The Role of Manager in the Music Industry
As an artist, you want to work with people you can trust. There might be tons of ‘industry people’ out there offering to bring your DJ skills to the beaches of Ibiza without having ever met you in person. This kind of thing happens a lot in edm music, a genre with the most marketing hype going for it. It’s all good to have support from listeners of your music because getting recognition is a confidence boost no matter where it comes from. However, it’s important to filter out most of it as background noise while you focus on making incremental progress with the one person you can trust in the whole world: your manager.
Artist-Manager Relations Are Key to Success
A manager should be the closest collaborator in your support network because they have the power to pull the strings and make you famous. Even if your support network includes an overseas label and a booking agent landing you great gigs, nothing of these relationships should get in the way of the artist-manager relationship. In fact, in most cases it is the manager who finds artists in the underground and helps them build a career that includes an excellent booking agency and global distribution deals. The manager is only able to burst an artist from the underground if trust is there from the beginning.
In terms of how the industry is structured, the manager essentially acts as the voice of the artist when dealing with booking agencies, PR firms, music marketing agencies publishing houses, record labels, and the like. That means they should have a plan and the work ethic to make it happen. Managers are the one’s making cold calls and sending a hundred emails a day trying to book hotel rooms and set up live sessions at radio stations during your tour – their primary goal being to create opportunities.
From the artist’s perspective, it is helpful to see a manager as your right hand man taking care of everything behind-the-scenes for you. They should know exactly what it is you (the artist) needs in order to succeed and be there when times get tough. The proximity and understanding between artists and managers is why, in a lot of cases, the manager will be a great friend of the artist in music and in life.
What Kind of Contracts Are Involved?
Nothing in the music industry is a guarantee. Every collaboration is a risk, whether it’s signing a multi-album deal with a record label or going in on a contract with a manager. And as with all contracts in the industry, the variety of deals a manager may sign vary widely.
In some cases, managers will start working with an artist from the early days without a contract. During this trial period each party can see if it’s working, and if so, what sort of deal can be struck. The industry standard is for managers to take 15% commission of total revenue, but some may ask for 15% of gross revenue (without deducting costs). Also, keep in mind that the average length of a management deal is 1-3 years, though an ideal scenario would be a collaboration for longer than three years.
Is A Manager What You Need Right Now?
It all comes down to what you want to achieve, and where you are at in your own growth strategy. Some acts go their entire career by managing themselves. However, it takes far more work and the opportunities are limited. The nice thing about a manager is they don’t need to have tons of industry experience to be great – they just need passion and strong business acumen.
Are you ready to learn more?
LFO Creations blog offers a series of contents to know how to work music industry.