Face it: once your career gets to a certain level, you're going to need a manager. That word scares some musicians, and while it's tough to find the perfect one, it’s going to be necessary. Many artists just starting out are aware that having a manager is important, but they don’t quite know what that role is responsible for. This is a person that you'll be working closely with and paying, so it should be clear to you exactly what they do. Here are a few things that your future manager will be in charge of concerning your music career – or if you already have one, make sure they're doing all of these things for you!
1. Attract the interest of labels
Working with a record label isn’t right for everybody, but as of now, it's still the industry standard, and many artists see it as a big step in building their career. Your manager should work on making sure record labels notice you – which is a pretty tough gig, believe me. There are thousands of acts out there trying to get signed, and there are only so many people listening for new talent, so grabbing their attention is extremely difficult. You should focus on creating great music, and your manager should be the one making sure it’s being heard by decision-makers.
2. Help you fight for a better deal
Once you have the interest of a record label, your manager is also the one who ultimately needs to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. There have been many instances in the past where an artist got the raw end of a deal, and it severely hurt their careers and their bank accounts. While you should be aware of what a contract put in front of you says, it isn’t really your job to negotiate better terms. That’s something that your manager, working with at least one lawyer, should navigate for you.
3. Manage your schedule
You might not be insanely busy (yet), but hopefully you have a lot going on. Your calendar should be pretty much filled with meetings, performances, meet and greets, interviews, and the like, and if it’s not, you need to get on finding some additional ways to get out there and work. It’s good to keep a personal calendar, but your manager is the one who should be making sure that you are where you need to be at almost all times. This doesn’t just entail putting something into your phone’s calendar, but rather making sure he or she knows everything about a meeting or a show – where, when, who to meet, details on that person, etc. It’s actually a lot to remember, but that’s why you have someone to do that for you.
4. Get you a publishing deal
Selling albums and singles is still important these days, but the money coming in from those purchases is dwindling year after year. Because of that, things like healthy publishing deals are becoming increasingly important. Your manager should not only make sure that you have a partnership with a well-known, active publishing company, but that it's good for you, just as he or she did with your record deal. He or she should also pressure the firm to push your works above all others. That might not end up being the case, but your manager should at least give it his or her all.
5. Secure endorsements, syncs, etc.
Working with brands is a great way to make some cash in today’s music industry, and every artist should be looking for a partnership. Whether it be playing at a branded event at SXSW or inserting your tunes into a commercial, there's a lot of money in this space, and it’s your manager’s job to find you opportunities. He or she can certainly work with others to make this happen, but don’t let him or her ignore this part of your world, as it could make all the difference monetarily.
6. Talk you up to everybody in the industry
This item might sound a bit vague, but it’s vital. Your manager shouldn’t just be someone who works for you from nine to five and then goes home and thinks about anything but you. It should be a person who's on all the time, and who can’t wait to help the world discover your music. This person should bring you up in almost every conversation, no matter who he or she is talking to. Whether it be to someone at a record label, the booking person for a venue or a festival, or even just some intern at an unrelated music company, you want your manager bragging about you and what you have coming up. Word of mouth is very important in the music industry, and the more people in the business hear your name, the more intrigued they will be to check you out and possibly work with you.
Find out more about working with a manager:
- 5 Types of Managers You Don’t Want Managing Your Band
- 4 Qualities Every Band Manager Should Have
- How to Find a Manager for Your Band
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog Pop! Bang! Boom! which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.