Have you got to a stage where you’re struggling to cope with all the work you’ve got to do for your career? Are you putting your practice on the back burner to do other tasks that aren’t as music-oriented? This could be the right time to consider music management.
Find out how to attract top music management companies and you could take big strides in your career. A manager can do much for an artist, including arranging bookings, promotion, PR and the tedious admin tasks that take time away from your creativity.
When you’re thinking about getting a manager, it’s important that you feel confident in understanding each stage of the process. Read this article to find exactly what’s involved and what you should be looking for.
How to attract top music management companies in the UK
Music managers or the management company, enter a professional agreement with an artist or singer. After they find and sign talent, they become responsible for making key decisions and carry out tasks on behalf of the artist. They usually do this in exchange for a commission on earnings. Artists often require a manager to go to the next level. However, they first need to find a large audience to make them an attractive investment.
It’s vital to have a strong, loyal fan base already built. Otherwise, managers have to consider not only whether to take you on as an artist, but also the task of building a fan base from scratch, which in the vast majority of cases they won’t be interested in. You, on the other hand, need to see what doors and opportunities music artist management can really get you.
Do you need a manager in music?
Some artists won’t need management until a few years into their career. It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment that you should start looking for a music manager — if you’re doing things right and you’ve built up your social media, gigs and fan base then management will find you.
It’s better to wait until you are at a stage in your career when you can’t cope without help. All the time you don’t have management you have the control, you book gigs, arrange tours, radio plays, sort out merchandise, you can do everything yourself. The only person that truly cares about your image and your music is you.
As you become more successful it will become too much for one person and artists will need a team to support this workload. This would be the right time to be looking for a music manager. Although depending on the tasks you could just employ someone rather than commit to management. However, if you’ve got this much to do, at the expense of your act, then you need support and management may be the next step to take.
Music management companies
Here are some of the best music management companies in London and the UK. This list of artist management companies has talented managers looking for independent and unsigned singers, rappers and bands.
- Modest! Management
- Closer Artists
- September Management
- TAP Management
- UROK Management
- Rocket Music Entertainment
- Metallic Management
- Wildlife Entertainment
- Empire Artist Management
- YMU Group
- All On Red Management
- Disturbing London
- Various Artists Management
- Mother Artist Management
- VDM Music
Music managers know what record labels are looking for. They know how to package an artist in a way that looks profitable to the record label. Before approaching a record label, a good music manager will want to help further develop the artist to make sure they are ready.
What does a manager do for an artist?
So what does a music manager do for you, to take the pressure off the business side of making music?
Connects you with contacts and industry
A good artist manager will have knowledge and industry contacts that may be inaccessible to artists without management. A strong network takes years of work to build up. A good manager can save you this time by giving you access to the network that they’ve spent their whole careers cultivating.
Looks at the ‘bigger picture’
It can be hard to know which direction to take in your career. Musicians can focus on further developing themselves while their manager deals with the strategy. It’s important for the manager to understand where the artist fits. This may include following the careers of similar artists and watching out for trends in sound, style and even upcoming online platforms.
Communicates with record labels
Reputable music management companies only work with acts they believe in. This is a valuable vetting process for record labels. This helps record labels to minimise the risk of investing in the wrong acts and also be confident that the management company will take some of the burdens of the continuing development of the artist.
Record labels often avoid working directly with the act because they want to do business with someone who understands the music industry and is able to make objective decisions. This knowledge of the music industry can help artists to negotiate a better deal.
Your manager takes a percentage cut of income you generate, so what else does your manager do for this fee?
Even the smallest opportunities can be important. The more exposure the artist gets, the better, so keeping an eye open for a chance to get that exposure is essential for an artist manager.
Books studio time
The music manager will usually book studio time on behalf of the artist and hire a producer for recording sessions. This is important, as it will define the sound of the record. Keep in mind that managers don’t usually fund studio time. This comes from the artist’s income or label funding.
Sends demos to record labels, radio stations, publications etc.
The music press, record labels, and radio stations are like middlemen between the producers and the consumers — a type of musical gatekeeper. Having good, respectful working relationships with these people is essential for any artist looking to “make it” in the music industry.
Promotes the artist
Advertising is expensive so this may be challenging at first. But the manager will be responsible for eventually communicating with advertisers to boost the artist’s visibility.
Organises music videos and photoshoots
More than ever before, people are consuming music through video platforms, and video is a great way to build and support an artist’s image. A music manager will be in charge of seeking out and hiring a crew for music videos and photographers for photoshoots.
