HOW TO MANAGE AN ARTIST
Managing a performing artist or musician is demanding but a rewarding career path. As a talent manager, you’ll oversee the artist’s career by helping them find gigs and performance opportunities. Many managers coordinate with large existing record labels to try to find gigs for their artists. You’ll need to start by recruiting artists and helping them record and perform their work. As your career takes off and time passes, more well-known artists will come to seek you out. Below are simple ways you can follow to see your work build an artist career.
Words By Maurice Tha General
A. FINDING ARTIST TO MANAGE
1. Frequent visits to music clubs and gigs if you aren’t well known as a manager. Start your career as a manager by picking up similarly unknown musicians and artists at local shows. Check out local shows and underground music venues, and find a few artists whose sound you like. Often, once they hear you’re a manager, musical acts will approach you to manage them. If not, you may need to pitch the idea to them.
Try walking up to a musician you admire and saying, “Hi, I enjoyed your set. Do you have any professional management? If not, I’d love to manage you. I’m looking to pick up a few new clients.”
It’s okay to admit that you’re new to managing. Don’t try to hide your lack of experience. You’ll most likely be working with newer bands or artists who have never been managed before, so the lack of experience will be mutual.
2. Find out about new artists to manage through social media. For example, you could follow trendy music blogs on social media to find out what new artists people are excited about.
Then, reach out to those artists through an email or a phone call and ask if they’d like to hire you to manage them. If other talent managers snatch up the new talent before you’ve even heard of it, your career as a manager may be short-lived.
3. Solicit artist suggestions from acts you currently manage. If you have 2 or 3 musicians or groups that you currently manage, think of them as resources to help you find new artists. So, talk to the artists you currently represent to find out what new artists they’re listening to. They may have heard some buzz that you didn’t, or be able to recommend talented friends or acquaintances for you to manage. When you connect with potential new artists, give them a business card so they can contact you with any questions. Or, you could direct them towards your professional social media page.
4. Evaluate the character of potential clients before accepting them. The relationship between an artist and their manager is both professional and personal. Make sure that the artists you manage are ethical, hard-working, and stress-resistant people before you agree to help them find record deals and performance opportunities. Since some of these traits take time to notice, you can talk to other managers or artists that potential clients have worked with before. Ask about the potential clients’ personalities and work ethics.
For example, if an artist wants to work with you but you’ve heard stories about their toxic personality, avoid working with them.
Or, avoid working with an artist if they have a poor work ethic and expect success to come without hard work.
Don’t work with artists who seem to have problems with drugs or alcohol. Working in the entertainment industry can worsen these types of problems.
B.PROMOTING ANG SUPPORTING YOUR ARTIST
1. Book gigs for your artist to perform at. You can reach out to venue and club managers and ask if they have any gaps in their bookings that your artist can fill. Keep in mind that different venues will cater to different crowds and will be appropriate for different types of artists. So, as part of your job, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with local venues and their management to see which will be the most amenable to booking your client.]
As their career picks up, artists will be able to perform at larger and better-known venues.
You can also consider the types of venues that an artist performed at before you began managing them. If the artist was playing in venues that catered to a specific genre, you should continue to look for venues with a similar aesthetic.
For example, if you’re managing a reggae band, don’t book them at venues that usually host rap musicians.
2. Fielding offers from potential music publishers and record labels. Once your artist begins to accumulate some buzz, record labels and music publishers will begin to approach the artist with record and publication offers. It’s your job to intercede between the label reps and the artist. Consider the offers being made, and determine whether or not they’re in your client’s best interests.
Be aware that not every publisher and label will have your artist’s best interests in mind. Some may try to exploit, cheat, or over-work your artist. If you sense that a deal is bad, advise your artist to avoid signing the contract.
Reasonable offers will stipulate a manageable number of recording obligations for your artist. Be wary of publishers that want your artist to record 3 albums in 3 months.
You can also talk to other musical acts that have worked with these publishers or record labels. Ask the artists what their experiences were like.
3. Coach your artists through tough times in their careers. While your artist’s friends and family will comprise their support networks, they’ll need to rely on you to provide professional and business-oriented support. Always be honest about their business finances and the state of their career, and praise your artists for their hard work.
If your artist has no money, or if their most recent album performs terribly, be honest and give them the bad news. Then, offer a couple of ideas of how they can get their career back on track.
You could say something like, “It’s a shame that big record deal fell through. But, you’re not the first great musician to have a rough start to their career. Keep your head up and keep writing new music; things will turn around soon.”
4. Manage your artist’s professional budget for them. The artists that you manage will be busy writing and performing new music, and won’t have much time left to oversee their professional budget. As their manager, then, this responsibility will fall to you. You’ll need to make sure your artist’s budget doesn’t go into the red over things like:
— Touring costs.
– Fees from music video production.
– Recording studio fees.
– Fees and salaries paid to band members, publicists, and other professional contacts.
C. BUILDING YOUR ARTISTS CAREER’S
1. Help your artists move their career in the direction they’d like. A substantial part of your job as a manager will be to help your artists’ careers progress in ways that make them happy. Different performing artists want different things from their careers. Listen to your artists, and discuss ways you can help them reach their particular goals. For example, you can help your artists achieve goals like:
– Headline a major music festival.
– Have a Top 10 hit on the radio and TV countdown.
– Produce a hit music video.
– Tour in cities or countries they haven’t been to before.
2. Look for new ways to advertise and promote your artists’ work. As a manager, you’ll need to help your artists enhance their careers by reaching new audiences. You can do this through magazines, TV, or social media. For example:
– Contact music and art magazines and see if they’d like to interview your artist.
– See if local or national talk shows would like to feature your artist for an interview or performance segment.
– Advertise your artists over social media through tweets or YouTube ad videos.
– Look out for new artists in different genres that your artist could collaborate with.
3. Involve the artist in business contracts, budgets, and the work calendar. While some artists enjoy participating in the business side of music, others abhor it. If you can involve the artist in the business side, though, they’ll come to have more respect for you and the work you do for their career. It’ll also make the artist better able to help manage his or her career. So, you could:
– Look over budget sheets together.
– Review your daily business calendar with the artist.
– Peruse business contracts for gigs and albums.
D. DEALING WITH THE MANAGEMENT STRESS
1. Stay patient and work with the artists’ busy schedules. Unlike other businesses, musicians are not always punctual, professional, or timely in their correspondence. Stay calm, be patient, and don’t get upset if an artist doesn’t hold himself or herself to a high standard of professionalism.
So, you might need to wait a few days for an artist you’re managing to call you back or confirm the dates for a gig.
2. Give creative input but don’t be surprised if it’s shot down. Many managers do have a role in their artists’ creative work, although the majority of the job is business-oriented. For example, you could suggest that one of your musician change the set order for a live gig or introduce a more up-tempo song on an album. Whether or not the artist accepts the feedback is up to them.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll get paid whether or not the artist accepts your creative input.
3. Do appreciate how your work is meaningful. The best talent managers often operate behind the scenes and go unacknowledged. There will be times when you don’t receive many thanks for the work you’re doing. However, if you learn to give yourself credit for a job well done, you’ll find the work meaningful whether or not you’re thanked.
For example, think of how much your artists’ musical performances mean to their fans.
Or, pat yourself on the back for having successfully negotiated a contract for your artist.
instagram – @mauricethageneral , Twitter – @GeneralMor