Management Artist Management

Published on December 23rd, 2009 | by FuNkwoRm


Artist Management: When Do You Need It?

Artist Management

The reason I decided to write this post was because I’d been recently approached by a few artists who asked me if I could connect them with good managers. There are a lot of misconceptions about what an artist manager does, and there are several types in the music business. I won’t go into all of them in this post. Most of them you won’t need until you’re touring and making some heavy cheddar anyway.  The two primary types are the personal manager, and the business manager.  Most artists who are trying to get their careers off the ground are usually looking for a personal manager.

Many artists look for managers before developing anything to manage. The more developed you are as an artist, the better your chances are of attracting a good manager’s interest. There are however, some of the major misconceptions about artist managers and what they do. Here are a few

1. Mangers should invest lots of money into the artist. It’s not a managers job to pay the costs for your recording projects, travel, or promotional material. While it’s not uncommon to find a manager thats willing to pay for the needs of an artist, they are not obligated to. Some managers feel that dropping cash to help their artists become successful is a worthy investment.  Because this is not the manager’s role, he or she will usually make an agreement with the artist that this investment be repaid once the artist starts making money. This is outside of 15 to 20 percent commission managers  already receive from the artist’s earnings. This commission is usually but not limited to, performances, merchandise sales,  and in some cases money advanced by record labels.  It’s rare that managers make agreements to receive percentages of the artist’s song publishing or writing. You should avoid these types of agreements if possible.

2. Another misconception is that managers should have lots of experience in the music business. While this is definitely an asset, it’s much more important that you have a manager that’s willing to hustle hard for you and be ambitious about learning the parts of the business that he or she doesn’t know. Your manager should be someone you have a tremendous amount of trust in because they will play some part in every facet of your music career. This is why it’s not uncommon to see artists with relatives as managers. Sometimes they are the best choice.

3.  Managers are not attorneys! Unless your manager has an entertainment law degree, it’s not wise to have them negotiating contracts that can affect you for the rest of your life! Get an attorney to look over any complicated contracts.

4. Managers are not publicists. Publicists handle your PR (public relations),  expand you visibility and help develop a marketing strategy for you.  Good managers will do some of this for you until you’re signed or able to afford a professional publicist.

It a nutshell, good managers want to minimize the chaos that can surround an artist so they can concentrate as much as possible on their music.  Good managers are a trusted foot in your rump to make sure you make it to your appointments on time, and make sure that everything you need is there before your arrive.  My advice is give managers a few months trial before you decide to make a long term contractual bond with them. This provides an opportunity for the both of you to see if theres a chemistry.

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About the Author

FuNkwoRm is a music producer, creator of the hip hop comic strip, Rap Ratz, and has a dope backspin.

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  • kasey

    more much needed info! thanks for dispelling some of the management myths!

  • Pingback: Music Business: Having A Manager |

  • I’m looking for a HIP-HOP MANAGEMENT • LABEL MANAGEMENT • MUSIC MANAGEMENT so how can you help me
    send me some info.I’m an hip hop artist who is in desperate need of a manager. I know my music is good. I have that underground hiphop sound I just need someone who’s going to help me expand. You can hear my music on

  • a friend of mine who manages a hiphop group in th a states defined his role as “doin everything within my power to make my artists successful”

  • jermaine williams

    I’m a hip hop artist call younggrip an iknow i have what it take to make it in the music busines i have professional demos songs need to be heard.I thought i were dealing with a guy a company call he claim he work with the greatest producer Dr.Dre an diferent artist in the industry. I paid this guy for a website desgin an host but i told him let me know when you finish the desgin cause account will be in my name.he fisinh put the website up im also doing an album with an be my manager but there has been know contract so it doesing seem real to me. I pay stuidio time an did three song i pay for website that has been tooking down.I pay $500 dollar for that.I have lawyer looking into it now to get every thing right before i move on. looking for a real manager.

  • Jermaine, that relationship seems weird to me. Your manager shouldn’t be charging you for studio time and web design. Seems like that relationship will always require you to spend money, and a manager should make his money from placing you in profitable situations that put money in YOUR pocket.

  • Really is a shame that so many snakes and vipers run thru the unsigned/indie community ripping people off. @jermaine. I hope you were able to get things straight!

    I wanted to work as a manager but there is, from what I have seen, no real way to set a course and grind at it, as a manager. As an artist, its rather easy. Find beats, write lyrics, record tracks, get em mixed, put em on cd, hit the streets and sell em.

    Not enough clear cut information on how to work as a manager. It’s all hit and miss, trial and error.

  • Anonymous

    glad you posted this the only ? I have is what do you think about managers that are trying to get money just represent you when da hell did this start wow!

  • Run as fast as you can in the other direction!

  • Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog?
    My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit
    from some of the information you present here. Please
    let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

  • Sure. No problem.

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  • Mykel

    I really enjoyed this blog. As I was doing my research on
    artist management and the music industry, I stumbled upon this blog. This blog really hit the main points of artist management and also uncovered the misconceptions of artist management. I recently did a project in school where I had to act as an artist manager and my job was to sign an artist
    who was one of my classmates. I had a lot of fun doing this project and it made
    me interested in the artist management side of things and how that works. The
    class that I am taking now is Project and artist management. One of the videos
    that we had to watch was the day-to-day life of Outkast’s Manager Blu
    Williams. And one of the things that he said was that if he doesn’t make
    the artist money, he didn’t eat. Which goes back to what you said about the
    manager that’s willing to hustle hard for you and be ambitious. On a side note,
    he also said this phone bill for one month was three thousand dollars which was
    absolutely amazing to me but it shows how dedicated he is to his art and to his
    group. When I think about artist management, I remember the issue with Beyoncé
    and her father about how a dirty deal was done and Beyoncé was left on the bad
    side of it. You definitely how to careful with family members because they
    think that since they’re family, they can get over on you. THIS IS A BUSINESS
    and at the end of the day, sadly that’s what it comes down to. The one thing
    that a want to hit on is that managers are not attorneys. There are a lot of
    important things that goes in to contracts and if you don’t have an attorney,
    you will get robbed blind.

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    Got It On My Mind – Young Smasha:

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