Music Managers Looking For Talent and How to Find Them
Music managers are looking for talent to guide their careers and nurture opportunities for success. But how do you get the attention of a music manager? And what do they do? We’re glad you asked!
What is the role of a music manager?
Mike Mowery has written an entire book answering this question. Click here to get it for free!
To paraphrase Outerloop founder and managing partner Mike Mowery, it’s easier to describe what a music manager doesn’t do over what they do. A booking agent books shows. A publicist contacts media. A record label releases music to distributors who make sure the music gets on to streaming platforms and into retail outlets. And a manager does none of that.
A music manager’s job is to put this team of people together for your career. They work with you to design your career and how you will present your self and music to the world. The manager seeks out opportunities for your career. They make sure you are making the correct decisions for your career and protect you from others, as well as your self.
What do music managers charge?
The music manager will rarely be the first person you need for your music career team. The manager’s job is principally to manage the opportunities coming to you, rather than creating those opportunities. Although they certainly do that as well.
We wrote recently about when and how managers are paid so please check out that post here for more information. In short, music managers are usually paid a commission of 15-20% on all incoming money to the band. This would include money from performances, merchandise sales, publishing, streaming income, and anything else.
Beware any music managers charging a flat fee. Although this is an attractive arrangement for the manager of independent artists at the beginning of their career, it is often a scam. If 15-20% of your monthly band income is not enough to convince a passionate and experienced manager to work with you, you’re too early in your career for a manager.
How do I find a manager for my band?
Again, much like record labels, when you’re ready, managers will most often find you.
However, early in your music career, having someone passionately working for your success is both exhilarating and helpful. Usually these people will be fans with an interest in developing a career for themselves in the music business. They can be found at local music business schools, online music business forums, and at your shows.
One caveat – you must never have a music manager working harder for your career than you are. And that’s beyond writing and performing and recording your songs. Until your art is generating enough money to compensate a music manager fairly, you have to be working harder than anyone for your career. You must be making the industry connections. You must be finding the opportunities.
An early-career music manager is a potential god-send, but also a largely volunteer position. And yet, they will work harder than a latter-career music manager. Keep your early-career music manager engaged in designing your future success and managing the opportunities you create. Do not consider your early-career music manager as your invitation to slack off on your responsibilities to your own career.
How do you get the attention of a music manager?
In both cases, early-career and later-career music managers, they will find you. Focus on building your music business network. Develop relationships with promoters, bloggers, labels, and the like. And continue to build your audience. Focus on gaining Spotify spins and followers.
When you have an audience large enough to attract income, managers will find out. They will be speaking to mutual contacts, asking for referrals. They see the Spotify statistics and Billboard charts. When a band shows up they aren’t aware of, they begin asking questions.
Sell out your shows. The promoter will be telling their booking agent contacts. Those booking agents won’t be able to get the dates they want because YOU will be a more attractive show for that promoter. And the booking agent will tell their manager contacts. When the managers hear about you enough times, from enough people, they will contact you directly.
Unfortunately, the music manager is largely looked upon as the opportunity to slack off. It’s why you want a manager, right? There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it all. You just need a helping hand to take care of all the non-fun business stuff.
But this isn’t the role of the manager. This is the role of your bandmates and friends and fans. Lean on them for help. When you’re making enough money, the managers will find you.