Any musician in the business of making and creating music should strongly consider obtaining a manager of some sort. This is especially helpful for musicians when they begin getting noticed, have created a fan base, or if they start getting more traffic to their website. This is where artist managers come in handy – they can tackle the daily operational hazards of answering emails, engaging with your audience over social media, scheduling public relations promotions or website updates – the list goes on.
As an artist, it can be difficult to know what the best resources are for getting your foot in the door in the music industry and its many legal and financial facets. Financial aspects of booking venues for gigs and licensing music are also aspects of what specific types of artist managers can assist you with.
Finding decent artist managers can also be a chore, and since it’s not something that’s free, you want to be sure you find management that upholds your core mission and values for your music career as essential, and not just someone who can bring in money. Here is a compiled list of some great types of artist managers who focus on different aspects of your music career that are out there for independent artists to utilize and consider as you grow.
Management for Public Relations and Media (Marketing)
Finding a music agent to help you with the marketing of your music is how you will make yourself known. This is kind of a two-in-one artist manager, that covers both the marketing and promoting of your band/music. For the marketing portion, you have to start with a brand. This allows you to target your ideal audience/fans, and then find out what they want/need and deliver it. These types of marketing and PR managers will help you with these important things:
- Creating a website/digital download site
- Creating, updating, and engaging on various social media platforms (this is huge for building a large fanbase)
- Work as a spokesperson and point of contact for setting up things like interviews and such for television, newspaper, magazines, etc.
- Promoting any upcoming gigs, single releases, or music videos through advertisements
These artist managers know people and network in many places to ensure that you get your name heard. Organic Music Marketing is one of the top-ranked firms out of Atlanta, Georgia and their managers know how to create and strategically launch campaigns for advertisements and promotions that will get you a great return on your investment.
Management for Music Distribution & Licensing (Passive income opportunity!)
This is important, as you want to be sure that you copyright all of your own material before it is published so that no one else can steal your work and use it as their own. However, you may be willing to promote the use of your music (while also receiving royalties) by allowing others to license it for commercial use in various things like ad campaigns, independent films, or commercials. Managed music distribution and licensing are two essential avenues that allow musicians to get their music in front of the right people and/or a larger audience, instead of gearing their songs solely towards a specific fan base. Licensing and distribution managers understand how to find the best market for your work, and there are companies that specialize in this field. Marmoset is a great licensing agency that has a proven track record of getting new music used in ad campaigns and films – they take the guesswork out of getting paid to let others use and promote your music.
Marmoset also has its own Creative Services Team that can help those who want to create the “perfect song” for specific projects. It’s also a great way to collaborate with other musicians and create a passive income for the starving artist – imagine getting to make music with others and receive royalties that’ll allow you to to keep playing.
Management for Finances
Being a musician is tough and having the burden of working for yourself also comes with the burden of having to do your budgeting, bookkeeping, and taxes. You could try and learn to manage your own finances with some programs and software (and possibly the help of some finance tutorials online), but chances are if you aren’t well educated in proper profit and loss calculations, bank statements, and financial filing, you might miss some important things when tax time comes, such as missed deductions or tax breaks.
Having a manager to assist with basic bookkeeping and accounting can be a great way to manage your finances throughout your music career. One of the easiest ways you can find someone to really work for you is by contracting out a specialized bookkeeper who knows the music industry. A couple of great freelancers who will work hard to help your finances as a musician include The Music CPA and A Sharp Bookkeeping.
Management for Production & Tech
Production and technical artist managers are important when you want to polish and perfect your sound. Managers in this aspect can sometimes be part of an agency or studio, so they are only utilized for the duration of when the music is being laid down to a track or album. Sometimes if musicians are signed to a label, they automatically will be booked with a studio for this to happen. For independent artists, however, you will have to do some research to find music studios in your area.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration here. Music equipment has become more evolved and better for purchase of use within the home, so it’s possible that you might not need the studio per se. However, you will still need the knowledge of someone with music experience on how to edit your music and work with the various programs and software to mix the audio and vocals together properly. Trying to teach yourself in these programs will take up a lot of time and effort, so if you want to focus on your music, you should definitely look into working with a technical manager.
This is also a manager that you may utilize later on down the line when doing an actual music video production as well since it will require the use of a technical crew. There will be more than just one person utilized because you will be needing someone to work the camera or cameras, another on microphones/sound, actors if necessary, and someone to take on directing for the vision to come to life.
Management for Booking & Touring
Your music needs to be played. Musicians have to travel around to different locations when performing various gigs, and depending on the size of the music group, there is equipment that has to come along, too. General music managers are sometimes also known as “Touring Managers,” and their responsibility lies in getting you work, whether near or far.
This may also require some networking and PR work, so sometimes the marketing and booking managers are rolled into one type of manager. Either way, booking gigs and playing your music in venues all across the country, possibly the world, is the ultimate goal as a musician. You will want to find someone who knows the industry and has the knowledge of where you should perform to get noticed.
Musicians don’t always necessarily need management, especially when just starting out in the entertainment industry. When you get to the point in your music career where you feel you just don’t have the time or energy to respond to all the emails in your inbox or all the voicemails on your phone – this is definitely the time you should consider taking up some artist management.
Keeping up with the workflow and operations of your business is important. Evaluate your needs and be sure to take the time to research and interview as many managers as necessary so that you can find the perfect fit or combination that will take your music career to that next level.