For many emerging musicians, the number one priority is to find a manager so that they can focus 200% on music
It is true that building a solid team around his project is one of the most decisive tasks that an artist can accomplish.
This includes signing a contract with an artistic manager.
But what is the role of the manager really? How do we know if we really need it? Where to find him? On what criteria should it be selected?
That’s what we’re going to see right now!
What is an artist manager (or artistic agent)?
The manager is the professional who acts as an intermediary between the artists he manages and the various players in the music industry (concert halls, festivals, labels, tour operators, programmers, etc.).
The manager (also called an artistic agent) advises his artists (one or more) in order to help them develop their musical careers, and represents and defends their interests with professional interlocutors.
As the latter is remunerated on a commission basis on each contract signed by the artist or group, it is in his interest to sell the musical project as best he can to the professionals concerned.
Thus, finding a manager is for many artists in the development phase a real springboard to professionalization and a considerable gain in time, opportunity and notoriety.
The manager’s functions are multiple:
- The commercial function: research, networking, networking, networking, promotion, negotiation, synchronization, sales, etc.
- The administrative and legal function: contracts, regulations, subsidies, accounting, budget, etc.
- Artistic advice: evaluation, analysis, branding, communication materials, coaching, merchandising, etc.
Therefore, the manager must have an overview of the music industry and be a true jack-of-all-trades, especially at the beginning of his career, when the artist is not profitable enough to grow his team.
In short, he takes care of everything (coordination, planning, etc.) so that the artist or group can focus on the music, and only the music.
Do you REALLY need a manager?
The manager is not the handyman
Of course, a good manager can make a significant contribution to your success. But a manager cannot and should not do everything alone.
Far too many artists perceive these professionals as true messiahs, demonstrating a misunderstanding of their own responsibilities.
With or without a manager, an artist and a group must constantly promote their universe, expand their network and explore new marketing opportunities.
Do you know where you’re going? Well, go ahead. Otherwise learn.
To be honest, when you start your musical career, your mission is to do what a manager would do for you.
Don’t wait until you find an agent to canvass the pros or tell you what to do.
I would even say that when you start out, there are not that many things to consider and you can organize yourself independently.
It turns out that today many artists do not use a manager and do very well. Yes, yes, yes.
In short, never associate yourself with a manager under the pretext that you don’t know how to develop your musical project.
If you are new to the business, take the time to learn and develop a real fan base before you get involved.
Finally, if you think that having a manager will give you more prestige with music professionals, then think again.
It is your knowledge and understanding of music marketing that will demonstrate your seriousness.
Is this a good time?
In any case, to interest these professionals, you must be able to demonstrate a certain success. After all, it is ultimately the return on investment that interests them.
- Are you advanced enough to make it relevant?
- Does the potential manager have any room for manoeuvre?
- Can you afford this?
- Is your project interesting enough?
Most young artists do not need a manager. First establish a career plan, set goals, meet professionals and gain popularity before you find a manager.
First of all, reach the industry’s minimum standards in terms of live performance, social network management, branding, composition, etc. on your own.
Once you have that, it will be the right time.
If you feel you need a manager to move forward, here are some places to explore in order to find the rare gem.
Groups and similar artists
If we assume that you are looking for someone with experience and references in your market (music genre, audience, region, etc.), then you would be tempted to look at similar groups in your area.
Indeed, it is their managers who will be best able to guide a musical project like yours, because of the similarities.
How to do this? First, identify clearly and objectively the groups and artists you resemble.
Once this is done, try to get a way to communicate with their managers: ask them in a private message, check out their site, conduct the survey on Google, Music Official, etc.
If not, turn to your network.
Your family or friends
Unfortunately, sometimes things are not that simple. Then comes the second option: call on one of your relatives!
The reality is that an experienced manager will focus (a priori) above all on the artists in his catalogue that bring him the most money, leaving him much less time to deal with less profitable projects, like yours.
By asking a friend or family member to take care of it, you won’t have to worry about whether that person really wants you to succeed.
This is a very common case in the music industry: Usher, Beyonce, Céline Dion, Imagine Dragons and Ozzy Osbourne have been or are managed by relatives.
However, never make a default decision.
If you sign a contract with someone who doesn’t know much about the music industry and how it works, then you may be wasting your time and money.
Think first and foremost about the long term.
Finding a manager is only the first step. Then you need to make sure you make the right choice.
The selection of the manager is a crucial step for an artist, as this decision can make or break a career.
Since the manager’s role is so important in the evolution of an artist, he must possess undeniable commercial qualities, a solid network and experience in the field. But that’s not all.
Here are some other criteria to consider:
1. The same philosophy and enthusiasm
There would be nothing worse than choosing a manager just for the money. Such a situation would quickly disgust you from the music industry.
Choose someone with whom you are in tune: you share the same point of view on the music industry and the actions to be taken, you have equivalent ambitions and, icing on the cake, you like the same type of music!
2. The skills
This may sound absurd, but ask yourself if this person is capable of really developing your musical career.
Has this person ever allowed a band to sign a major, have their music in a popular movie or series, or open for an extremely well-known band on a whole tour?
Experience and network prevail over enthusiasm and proximity.
Never hesitate to ask your contacts for references and proof, to be sure where you are going.
3. A detailed plan
A manager, after evaluating your musical project, must be able to draw up a career plan step by step: What to do? When? When? Where? Where? Why? Why? How to measure results? Etc.
If the manager in question seems evasive when you mention the medium and long term, leave.
4. A legal framework
Whether with a relative or a professional, it is mandatory to sign a contract giving a legal framework to your relationship.
If the potential manager refuses this, find another one. Otherwise, I can guarantee you that it will be difficult to achieve your objectives.
5. Mutual trust and confidence
Whether it’s a self-centered shark who only cares about his bank account or a nice guy, but who already works 10 hours a day, in either case you won’t get very far.
First and foremost, you need to find someone you can rely on and who is willing to invest in your career on a daily basis.
If you have any doubts, never hesitate to say no. In this particular case, you can and must be demanding and only ask for the best.
The fact is that no artist can succeed alone. During the development phase, it is essential to build a solid team around your project.
The question that currently arises is much more to know if you are ready and if your career is mature enough to attract the attention of managers.
If not, don’t despair! There is absolutely no shame in being in the emergence phase.
Take your time, keep moving forward and when you are ready, a manager will contact you.