Sorts the admin
They’ll ensure your invoices are filled out and paid correctly, along with other crucial aspects such as renewing your public liability insurance or running a fine-tooth comb through a music contract. All these tasks require precision and focus by an industry figure who knows what they are doing.
Books and promotes gigs
A good manager will not only be able to sell the artist to potential venues and event organisers but also understand what venues would best suit the artist.
Famous music managers
A few music managers have ended up being as famous as the artists they represent. Others have become notorious for their controlling or advantage-taking behaviours. It’s the music manager’s responsibility to run (and, literally, manage) the public image for the band, particularly important in the era of social media. Here are some of the most renowned music managers who have made a name for themselves over the last 50 years.
- Brian Epstein – The Beatles
- Colonel Tom Parker – Elvis Presley
- Sharon Osbourne – Ozzy Osbourne, The Smashing Pumpkins, Lita Ford
- Simon Fuller – Victoria Beckham, Annie Lennox, The Spice Girls
- Nigel Martin-Smith – Take That
- Malcolm McLaren – The Sex Pistols
- Pete Waterman – Kylie Minogue, Sonia, Jason Donovan and many more
Music managers looking for talent
Music managers are always looking for talented artists who are at the right stage of their career. They usually only make money if you make money through commission. Therefore, they need to be certain that this is possible before committing to any agreement.
If you have established yourself as an artist, have built a loyal fanbase and are getting to the point where it’s too much for you to handle, it may be time to start looking for a music manager to assist and guide you to the next level. However, if you are still getting started as an artist and have only recently started playing out, it’s not a good idea to spend money on management quite yet. If you’re still not sure, you can read more about whether you need music management, in this article.
In the early stages of your career, rather than looking for a music manager, concentrate on your music, your brand and career development — management will likely talent scout you when you are ready. When you have perfected your sound, have a defined recognisable image and have built a following (outside of your social circle), you will find these opportunities will open up easily. There are some sharks out there, so you need to be very careful.
How do you attract a music manager?
However, if you feel you are at the stage where a music manager could benefit you, then here is our advice on how you can get one.
Prepare a promotional portfolio
Do you have live gig footage, evidence of a social media following and fanbase, professional studio recordings, or even a record deal in the pipeline? This will make you much more appealing to a music management company or individual manager.
Employ someone you trust with the right skills
A music manager doesn’t actually have to be someone with industry experience, although it will help. Some artists will employ a family member or friend to do it.
Ask for recommendations and check them out
Try to get recommendations from other artists. Then do your research on them online to make sure they have a good reputation and the skills to represent you properly.
Get in touch with the right candidates
If you don’t have any industry connections, you are going to have to make some cold calls or contacts online.
Have proof of your income ready
You may want to work with them but they might not necessarily want to work with you. You both have to be at the right stage of your career. A manager needs to see income streams already coming in or a strong indication that they are likely to.
Enter a competition
Managers, scouts and labels check out the talent at contests, so this is a good place to get spotted and approached.
Ensure they have contacts at record labels
A reputable management company should already have a working relationship with record labels. Many labels refuse to discuss business with the artist themselves. This is where the magic of the music manager shines.
How to get a music agent
In addition to, or instead of a manager, you may want to get an agent. They will solely work on getting you gigs and negotiating contracts. This will not include activities such as running your social media campaigns, booking backup dancers and the admin or tours.
Research agents in your local area or particular music niche, then start making phone calls and sending emails. Be honest with them when you contact them, explaining you are looking for representation without over-exaggerating what stage in your career you are at.
Another factor to consider is if you feel your financial stability through gigs is a form of income. Managers and agents in the music industry earn their living through commission—an agreed percentage fee based on what your payment may be each time, even if you found the work yourself. A great way to see if you feel that you’re financially steady is to keep an income and expense sheet for every gig you perform.
With many deadlines and campaigns to complete for you, whilst visioning an end goal, your music manager needs to trust in the artist they see before them. If you are super self-assured that your act and sound is defined and at it’s all-time best, they’ll feel the confident vibes radiate from you. And this could be a musical match.
- How much should a music manager get paid?
Some music managers get paid a wage. However, in the majority of cases, a management deal will be struck on a commission basis. According to The Musicians Union, a commission rate of 20% is the usual fee, but some managers take 15%. Steer clear of anyone asking for way more than this rate.
- When should I get a music manager?
In order to find the right music manager, you need to make sure you’re at the best point in your music career, with a dedicated growing following, a defined sound, distinct image and a blossoming source of income. Now you’re ready to figure out which one is best for you.
Are you trying to attract top music management companies in the UK to take you to the next stage of your career? Perhaps you’re working with one already. Let us know how it’s going in the comments below.