How Much Do Music Managers Make? The Facts & Figures


If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a music manager, you may or may not know what this career entails. This is especially true for those of you who may be newbies to this industry. Yet, you are interested in working with one or more musicians to promote their musical talent to the mainstream.

Also, if this does sound like a career that you would enjoy pursuing, here are some key things that you should know before getting started. 

How Much Do Music Managers Make? The Facts & Figures

What Does a Music Manager Do?

What does a music manager do

You may be surprised to learn what being a music manager really entails, because these duties and responsibilities can vary greatly from one music manager to another. On the other hand, there are quite a few commonalties, including the following:

  • Negotiates the musicians contracts and collects the payments for their artists
  • Discusses career strategies with the artists that they represents
  • Schedules promotional appearances, interviews, musical concerts, and etc.
  • Handles any interpersonal conflicts between the artists, band members, and others involved within their sphere of influence
  • Works to enforce the terms of a contract
  • In general, a music manager is someone who handles the day-to-day affairs of an artist or band.
  • They negotiate contracts and collect payments for their artists, discuss career strategies with them

As you can see, music managers may be required to do almost everything that is needed for the clients that they represent. For example, most music managers are not tasked with the role of mixing a new album or playing the role of directing a music video.

On the other hand, they may spend most of their time balancing a musician’s finances, securing everything that is needed for music video and such, creating their own social media presence, and searching for brands that the musician can partner with during their careers. 

  • Working with a PR team to promote the musician’s brand
  • Keep all parties involved on the same page (i.e. directors of the musician’s music, the producers of music videos, and more). 

Simply put, the duties and responsibilities of the music manager is often based on what this professional has to do to grow opportunities.

How Much Do Music Managers Make?

music manager profit 1
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If you are looking to make big money when you are working in this career, you may or may not be successful in your efforts. This is because the salary for a music manager can change greatly based on a number of factors, including working for a set percentage amount that the musician earns.

For instance, the music manager's salary is tied directly to the amount that the musician receives for the gigs that they do. Or, the salary may be based on the contracts that they are signed to.

It is an industry in which you need to work your way up to earn the big bucks. Unless you are fortunate enough to manage a new talent that goes all the way to the top, it will take years before you are able to make a comfortable living.

Whatever the case or situation, it is important to note that a music manager’s salary varies. Here are the amounts that you can expect to make in the U.S. 

  • $16,000 – $440,037 annually
  • Median income = $79, 230 – $199,163
  • Top 86% of music managers make $440, 037
  • Fixed commission rate – ranges from 15% to 20%

Are Music Managers Paid upfront?

Music managers are great for musicians to have around. Therefore, you can always benefit from the services that they provide. However, when it comes to a new upcoming artists, the work that they do is not free. Instead, these are professionals that will charge you.

So, you will need to learn as much as you can about the pay that they receive. And, you will need to have the capability to negotiate a good deal for both you and your music manager.

A big part of this type of negotiation is also determining when your manager gets paid. Based on the agreement for compensation, these managers may accept a wage. On the flipside, the largest majority of music managers will work on a commission basis.

This commission will not be an upfront fee but is generated based on the amount that is received for a gig or a contract. Or, the music manager may agree to accept a certain percentage of the musician’s net come (after taxes versus gross income amounts). 

Financial Risk as an Artist Manager on Commission

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Artists may be very successful and make a lot of money, but they must remember that their managers are not guaranteed to earn as much. The manager’s income is on commission; they only receive a percentage of the artist’s earnings.

Why Hiring a Music Manager Is Advantageous to You

Not every musician has the same goals and objectives. In fact, based on the individual, there can be a large gap between each person's desires and needs. That being said, some musicians may decide to represent themselves, while others may need the help of a professional music manager. Whatever the case or situation, hiring a music manager can be very advantageous to you. 

This is because the best music managers are able to represent their clients in a manner that puts them light years above others in their same industry. For instance, where their musical clients are exceptionally good in their craft, they can network with others in music industries to do the following:

  • Get the best record deals in local and national venues
  • Help to get concerts and manage them while on the road
  • Find the best transportation deals
  • Promote Public Events to increase notoriety 

Also, because music managers know the industry, they can help to eliminate conflicts and problems that arise from confusion with venues, pay for gigs and other things that musicians may not want to deal with on their own. 

Lastly, the best music managers know how to work out both handshake deals and contracts whenever it is required. 

Music Manager Job Description

You can also find the job description of a music manager's description online today. Based on the information that is posted about this particular position, a music manager is a professional position that has been created for numerous reasons and purposes.

For instance, any time a music manager has been hired to do their job, their job is to represent the following musical artists. 

Solo Musicians

Bands

Singers

Musical artists

And, their primary role is to help to promote their client’s in a variety of business dealings, including promoting the careers of their clients. These are also professionals who work long hours to make sure their client’s careers are successful in their gigs, and in their finances.

Music Manager Career Paths

As you progress in your music manager career, you may want to consider moving up in the industry. Namely, there are numerous paths that you can choose from to advance in this field of work.

These include anything from finding opportunities for your clients while working with them on one gig at a time; or, managing other musicians by teaming up with promoters and other music industry professionals.

Either way, if you choose to work together with artists like this in the recording studio or live performances, then you may want to consider attaining the necessary education and training. This is for the purposes of improving your skills; also allowing you to get official recognition through licensure if required by law. For example, some states may require music managers to have a license, while others may not.

To get started with gaining the necessary education and training needed for this position, you can follow one of these three professional paths:

Music Manager Certification Programs

Professional Doctorate in Music Management Degree from Berklee College of Music

Certificate Programs for more general knowledge of the industry

As you can see, there are numerous options to choose from when it comes time to decide how you want to move forward in your career. Just remember that continuing education is key for any working professional!

Top Skills The Most Successful Music Managers Have

The most successful music managers in the game today share these three skill sets:

  • Business Skills
  • Creativity and Vision in the Music Industry
  • Networking and Social Media Knowledge

Although these skills may seem basic to some, they are actually very important when it comes to being a successful manager. Without this type of knowledge or training, you are not going to get very far in this line of work.

For instance, the business skill set is important for all people to have working within the music industry; because it includes:

  • Gaining knowledge about contracts and other paperwork that needs to be signed
  • Knowing how to produce a budget for recording or hiring artists; and, coming up with agreements that are legal and binding
  • Marketing and promotions, including the use of social networking sites to market your work

Other important skills include:

  • Knowing how to negotiate deals that are beneficial for both parties working together;
  • Having an eye for visionary talent;
  • Being able to communicate effectively with people in all types of positions. Plus, you must be well versed in the music industry.

I hope this article has been helpful for anybody looking to take on the career path or a professional music manager.

Remember, you will need to be committed and dedicated if you are serious about attaining the necessary education and training for this position!

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