What Does a Music Manager Do for an Artist?

If you're an artist looking for a music manager, you may be wondering what they do and what services they provide. A good music manager can help take your career to the next level by providing guidance, support, and expertise in the music industry.

But, they do so much more on a personal level, so let's explore that now!

What Does a Music Manager Do for an Artist?

What A Music Manager Does For An Artist

  • consult booking agents
  • arrange live shows and concerts as well as all the minute details about the performance
  • work directly with the record label
  • discuss album artwork and branding
  • planning a recording budget
  • handling equipment rental and recording studio sessions
  • handling travel and accommodation
  • deal with press and publicity
  • work directly with an attorney in negotiating publishing and merch agreements
  • act as counsel and mediation between you and other bodies such as video directors, producers and other artist managers

A manager's responsibilities will vary based on the size of their artist's career, but typically include administrative duties, such as handling finances, negotiating contracts, and booking performances.

They may also oversee an artist's day-to-day schedule and provide advice on everything from what songs to record to what clothes to wear onstage.

In some cases, managers may even act as a sounding board for creative ideas.

However, it is important to remember that a manager is not an artist's creative partner. Ultimately, it is the artist's vision that should guide their career, not the manager's.

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While a good manager can be an invaluable asset, it is important for artists to maintain control over their own artistry.

Managers Can Also Help To Build And Establish Your Brand

A good manager will also work with you to establish the image that you wish to project and the manner best suited to project and protect that image.

This can be especially important for young artists who may be trying to find their way in the business and establish themselves as serious contenders.

If they are helping to build and establish your brand, a good manager can give you a tremendous leg up in achieving your musical goals.

While managers do a lot as standard, some of these things are not specified in a standard contract, so it is important that artists communicate and discuss their needs with their manager and, ultimately, get it in writing.

What Managers DON'T Do

Music managers do not make decisions for their clients. They do not tell them what to do or how to live their lives. They do not micromanage their careers. Instead, they provide guidance, support, and advice, while allowing their clients to make their own decisions.

They help artists reach their full potential and achieve their goals, but they do not control them.

The Different Stages In a Musicians Career & How Managers Operate Them

What music managers do varies even more when an artist is at different stages in their career.

For example:

Stage 1: Up And Coming

Stage 1: Up And Coming

This is the stage where your career is just starting to develop. You may have released a few singles, mixtapes or an album, but you're not yet well-known. Consequently, you'll be working hard to get your music heard and build a following.

It's important to have a good team around you at this stage, as they can help you develop your sound and image. Additionally, gigging heavily can help you to raise your profile and build a fanbase.

During this stage, it's also important to start developing relationships with industry professionals such as promoters, radio DJs, and journalists. These relationships can be beneficial later on in your career.

Stage 2: The Marketing Phase 

Stage 2: The Marketing Phase 

This stage marks the point at which you are the opening act (that is, your on-stage time is before 9 p.m.). You're now starting to get more exposure and may be getting airplay on local radio stations. You may also be playing shows with bigger acts in order to reach a wider audience.

Although you're not yet headlining shows, you're beginning to establish yourself as a viable act. At this stage, effective marketing is essential in order to maintain momentum and keep growing your fanbase. As well as continuing to gig heavily, you should also focus on getting press coverage and building up your social media presence.

Additionally, it's important to start working on new material so that you can continue to progress musically.

 

Stage 3: Established Work

Stage 3: Established Work

You've now reached the point in the music business where your career is established. You're regularly headlining shows and may even be playing festivals. You've built up a solid fan base and are starting to get some mainstream attention.

At this stage, it's important to maintain the momentum by continuing to release new material and gigging regularly. It's also crucial to keep expanding your fan base by reaching out to new markets and demographics organically via social media.

Additionally, now is the time to start thinking about long-term strategies such as branding and merchandising.

Stage 4: The Known Star Phase

Stage 4: The Known Star Phase

You've made it! You're now a star and are enjoying all the benefits that come with that status. You're selling out shows, bagging awards, and appearing in the media on a regular basis, your foot isn't just in the door – you are the music business.

At this stage, it's important to manage your public image carefully so that you don't alienate your fans or burn out from all the attention. Additionally, you should start thinking about ways to capitalize on your success by diversifying into other areas, such as acting or product endorsements.

Stage 5: Time To Hang Up The Mic

This is the final stage in a musician's career. You may have decided to retire because you're no longer enjoying performing, or simply because you feel that you've achieved all that you can in the music industry. Alternatively, you may have been forced to retire due to ill health or declining popularity. Regardless of the reason, this is the point at which your career comes to an end.

You may or may not own your masters ( the copyright to your recordings), if you do, good on you! You've got something to show for all your hard work. If not, don't despair, you can still take pride in the fact that you've had a successful career and achieved what many people only dream of.

At each of these stages, a music manager's role will be different.

During the “up and coming” stage, the manager's job is to get their client's music heard by as many people as possible in order to build a following. On the other hand, once an artist is established, the manager's job becomes more about protecting their client's public image and ensuring that they capitalize on their success.

At the final stage of a musician's career, the manager's role is to help the client transition into retirement gracefully. This may involve helping them to plan for life after music or negotiate their exit from their record label.

As you can see, a music manager's role varies depending on the stage of their client's career. However, one thing remains constant throughout: the need to provide support, guidance, and advice to help their clients reach their full potential.

Areas Where Music Management Is Most Impactful

In my time in the music industry, I've come to realize that music management has the most impact in four key areas:

  • Marketing
  • Business Affairs
  • Career Development 
  • Touring

Let's take a closer look at each of these areas in turn.

Marketing

Marketing is all about getting an artist's music heard by as many people as possible. A good music manager will work hard to ensure that their client's music is being played on the radio, featured in print media, and shared online. They will also develop creative marketing campaigns to help raise awareness of their client's music and build a following.

Business Affairs

Managers need to have a good understanding of the business side of the music industry in order to protect their client's interests. This includes areas such as contract negotiation, royalty collection, and copyright law. A good manager will make sure that their client is getting the best possible deal and is not being taken advantage of by their record label or any other third parties.

Career Development

A music manager's job is not only to help their clients achieve success in the present but also to prepare for a long and successful career. This includes helping them to develop their musical skills, build a strong team of collaborators, and plan for the future. A good manager will have a clear vision for their client's career and will work hard to make that vision a reality.

Touring

Touring is an essential part of any musician's career and is often the most demanding aspect of the job. A music manager will aid their clients in planning and preparing for tours, arranging tour transportation, negotiating deals with promoters, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly while on the road.

A successful artist will also have a tour manager who handles all of the logistics and day-to-day operations of the tour. However, the artist's music manager will still be responsible for overseeing the entire operation and ensuring that their client is happy and healthy.

How Are Music Managers Paid?

Music managers typically receive a percentage of their client's income, known as a commission. The standard commission is 15%, but this can vary depending on the type of services provided and the success of the artist.

In some cases, music managers may also receive a salary from their client or from the artist's record label. However, this is less common and usually only occurs when the manager is also working as the artist's agent or business manager.

This means that as the artist or bands earn more money, the manager will also earn more money. This provides a strong incentive for managers to work hard to help their clients succeed.

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