As an independent recording artist.... Do you really need a manager? That's a very important question.... A good manager will play a vital part in your success. It is up to the artist to learn as much as possible about management before acting too fast and deciding to sign on the wrong person for the job. In your career, you need to take chances, but not when it comes to proper representation. You need to be represented correctly to make valuable connections in your career, and that’s not something to gamble on. Let's talk about the responsibilities of a manager and discuss whether a manager is really what you need.
Let’s start off with what a manager is NOT responsible for. Artists often mistake a manager to be not only a decision maker, but an investor and a promoter as well. While managers often handle these duties, it is NOT the manager’s responsibility to fund your career; that is your job as an artist. A manager will definitely help by securing contracts and opportunities for you to be able to make money to fund your career, but it is not a manager’s responsibility to pay for things such as studio time, promotion, etc. It is also not the sole responsibility of managers to promote you; they are supposed to help you promote, not completely take over that role. As an artist you should always do your best to promote yourself and reach out for more connections, regardless of how many people you hire to help you.
The responsibilities of a manager vary depending on what the artist wants/needs and by how far along an artist is in his or her career. An indie manager takes over the artist’s business responsibilities so that the artist can focus more on his or her craft. An artist should always be involved and hands on when it comes to business decisions and ideas, but having a manager can make this easier and take some weight off so the artist can mainly focus on his or her craft. A manager is constantly making connections to further the artist’s career and keep the artist on track and in the loop. The manager works with the artist to create a marketing plan. Both work together to follow it. Managers are responsible for representing the artist to the best of their ability at all times. They should focus not only on the development of the artist, but also on getting tracks heard by DJs, publicists, booking agents, media brands, label execs, radio stations, online and print publications, and anything else that can bring artists a step closer to their goals. A manager schedules interviews and photo shoots, and generally oversees the artist’s career to make sure that everything is running the way it should. Managers’ roles tend to change as artists advance in their career. An indie manager may have duties similar to those of a booking agent, press agent, business manager, and even a tour manager. As artists move further along in their career their managers’ jobs can be broken down and they can then hire a music manager, business manager, and road/tour manager instead of having one person handling all of those duties.
Truth is, if you are an indie artist you should be able to handle most of the manager’s responsibilities on your own in the beginning of your career. You do not need a manager until you have too much to handle, and by that time you usually don’t have to look for one: they will come to you. You shouldn’t hire a manager because you don’t know what to do. It should be because you took your career as far as it can go, and you now have too many responsibilities distracting you from your music. Many artists ask anyone to be their manager—possibly a best friend, family member, or someone who showed interest in them—because they think he or she makes them look professional. In reality, hiring a manager who doesn’t have connections or even know much about the industry doesn’t make you look professional. KNOWING THE BUSINESS as well as your craft is what makes you professional.
Indie Manager’s Responsibilities Broken Down:
- Planning – The manager should communicate with the artist to find out what their goals are and what they need to focus on. The manager will do everything in their power to keep the artist happy and keep the business end on the right track.
- Overseeing and Enabling – The manager’s main job is to help with determining decisions related to career moves, bookings, promotion, business deals, recording contracts, etc.
- Negotiating – The manager will play a major part in negotiating contracts with booking agents, media brands, label execs, producers, etc.
- Networking – The manager will do their best to constantly make the artist’s name known to media brands, publicists, DJs, etc. The manager should always work hard to gain connects to help further the artists career.
If you don’t have a manager, ask yourself WHY you want one. Know what your goals are and ask yourself, “How would having a manager help me?” Analyze your career and continue to work hard to promote yourself and make legitimate connections before you decide to hire a manager (and usually by this time a manager will find you). If you already have a manager, make sure he or she is doing their job to further your career.