Do I need a Music Manager?

Do I need a Music Manager?

One of the questions that we get asked the most at The Unsigned Guide is, “How do I find a music manager?” In an age where the chances of signing to a record label off the back of an early demo are increasingly remote, a manager is seen by many as the golden ticket into the industry. Of course, a well connected manager can be crucial in taking your career to the next level—but before spending precious time on blanket emailing every management company that you can find, you should be asking yourself another important question, “Do I need representation?” 

If your music is starting to turn some heads, there will probably come a time when you’ll need a bit of help to keep that momentum going. However, it isn’t always easy to gauge the tipping point. So, with the kind help of  Music Manager Forum’s (MMF) Nicky Carder, we’ve collated a bit of advice below that we hope will help: 

Are you making enough money?

Let’s start with an obvious one. As much as the best managers are also music fans, they also need to see some return on their time. Some managers will work for free in the short-term if they really believe in an artist’s long-term prospects, but you are much more likely to attract a manager if you are already bringing in some dosh.

Are you happy to share your income?

Whilst we’re on the subject of money, bear in mind that a manager will take a cut of any income earned. Obviously, this may be a non-issue if their representation gains you extra funds and exposure. However, if you take on management too early—or it turns out that the relationship isn’t a good fit—you could pay out more in management fees than what you gain.

How much time are you spending on admin?

For many musicians, the realisation that they need some support comes when they start to feel that they are spending more time sat in front of their laptop tending to every day admin than working on their music.

Is there a friend or family member that can help?

You may get to the stage where you realise that the things that are eating up most of your time are the sort of things that you don’t need a specialist music manager to assist. Many successful artist-manager relationships can stem from a friend or family member offering an initial helping hand.

Are you comfortable with signing a management contract?

Even when you’re sure that you are ready for representation, there are still hurdles to overcome. Rushing straight into a management deal is never a good idea and there is a lot to consider before taking the leap. Management contracts can be filled with jargon and implicit clauses, so it is important to approach opportunities carefully and seek specialised advice.

Have you received any management offers?

As much as you feel that you may benefit from a manager, it can sometimes be best to focus on creating and let the opportunities find you. There is no harm in reaching out to artist managers, but if you can get to the stage where you are getting offers on the table, then you are in a much more advantageous position—as well as being more likely to enter an agreement that is beneficial for both parties. According to Nicky, this mutual interest is one of the most important parts of the artist-manager relationship.

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