The Steps To Start Your Career As A Music Manager
So you want to know how to become a music manager or often referred to as an artist manager? That’s great! Artist managers are the connection between artists and the world, guiding them into the career they seek. A music manager has many roles; especially when starting out. From booking gigs and tours to negotiating business deals, as the music manager, you will have a hand in every aspect of the artist’s career.
Remember, an artist manager’s job is hard work and the path towards becoming a successful music manager can be long, however, the career as a whole is extremely satisfying.
Like most careers, how to become a music manager takes time. It is pretty much nonexistent that someone finds success as a band manager overnight. There are multiple steps you can take to make sure you are ready for the road ahead.
There are two ways one can enter the music industry as an artist manager however by no means is one more correct than the other. The first way we will discuss is the DIY method meaning you do not have any professional training such as educational certifications or degrees.
Like any career in a creative field, you need to have a passion for what you are doing. Being passionate will exponentially increase your chances of becoming successful in anything you do. Without it, you will often ask yourself, why am I doing this and your music management career will be over before it even starts.
By showing passions for what you are doing and trusting the process you build confidence in yourself and show off that confidence to others. Creative individuals are more likely to work with someone who has a love for what they are doing over a potential manager who is just trying to profit from their potential success.
2. Building Relationships
As many know, relationships are extremely important in the music business. Many successful artist managers have started their careers through the contacts they have already established through personal connections. It’s impossible to know when you may come across an important lead or connection in your career so you need to always be open to potential opportunities.
Following up and just keeping in touch on a personal level with old friends and acquaintances you’ve met along the way will ensure your net is always cast as wide as possible. The more people you know, the higher the likelihood that you will find a potential gig or collaborative opportunity for the artist you are managing.
Also, don’t forget to mention to individuals in your current circle that you’re interested in becoming an artist manager. Most of the time someone you already know is willing to give you a shot in being their manager. Though there may not be income involved, the experience alone is worth it.
3. Get Involve In The Scene
One way to break through the barrier to entry of becoming an artist manager is simply to surround yourself with your local music scene. Going to shows, meeting artists and becoming familiar with your city’s venues is half the battle.
Even if you are not working in a music-specific role right away you will have the platform available to make the contacts you will eventually need. If you are interested in a specific genre, find out what venues promote that music and be there as often as possible. By doing this, acts will soon know who you are and understand what you are trying to do. Most entry-level or even volunteer gigs can be the entry to a career as an artist manager.
The next method for entering the entertainment industry as an artist manager revolves around education and formal training. This is also a great route to take. You will learn the business skills you will need in order to properly handle financial situations and objections that come along the way.
Compared to the previous method, this is sometimes considered to be a safe and more structured path to starting your music career, however, it may take a longer amount of time to move through the ranks of a music management company to that artist manager position you seek.
With certificate and degree programs becoming more diverse as the years go on, there are a plethora of options and most likely a program of some sort in your home state. Institutions like Dark Horse Institute, offer certificates in specific areas such as music business. This is a great way to receive the training you need without all the filler classes of a four-year university.
There are countless universities around the country that offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in music business and more specifically artist management. If this is the route you would like to take, I would highly encourage you to do extensive research to determine what is offered, the timeframe and the total cost.
Internships are one of the most important avenues you can take to get a foot in the door of this thing we call the music business. While internships are usually unpaid, internships at a management company can be the introduction you need to understand what being a manager requires. Through interning, you’d have countless opportunities to learn more about what it is artist managers are responsible for.
3. Apply and Network
After completing an internship is when the real work starts. Building a network is a crucial step to continuing your career. By studying at an institution or university you will have established a network of like-minded individuals who are all in the same place in their career as you are.
You and your network will grow together, bounce ideas off one another and ultimately help each other grow as individuals and professionals. If you are in an area with a thriving music scene I assure you there are multiple artist management companies also in that city. Make sure you research the companies and determine if you feel it is a good fit. After determining that, it’s time to apply, apply, apply.
Succeeding As An Artist Manager
The definition of success is up for debate. Some may feel its fame and others may deem it being able to support yourself doing what you love, neither of these is wrong. However, there are a few steps you can take in order to increase your success and ultimately your clients.
1. Listen to your artist
An artist manager’s main objective is to help the artist achieve their professional goal. As a manager, it is extremely important to understand what these goals are and what they entail to achieve. Without knowing what it is the artist is aspiring to accomplish it can feel impossible doing your job. You need to take these goals, prioritize them and strategize plans that inevitably further them.
2. Join Organizations and Groups
The artist management world is very competitive. There are many groups and associations like the Music Managers Forum that can bring managers and other creative business professionals together. I suggest checking local facebook music groups. These can be very helpful when trying to meet others in your areas. These associations give managers space to network, collaborate and learn about current trends in their field.
3. Consume All Media
It is important to follow artists and talent managers on social media platforms. Read blogs that are relevant to you and your career field. You can also participate in online forums. These can be great outlets to gain information that may not be available in your current region.
Finally keeping up on current trends. Whether you like them or not, trends are extremely important. You don’t want to follow all of them, however, riding a trend here and there can expose your client to a new audience overnight.
With all this being said, it’s important to know that this is a career path that takes, time, patients, long work hours and passion. Understand managerial success does not happen overnight but through hard work and building a network you can do it. Remember creative professions are supposed to be enjoyable. Always remember what originally got you into the business and follow through.
If you are interested in learning more about the music business and how to get your music heard, Dark Horse Institute’s Music Business Program is a great way to take things to the next level when you are ready.