Are you an independent artist thinking about hiring a manager? This may be one of the most important decisions in the life of your artistic career, so don’t esteem it too lightly. A good manager can make your career, just as a bad manager can seriously break it.
If you’re just starting off, you might think you don’t need a manager now, but things will be very different when your career begins to grow. Aside from being a musician, you’ll need to book gigs, schedule tours, negotiate deals, sign contracts you probably don’t even understand, license your songs, give interviews…at this point, it’s obvious being a successful musician goes far beyond the music itself.
Now this doesn’t mean you’re not capable of handling all these matters on your own. In fact, before you even think about hiring a manager, get to know the process first. Learn how to manage yourself so you understand it, and when the time does finally come to hire a manager, you’ll better understand how to pick the right one.
This month, President and owner of BE Music Entertainment Michael Blanton offers valuable advice in the realm of artist management. When you do decide to hire a manager, there are more questions to ask yourself than you may realize. When do you need a manager? How do you choose one? How much money will your manager make? Do you even NEED a manager? Considering to hire a manager not only involves choosing the right one for you, but you also need to know how to end a relationship with a manager if things go south. Michael’s top two tips for this month include:
1. Learning when to engage a manager is critical. You need to have time to be creative and be the artist, and at some point, you want your career to take off so much that being creative is one of the only things you have to do – let your manager take care of the things that go beyond this.
2. We all make mistakes in this business, and signing with the wrong manager can be one of them. It is important to discuss how to end a relationship with a manager, and knowing the process of your exit plan is important before you sign in the first place.
The right manager should be able to translate your artistic vision so that it remains consistent with your business operations. As an artist, you should look at yourself as a brand – a brand that involves many facets including recording, touring, and merchandising. The right manager should be able to transform all of these facets so they are aligned with your vision as an artist, and they should also have plenty of great connections that can translate into more work for you. It is also important to reflect on a manager’s roster. If you’re a Christian pop artist and you’re considering a manager who mostly deals with heavy metal musicians, it’s probably not going to be the best fit for you. However, if a manager has a lot of experience in your genre of artistry, they will know how to manage you suitably in order to ensure success.
Picking the right manager is critical, but if you do hit and miss with a manager, it does not mean your career is going to be over forever. You should have an idea of what you need from a manager, and if you don’t pick the right one the first time around, it is acceptable to keep searching until you find the right one. Look at it this way – if you’re not making money, your manager isn’t making money either. But when you are making money, think about this – will having more organization in your career be worth the 15-20% deduction in your earnings? This is typically what a manager will charge, although this is negotiable. Ultimately, your manager should be more than worth this investment – they should be an invaluable and irreplaceable addition to your career.
Want more advice? This month, Michael will be offering valuable support in the realm of artist management and many other topics at this year’s Indie Ignite Conference, where he will be featured among a panel of noteworthy speakers in order to answer your questions about topics involving the music industry. You can still submit questions for Michael to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s Indie Ignite will be held on July 7th and 8th in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit indieigniteconference.com for more details.