Read this if you are considering taking on an artist manager or becoming a manager yourself.
Music Management 101 – What Does an Artist Manager Do? & How Do Music Managers Get Paid?
What is an artist managers job?
Put simply, an artist managers job is to handle the business side of an artists career. This can include (but is not limited to):
- Negotiating deals and contracts.
- Planning marketing and touring strategies
- Developing the artist’s image and brand.
- Collecting payments and helping to manage the artist’s financial affairs.
- Being the artists best friend and often most-annoying ‘parent’.
- Advising on all key career decisions and being a source of emotional support.
- Building the right team to support the artist.
- Discovering and developing new revenue sources and opportunities for their artist(s).
“The three most important things a manager does: One is ‘get the money’. Two is ‘always remember to get the money’. Three is ‘never forget to always remember to get the money.”
— Shep Gordan (legendary artist manager)
What Makes A Good Artist Manager?
The value of a good music manager is often, their network and the opportunities they can create for their artists. A good manager should have a strategy/plan in place for their artist and put everything into making sure it is followed for maximum successes of the artist. The artist manager and artist’s goals must be aligned.
Artists managers need to be highly organised, business savvy and need to have a strong knowledge and connection in all parts of the music industry.
There are different types of artist managers that work with artists at different stages in their career. Some artists will stay with their artists for many years, others will come and go. A big music star will often have more than one manager to handle different aspects of their career.
For example, a pop star may have a Tour manager who travels with them while on the road, a music manager to handle the creative side of the artist’s development and a business manager to handle contracts and commercial decisions.
Some artists managers work independently and directly with their artists, others are part of larger management companies. There are pros and cons of both of these options. Independent managers are often more hands-on and personal while the larger companies (who often focus on ‘bigger artists’) will usually have more resources and contacts at their disposal.
Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them. – Paul Hawken
How Does an artist manager make money? What does artist management cost for the musician?
Management contracts come in all shapes and sizes and vary depending on many factors such as the manager’s experience, how established the artist in question is and the size of the management company.
Most managers will ask for a fixed percentage (around 15–20%) of the artist’s gross revenue (income before costs) but some will work on a net % so that they only make money if and when the artist is making a profit.
Artists management contracts usually last between 1–5 years with various ‘get out’ clauses for breaking the contract early or sunset clauses which reduce the risk of the artist leaving after the manager has invested their time and resources in building up their profile.
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