What does a Music Manager do?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2018
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Solo musical artists and bands are not always skilled or familiar with the business side of the music industry. The day-to-day care and feeding of professional musicians often becomes the responsibility of a music manager. He or she generally handles things such as band bookings, contract negotiations, public relations, promotional campaigns and arranging studio recording sessions. Depending on the job description, managers may also handle the band's traveling arrangements when performing on the road.

Band Members as Managers

Sometimes, an experienced band member will serve as the group's manager until it becomes more established and a dedicated professional can be hired. Some local music managers could be considered musical agents as well, since they primarily represent the band during the booking process and receive a fixed percentage of the band's gross income as compensation. A manager working for a local or regional band may also have to supervise the group during a performance and make sure the venue owners meet their financial obligations.


Multiple Managers

As a solo performer or band becomes more established, some of the chores previously handled by a music manager are often delegated to others. A road manager, for example, may be responsible for the performers' travel and lodging arrangement, while a publicist takes on the task of promoting the band and advertising upcoming gigs or tour schedules. A manager's role in a popular regional or national band may be more of a liaison between a record label and the group, or as an immediate supervisor who addresses the personal and professional needs of the band.

Characteristics of a Good Manager

An effective music manager should have experience in both the creative and business side of the music industry. Musicians often respond better to those who speak their language, while record labels and venue owners prefer to work with people who are familiar with performance contracts and other legal obligations. Managers should not make unilateral decisions for their clients, but should also keep a client's best interests in mind when negotiating an appearance fee or booking more gigs.

Manager Training

Training for this role is often a combination of on-the-job experience working for established managers and specific business training in musical management. Some traditional music programs in public colleges and universities may offer a concentration in music management, while vocational schools specifically geared towards the music industry often offer an intensive course of study leading to employment as a freelance manager.


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Discuss this Article

Post 8

When you hire a manager to help get you started and you pay them $200 per month, is it still up to you to pay for recording time and find it yourself?

So far, they have taken the money, made a lot of promises and have done nothing.

They also said they would help my son get more people so he could have a band. Please can someone tell me if I just got cheated?

Post 4

well I am a music manager and I do everything for the artist, as I work with up and coming artists. it is ultimately your music that will draw interest and a label to you. If my artist is looked after and happy, then I will be, too!

Post 3

One interesting role that has come up in the music industry is that of music marketing manager.

For instance, some of the bigger names have one manager for the band, one for tours and gigs, and one for their image, like a marketing consultant.

I guess if you can afford it, then it's a great thing, but I wonder how many artists have to do their marketing the hard way -- putting up posters all over town, calling venues and getting ignored, etc.

Post 2

If I want to get started in music artist management, what are my chances of getting a music manager job right off the bat?

I mean, even if I worked as a free music manager, for instance, offering services in return for experience, do you think I could get a job right out of college?

Post 1

I wish that all music music artist/manager relationships were as great as the one described in this article.

I once interviewed Mark Volman, one of the members of the Turtles, and their first manager not only signed them into a terrible contract, but took all their earnings from a tour and took off to Mexico.

Just shows that you have to be really, really careful when finding a music manager, because although many of them are really great, some are truly, awfully, terrible.

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