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Does Your Band Need a Manager?

  • 25 June 2013, Tuesday
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Hand signing a contract

Puzzle Head Manager

Artist managers rarely put themselves in the spotlight, but that doesn't prevent them from playing a central roll in a band's career, often with a considerable impact upon it's success. The artist manager often pulls all the strings, co-ordinating, planning, and giving space to the artist, so that the latter can concentrate completely on their music. But who exactly are these mysterious artist managers, and what are their duties?

Do we need a manager? How do we find the right one?

Have you noticed yourself becoming increasingly burdened with administrative tasks? Do you think that your band could reach the next level with a little help in this area? If so, you should consider getting a manager on board. The Do-It-Yourself method is good up to a certain point, but not when you don't have any time to work creatively on your music. So how do you find a manager?

There is a simple answer to this question - they find you! However, this doesn't mean that there is nothing you can do to be 'discovered' more quickly. Try playing at newcomer events, speak with other musicians about their experiences of management, or invite management agencies to your gigs. When you do meet your manager, it often seems to have happened as if by chance. Remember that your band has to have a certain 'relevance', in order to justify having management. If this is not the case, there is not point in going any further, either for your band or the manager.

Tip: Make use of universities offering popular music courses (like the Popakademie in Mannheim, the MHMK in Cologne, or the Macromedia Fachhochschule in Munich). You will find lots of ambitious media and music management students in these places, who have valuable knowledge in this field due to their faculties, their unique network and their studies.

What does a manager have to do?

A classic artist manager's main job is to organise all of the band's business affairs. The manager acts as a kind of bridge between the band and all external partners. These include booking agents, labels, publishers, and promoters. The press and other external agencies are also potential partners.

The following points offer a small insight into typical management duties:

-      Artist development

-      Creation of a strong network

-      Strategy development

-      Increase public awareness of the band

-      Capitalise on repertoire, and create band income.

-      Raise the artist above the mass of average acts

-      Find partners and investors

-      Generate attention

-      Produce marketing plans.

-      Collaborate with partners such as promoters, agencies, etc.

-      Booking is not the responsibility of the manager!

It is crucial that a manager is constantly flexible, and prepared. If conditions should suddenly change, it is the manager's responsibility to always have a plan B. It's just like the famous saying, 'the show must go on!'. This means that it is important to think about the ideal background for a manager. 

Who makes a good manager?

As we are currently experiencing dramatic changes in the musical world, a manager should come armed with a lot of knowledge about the music business. A successful manager should show talent in negotiation, networking and persuasiveness. If you combine these skills with the gift of forethought and a nice touch of flexibility, you should have a manager who is well equipped for the challenges ahead.

Managers often have very different backgrounds. Some of them used to be musicians themselves, and gained their experience through this. There are also many newcomers who have switched from other professions, with backgrounds in subjects like law, business studies or something completely different. It is important that you get along with your potential manager on a personal level alongside your business relationship. In the longterm you will not benefit from having a manager you can't get along with, even if they are officially top quality. Whatever happens, do not let yourself be fooled! There are also some black sheep out there, who don't have the necessary knowhow and experience to represent you as a manager.

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