It’s likely you’ve heard the title ‘music manager,’ ‘band manager’ or ‘artist manager’ but do you know what roll a manager plays within the music industry and how their services can help you elevate your career to the next level. Those important questions are beyond the scope of this article but instead I will talk about management tips you should know and practice as an artist managing your own career.
This is important because most musicians start off managing their craft way before a professional manager comes into the picture. To successfully handle your business as a musician you must be organized and posses a minimum basic understanding of the music industry as it is today.
It’s always wise to obtain professional direction from a manager who knows the industry well however for most, this option will not present itself until months or years into your career. But don’t fret, I will show you seven music management tips to help you successfully manage your business in it’s early stages.
1. Make what you want a priority
The amount of work you have to accomplish as a musician is a lot whether you’re with a band or a solo artist. It is essential to establish what you want as a musician so that you can plan. Time management and planning is key to becoming a successful musician and a manager of your craft.
You should determine the tasks that align with your goals and give them the priority. Doing the most important jobs first allows you to work stress-free when handling other duties. You also have to decide whether you want to be in a band or to be a solo artist. If you are a solo artist, you are good to go.
However, if you are looking to be in a band, you need to find artists who have similar music goals as you. You must feel confident and comfortable with those you align with in order to enjoy a synergetic chemistry and workflow.
2. Write Music and Record
If you want to make a living in the music industry you must do what it takes to create good music that is both engaging and unique. Self-management is for passionate, dedicated, and talented musicians who are ready to put their talent on the line. Who willfully spend the time and effort perfecting their style and skills which in-turn will manifest itself into a unique profitable musical niche.
The first step for all artists is to create a demo. Get in the studio and record that song(s) you’ve written and deemed ready. Work towards stepping up your music game by challenging yourself daily. Remember that although recording demos doesn’t have to be a high dollar affair, never take shortcuts. Always have quality recordings available so you can get music out with no delay. Be sure to have a team of friends or fans assembled that offer you constructive creative feedback.
3. Promote, Promote, Promote
Waste no time! As soon as the music is ready, it’s time to advertise and promote. Reach out and showcase your musical talent to the world. Utilize social media platforms and streaming services, participate in live shows and make yourself available for interviews. Take advantage of every opportunity to promote your music.
Now is also the time to contact record labels, agents and perhaps when you are ready, band managers. Find people who can help you book gigs and record pro quality demos and albums. At this point, it’s also essential to create a webpage where you can post your music and promote your skills aggressively.
4. Contracts and Other Legal Terms
After creating an awesome catalog of music, including a well polished demo, after completing a few successful online promotion campaigns, and you have managed to land and play some great local gigs, if you haven’t done so now would be the time to learn in detail the legal side of the music business… at least matters that currently effect you directly.
For example, suppose you are approached by a label (big or small) and they are interested in signing you.
First and foremost you must understand that recording contract are full of legal complexity and you would be wise to enlist the services of a lawyer to explain to you what a recording contract entails. Since a recording contract is an agreement that legally binds artists and record companies you need to scrutinize it before you think of signing.
Most recording contracts require an artist to sign exclusively meaning you can never record your music for another label without permission or leave the deal if you’re not happy. It’s essential to do your homework and understand the jargon plus the legal hassles to avoid disappointments later.
5. Take a Business Class
Since we are talking about contracts, let’s talk about other business terms. Many artists find the business side of the music industry daunting and confusing. You can cut down the confusion by taking a beginners course in business.
You can learn simple business terms in a matter of months. Ensure that you fully understand things such as sales, capital, inventory, gross and assets. So many musicians overlook this aspect of the musical industry. Get a head start by understanding every point of your musical career.
6. Learn how to Plan Shows and Tours
If you are managing yourself, it is essential to plan your tours and shows with clear goals in mind. You can use booking agents, they can advise you on the best venues and season to tour.
Initially most of your tours will be in areas and venues that take open microphone shows and pay very little. Because of this it is important to know your budget and the traveling distance and plan accordingly; otherwise, you may find yourself stuck on the road, without much hope.
If you’re in a band, communication is key, hence the need to plan with band members and decide what everyone can afford. You can then map out how long it will take for the group to travel to each show, and what the cost will entail. Performing in nightclubs and bars is also ideal in nurturing your relationship with your fans and promoting the music.
7. Band Mates
If you’re in a band, remember that each band member is part of the group. Everyone is equal, and of course, everything should be shared. Everyone gets what they put in.
Sit down and be open and honest about how monetary matters and other affairs will be handled. Giving each band member a job can ensure an equal balance of work regarding management. Make sure everyone is on the right page to ensure smooth sailing for your musical careers.
Music management is complicated, and you have to realize that the unexpected can happen in the process so you must know how to react to it. For professional music management, you should stay informed by reading articles and books on the music business. Ensure to get unique networking opportunities for expert advice when you need some. And finally remember that hard work pays but you should also give yourself planned time to rest and relax.
I hope you found this article useful, if so leave a comment. If you are looking for a music manager to help take your career to the next level, contact us today. To read more about what it takes to make it in the music business click here.