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Intro to Road Managers and Business Managers

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By Professor Pooch
© 2016 David J. Spangenberg

The Road Manager

When an Artist is playing away from home on a normal basis they will eventually require the services of a “Road Manager” or “Tour Manager”. Not everyone has what it takes to be a great Road or Tour Manager because the job is loaded with all kinds of responsibility as well as being very demanding of time and energy. It is such an all-around job that I will have to speak somewhat generally in describing it, for it varies from Performer to Performer, and could take up an entire book.

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In general, before and during the “Tour”, this person has the responsibility of organizing your travel from beginning to end, making sure you get where you have to be, and on time, and without any avoidable snags or hang-ups. The Artist should not have to do or worry about anything other than performing. Traveling in itself is wearing enough without having to worry about details concerning it.

In addition to travel arrangements, the Road Manager is in charge of lodging, the stage setup, and security for equipment and personnel as needed, as well as collecting the money.

Also, the Road Manager keeps in contact with the personal Manager who is taking care of everything back at home base.

Note: I highly recommend that Personal Managers travel with an Artist at first in addition to the road Manager and anytime else when they believe it is a good idea or necessary.

Great Road Managers are in the running for the “Master Go-fer” title, and are proud of their resourcefulness. They love challenges, and the joy of their life is making everything run smoothly.

Road Managers should be prepared for any situation, from securing drum repairs in Cleveland, to finding a pair of the right sized colored or patterned stockings in Philadelphia at 10PM, for example.

An Artist’s smooth, successful touring is often the Road Manager’s doing. They should be properly appreciated, because their part in helping the Artist may be unseen, but tremendously important. If you find a great one, take care of them for taking care of you!

The Business Manager

Performers who become successful often find it wise to hire a Business Manager to relieve them of a lot of details and responsibility of dealing with their money.

It’s also a way to solve a sticky issue that may arise when neither side, Manager or Artist, “trusts” the other side to handle the money. It’s not always about honesty, it’s often about knowing how to handle money, keeping records, etc.

Performers are generally performers rather than experts in the field of finance and some have met with disastrous results trying to handle their own money. It depends, of course, on the individual and what he/she feels is best.

A Business Manager takes over the part of the Artist’s Personal Manager’s job involving the handling and collecting of your money. This person may also be responsible for investing your money, paying bills, working out your “pocket money”, and advising and working with you on your tax situation.

The person can be an accountant, an investment counselor or an Attorney (usually a tax specialist), or just someone you feel you can trust with your money.

If they have been recommended to you, or have come to your attention, check them out very, very carefully before proceeding into a contractual arrangement.

Go as far as you can when checking them out, even if it’s a close friend, because you will literally be trusting this person with your hard-earned money.

Draw up a contract which specifies exactly what’s to be covered, the extent of their authority, and periodic inspection of the “account books” maintained in your interest.

Although you are relying on this person’s expertise and honesty, the contract should also specify that you are to be “filled in” on the details of every deal, every investment, before anything is done. The person who gives another person absolute control over their money, and who says “don’t bother me with details”, is practically begging to wind up a loser. You have hired a Business Manager to manage your business, not to exclude you from it!

A really sharp, honest, and aggressive Business Manager can take the Performer’s money and invest it wisely, sometimes to the point that income from investments exceeds income from performances, records, etc., in total. For all this, the Business Manager usually receives a fee of around 2 – 7% of the gross.

The contents of this Blog were excerpted from my book “The Music Biz”, available on my Site.

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: pooch@professorpooch.com

Stay tuned every Tuesday & Saturday for new Blogs, and if you miss any, you’ll find the older links on the Blog page.

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"Our aim is to help guide you, protect you, and to answer any and all of your questions regarding the Creative, Business and Legal sides of the Music Business, in plain, easy-to-understand "People-Talk". No matter what style of Music, no matter what you do, no matter what stage of your career - we're here for you! Let us help you save wasted time and money..."


David J. Spangenberg
["Professor Pooch"]


Music Business Career Guidance,
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Music Legal & Contract Specialist


E-mail David at: Pooch@professorpooch.com

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