.
In order to find the right music manager, you need to make sure you’re at the best point in your music career, with a dedicated growing following, a defined sound, distinct image and a blossoming source of income. Now you’re ready to figure out which one is best for you.
It’s an exciting time when you decide you finally need a music manager. Because it’s such an important moment in your music career, it’s important that you feel confident in understanding each stage of the process and know exactly what to look for.
How to get a music manager for your singing career
Knowing when you’re ready to branch out and start searching for a music manager is paramount. There are a few tell-tale signs that can assure you that the time has come to begin the next exciting step for your blossoming career, and if you aren’t quite there yet, that’s ok.
Achievements like this take time, determination and hard work. If you have a bucket-load of self-belief and dedicate yourself to every practice, you are well on the way.
Firstly, you may feel the bell has rung for a music manager if you are starting to struggle with juggling gig practice, song writing, and music development alongside scheduling Facebook posts, sending invoices and answering emails.
Busy times, right? And perhaps slightly overwhelming. As The Balance Careers notes, “a manager can take all that pressure off by handling the business side of things so that musicians get to focus on being creative”.
If the pressure of having to split your time between developing a new motif or sending a tech rider to your next gig venue is becoming too much, then the time to act is now.
Looking for a music manager
Another factor to consider is if you feel your financial stability through gigs is a form of income. Managers in the music industry earn their living through commission—an agreed percentage fee based on what your payment may be each time—so this is going to be a quality of the package you are offering that the music manager will consider.
A great way to see if you feel that you’re financially steady is to keep an income and expense sheet for every gig you perform. You can find awesome templates online from Smartsheet to help you get stuck in.
This way, you can review your financial progress through gigging, using a clear and easy format. It is also a helpful document to email or bring along with you when talking to a potential music manager; showing you are an organised individual too. Bonus.
Finally, knowing you’ve made it to the perfect place for music management will become clear if you’ve worked hard to develop your own defined music style and image.
This can be a super fun process, listening to your favourite artists and tailoring it to suit your preferred musical presence. Understanding if you are already there is a major arrow pointing towards your laptop, encouraging you to hop on and get those emails out to music management companies.
With many deadlines and campaigns to complete for you, whilst visioning an end goal, your music manager needs to trust in the artist they see before them. If you are super self-assured that your act and sound is defined and at it’s all time best, they’ll feel the confident vibes radiate from you. And this could be a musical match.
Music manager contacts – what can they do for you?
First things first, how do music managers help the business side of being an artist? From tour budgets, contract negotiation and financial administration, to negotiating with venue owners, labels and industry figures; the music manager you choose will handle this all.
Focusing on these tasks that a music manager will take responsibility for, one of the most important parts is the discussions between yourself as an artist and those gloriously ideal label signings. Most labels will outright refuse to discuss any music business with the artist themselves. This is where the magic of the music manager shines.
For an in depth guide on what to expect from your music manager, read this article.
Admin can be a tedious challenge for all unsigned artists, can’t it? After an afternoon of intense band practice, you’re then faced with a pile of applications and invoices to fill out. Before you know it, it’s past midnight. With the right music manager, they’ll take this heavy but incredibly important burden and carry it for you.
As shared by Sonicbids Blog, a good music manager will help manage your schedule which is essentially the framework to your progress and development as an artist.
They’ll ensure your invoices are filled out and paid correctly, along with other crucial aspects such as renewing your public liability insurance or running a fine-tooth comb through a music contract. All these tasks require precision and focus by an industry figure who knows what they are doing.
Music management companies
When you arrive to a gig, you wouldn’t ever attend without your musical instrument, equipment, lyrics, water or repertoire fully prepared. Without these, the show wouldn’t go on. You must be ready for a gig, you have to be ready to show to a music manager what you want from the guidance and time they’re going to give you.
Firstly, you may want to consider where you’d like to see yourself in a year, two years or three years-time. Consider where you’d like your musical tone and style to have progressed to, whether you’d like to have released an EP or album by then, or even created a new genre. These are the aspects, moving forward, that a music manager will have wanted you to have thought about and that your music manager will be striving to achieve for you.
Within your plan prepping, you also might want to consider how you’d like the strategy to help you gain a flourishing following; on top of what you already have. Will you want to suggest you’d like a bigger following on Instagram, Spotify, Twitter or Facebook? Or maybe all platforms.
Are you ready for a music manager?
To show your readiness to participate in the planning process your future manager will want to create, it would be a productive step to download the social media dashboard, Hootsuite. Or another similar.
Hootsuite has the tools to provide you daily, weekly or monthly reports on how your following is sitting on your social media accounts, from where your followers are from to what their age range is. This is a simple process and there is a tutorial on the website in case you become stuck.
Remember, the manager is looking for the pros within you as an artist, just as much as you are evaluating them as a manager. With your informative hat on, social media stats at the ready, this may just be one of many winning attributes to your package as an artist.
Once you’ve agreed to work with a music manager, they can continue the social media handling. And you can sit back and rehearse your new original, knowing the plan for your following is set in stone.
There are two major factors to think hard about that will really shape your future plans, and that’s understanding your target audience and what labels you’d prefer to reach out to.
Independent Music Managers – knowing your audience and preferred label
Finding a music manager will involve an exciting focus on exploring what you know about your audience and who you’d like to target. Not only this, but you’ll also be discussing with your manager about the labels that need to be approached. To show a potential music manager you are fully clued up, it’s a savvy move to make a list of desirable labels and your aspired-for audience.
A music manager works on your behalf in every way. How you are growing and relating with your audience, through crucial avenues such as publicity and promotion, will definitely be on their to-do list. Create a mind-map of all the ways you’d like to reach out to your audience, and what type of listener you’d love for your awesome tracks to reach out to. You can slip this into a folder with all your other documents and slowly but surely, you’d have built a sparkling portfolio to reveal to potential music management. You’ll be one prepared future superstar.
Labels are so important. You could draft up a list of all the potential labels you’d love to impress. Make sure that when you are exploring all your options, to keep a watchful eye for key label elements that make it a brilliant one.
According to Attack Magazine, these will be qualities such as; the label nurtures your public image, they listen to your audiences needs and are responsive.
If you’d like to find out more guidance on knowing what label is the right fit for you, check out our article:
What qualifies a manager in the music industry?
In order to feel more in-the-know about how to get a music manager, it’s good to know what qualifies them to manage all your musical endeavours. Music management has an entire educational path to itself. It is a Bachelor Degree, it can also be a diploma.
Those who have become music managers have dedicated a long time to learning and developing within the industry. They may have even dedicated unpaid time through internships or work experience with major music management companies to assure they are confident.
Warning signs for a manager that isn’t for you
With your desire to have a music manager soaring through the roof, it’s going to be a super safe move to have a brief understanding of the signs of a music manager that isn’t for you.
As Artist PR explains, alarm bells you should be weary of is if you struggle to contact the manager to meet, there is an extortionate management fee to pay or they outline they will take no financial responsibility. If your music manager candidate is glowing, and isn’t showing any signs of the sort, you are good to go.
Music manager salary – how much should a music manager get paid?
This is important to get correct. It affects you and them. According to The Musicians Union, a commission rate of 20% is the usual fee. And that this fee should never be paid out in advance.
What does a manager do for an artist?
In a nutshell, a music manager takes all the duties and tasks that have been hovering in the way of you developing a new song or practicing a fancy riff and completes them in an effective and professional way for you.
They are the middle ground between yourself and labels. They carefully consider your audience and most importantly, they are the creator of your musical game plan. It’s a lot, isn’t it?
Now you are a music management expert and can feel when you’re ready to make the exciting step, the only way is up!