This is a re-post of an article originally written in June, 2013. Even years later, it still outlines what artists looking to succeed in the music business need to do to find capable management.
If you are interested in music marketing and management services please contact us to see if we are a good fit for you. Either way, please read on!
“How do I find a music manager?” “How do I find a booking agent?” “I just need to find someone to get my music to the next level.” We often hear these questions and statements from musicians. As a musician twenty-five years ago, I asked the same questions. As it turns out, I wound up on the industry side of the fence and traded in my bass (at least as an aspiring professional) for a record company desk job. Having seen both sides of the equation, I do have some insight.
Let’s start at the very beginning: Do you have a career to manage yet?
I know it sounds stupid. I’m not asking you if you have an enormous amount of work that you could use help with or if you want someone with experience to guide you. I am not making light of the pure volume of work that it takes to create and promote music. (As you know making music can leave very little time to handle your business.) What I am asking you is, do you have something ready to bring to market that needs managing, or are you still building your product and your brand?
A significant number of musicians are still in the early developmental phases of their career. Many musicians never leave this phase. We live in an instant-gratification kind of world, and I’ve found that a majority of people are looking for a shortcut. Take your time and develop your product; this will help you rise above the millions of other people who are just starting out yet still rushed their first efforts online, hoping to be “discovered” without doing enough legwork.
Back to management …
Let’s talk about what you should have together before approaching someone to invest in your career. Remember — it is an investment for an outsider to work with you. Whether or not they spend a dime on you, good management is an enormous expenditure of someone’s time, and it’s very likely you’re not making enough money to get them paid when you are just starting out.
Before approaching anyone to manage you, it is best to have these items together:Recordings of your music that stand on their own (no “it could have been better, but …” statements).
- Professional-looking photos of you or your group.
- A basic website with social media links that is findable in search engines.
- A Mailing list and a place where people can sign up on said list.
- A social network presence (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).
- Live performance footage (preferably in front of an enthusiastic crowd).
- A well-written bio highlighting your accomplishments
These are the building blocks and the marketing materials you will use over and over and over again. You will of course have to be great at your craft, but putting yourself forward as a professional is incredibly important. If you have a viable product, having these materials will get your more gigs, get you taken more seriously by your peers and potential fans and ultimately help you build your business.
It’s really important to be a self-starter, and it seems that many musicians are not. Check out what people search for online when they are searching music-related terms, according to a Google Keyword Planner query in April 2018.
“Get My Music Heard” — Global Monthly Searches: 10-100
“How to Make a Living as a Musician” — Global Monthly Searches: 10-100
“Marketing My Music” — Global Monthly Searches: 10-100
“How to Get a Music Manager” — Global Monthly Searches: 100-1k
“How to Get A Record Deal” — Global Monthly Searches: 1k-10k
Search queries that indicate someone is looking to build a business on their own are dwarfed by queries that suggest people are looking for outside help.
With the above in mind, how do you get started? The best advice is to begin building your career to the best of your ability on your own. It’s great to make connections and pursue relationships with the industry, but only if you never stop working on your own without help.
Continue to part 2 now.