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By Professor Pooch
© 2016 David J. Spangenberg
There may be quite a few reasons for you wanting to become a Manager, yourself.
1. Maybe you may have realized that you’re better suited to the Business side of Music rather than the artistic side.
2. Possibly, you have been active as an Artist and feel you have the capability to be a great Manager.
3. Perhaps you have discovered an Artist you believe is outstanding and feel you could do a great job of Managing him/her/them.
4. Sometimes Artists are attracted to Managing because they want or need additional income.
The reason isn’t important; what is important is learning how to do it right. It isn’t often that being a great Manager “all just comes naturally”. Some of it has to be learned, and more importantly, experienced.
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So, at first you might wish to seek employment with an established, successful Manager or Management Group. Then you’ll actually see and experience the ins and outs of working with Artists, come to realize and understand the problems that can occur, and learn how to solve them – without risking your last penny in learning on your own.
If you bring along your own Artist to manage it’s often possible to work out some kind of deal with them. For instance, by splitting your Management percentage with them, in exchange for their experience, cash flow, office facilities, phones, staff and business contacts.
If you become part of a successful operation, you will benefit from merely being able to say you’re associated with them. The backup or even implied backup of a great Manager or organization will give you an edge in approaching other Artists as a potential Manager. In the meantime, you are starting on the road to success with your project, and building your own name.
If you feel confident enough to do it alone, great! Just remember to be sensible about it.
You will require some money to get started. You will need to cover your expenses for a while including phone bills, postage, stationery and business cards, Lawyer’s fees, travel, possibly demo CDs for booking, photographs, and other related expenses such as a computer and Internet service, along with your own living expenses.
Whether you begin with your own money or not, don’t ever feel “comfortable” for a minute! You have to be “hungry” all the time, which means you must use every minute of your business day (however long), trying to make contacts, gaining the interest of Booking Agents, and “selling” your Artists (and incidentally, yourself) wherever possible.
Remember that it may take a fair amount of time for money to start coming in at a reasonable rate. No matter how much you begin with or whose money it is, if everything is going out and nothing is coming in, you’re in trouble!
One of the hallmarks of a successful Manager is energy. A Manager is moving even when standing or sitting still, planning, pushing, and striving, looking for opportunities for business.
If you become successful with one Artist, look for another, and then another, and keep moving.
Note: Looking for other Artists does not mean signing them all. You must be very picky. You should be spending your valuable time on a worthwhile cause…
More on this in the next Blog: “Choosing an Artist”.
Don’t ever rely on one Artist for your income no matter how good they are. Things can change for any number of reasons, and besides, to make the overall income single successful Artists makes for themselves, you may need more than four Artists, depending on your percentage.
If you are short on money, and long on ambition, you might be able to find a partner and form a “Management Company”.
Or, you might find an “angel” (investor), someone who will financially back the Artist. Then the “backer” and the Artist become partners, and you don’t have to split your Management money with anyone.
Remember, your money is a percentage of the Artist’s gross, which means all the money that comes in before expenses, taxes, etc., are taken out.
No matter how you do it, always have an Attorney draw up a contract or agreement so that it is fair for everyone. If you have an Entertainment Attorney, this Person may even be able to find backers for the Artist, or for that matter, for you.
Before you set up as a Manager, have your Attorney inform you about laws that may affect your business and you as an individual, so you will be able to perform your job freely. Aligning yourself with a great Entertainment Attorney may be helpful to your career, especially in contractual dealings with Companies.
It’s possible he/she will work on percentages of the deals, rather than cash in advance; some do – but it’s rare and they really have to believe in you, plus most Music Business Attorneys want a large up-front cash advance.
Great Managers combine experience, knowledge, persistence, patience, a good business mind, street-sense, and the ability to get along with all kinds of people. Just as invaluable, however, are a positive outlook, honesty, and tact. If you really want to be a Manager, these “characteristics” can be developed!
Remember if you ever have any questions about the Creative, Business or Legal ends of the Music Business, or need my help in any way, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned every Tuesday & Saturday for new Blogs, and if you miss any, you’ll find the older links on the Blog page.
Tune in for the next episode…