This is the second article in a series about how to get a music manager. In the first part of the series, I discussed several of the suggested steps one should take before looking for management, and how many people out there are looking for shortcuts that don’t seem to exist. If you are interested in music marketing and management services please contact us to see if we are a good fit for you. If not- please read on…
If you are beyond the blueprint phase of your career and you have a product that is ready to bring to market it is time to begin asking yourself in very specific terms what you need a music manager to handle for you.
Unfortunately, when I begin asking about specific management needs, the vast majority of the musicians I speak to respond with something to the effect of, “Well, I just want to make my music and have a manager handle all the business stuff”.
I usually reply with a well-worn sermon on the way things were in music, the way things have changed and what certain realities are. It usually takes 5-10 minutes and involves a story I heard about how Van Halen didn’t keep an eye on their business dealings and business partners during some of their most successful tours and paid a heavy price. Sometimes I go off on tangents about the pure volume of musical competition out there. All in all it boils down to a flowery and kind way of saying: “That’s not the way this works.”
To find and partner with the right manager is always easier if you have tried managing your career on your own and have experienced as many different sides of the business as possible. How else would you know what qualities to look for in the person you want to trust with your career if you don’t have a first hand understanding of the job yourself? So-
- You can’t afford to hire someone to help (yet)
- No one is willing to take the risk on you (yet)
- You don’t know how to do something you need done (yet)
- You don’t have a proven track record to get people to take you seriously (yet)
The bullets above are the realities of most start up businesses regardless of what industry they are in. Solving these issues is what being in business for yourself is all about.
So what to do? Make it up as you go along like everyone else does. Be willing to fail. Be the best manager you can be and be willing to admit what you don’t know and ask for help. If you do this long enough, the subsequent conversations you have with a potential manager will be much more intelligent. You won’t just say, “I want help booking better gigs and getting more YouTube views.” You will say something much more focused and intelligent, be able to look at an experienced manager’s technique with a knowing eye and be able to make intelligent commentary about what they have done for other artists. OR, you may go the other way. You may take a friend who is really organized, responsible and trustworthy and have that friend handle many of these tasks for you. There are dozens of successful managers I know who came up this way — because they were friends with the band, at all the shows and could be trusted.
Never forget: Great artists make great managers.
Read more in part 3.