I’ve been recently approached by a few artists who asked me if I could connect them with good managers. There are a lot of misconceptions about what an artist manager does, and there are several types in the music business. I won’t go into all of them in this post. Most of them you won’t need until you’re touring and making some heavy cheddar anyway. The two primary types are the personal manager, and the business manager. Most artists who are trying to get their careers off the ground are usually looking for a personal manager.
Many artists look for managers before developing anything to manage. The more developed you are as an artist, the better your chances are of attracting a good manager’s interest. There are however, some of the major misconceptions about artist managers and what they do. Here are a few
1. Mangers should invest lots of money into the artist. It’s not a managers job to pay the costs for your recording projects, travel, or promotional material. While it’s not uncommon to find a manager thats willing to pay for the needs of an artist, they are not obligated to. Some managers feel that dropping cash to help their artists become successful is a worthy investment. Because this is not the manager’s role, he or she will usually make an agreement with the artist that this investment be repaid once the artist starts making money. This is outside of 15 to 20 percent commission managers already receive from the artist’s earnings. This commission is usually but not limited to, performances, merchandise sales, and in some cases money advanced by record labels. It’s rare that managers make agreements to receive percentages of the artist’s song publishing or writing. You should avoid these types of agreements if possible.
2. Another misconception is that managers should have lots of experience in the music business. While this is definitely an asset, it’s much more important that you have a manager that’s willing to hustle hard for you and be ambitious about learning the parts of the business that he or she doesn’t know. Your manager should be someone you have a tremendous amount of trust in because they will play some part in every facet of your music career. This is why it’s not uncommon to see artists with relatives as managers. Sometimes they are the best choice.
3. Managers are not attorneys! Unless your manager has an entertainment law degree, it’s not wise to have them negotiating contracts that can affect you for the rest of your life! Get an attorney to look over any complicated contracts.
4. Managers are not publicists. Publicists handle your PR (public relations), expand you visibility and help develop a marketing strategy for you. Good managers will do some of this for you until you’re signed or able to afford a professional publicist.
It a nutshell, good managers want to minimize the chaos that can surround an artist so they can concentrate as much as possible on their music. Good managers are a trusted foot in your rump to make sure you make it to your appointments on time, and make sure that everything you need is there before your arrive. My advice is give managers a few months trial before you decide to make a long term contractual bond with them. This provides an opportunity for the both of you to see if theres a chemistry.