How To Be A Successful Music Manager #IndustryTips

Music Manager

The underground music scene is evolving. New artists are being catapulted into mainstream success giving way to people who understand the culture to work behind the scenes. Music managers play a crucial role between the artist and the outside world. They build and manage the necessary relationships to facilitate the artist’s career whilst managing the diary, handling business enquiries, generating new business, and fulfilling the long term vision.

An artist is not a puppet, and a manager is not a puppeteer. A manager works on behalf of the artist, not the other way round. The only strings the manager should be pulling is in business, then getting out of the way to avoid becoming a ‘business prevention officer’.

More recently there has been a shift away from the old style music managers and a trend towards artists taking control of their own situation. This has led to a number of international megastars paying the manager a salary as opposed to the standard 15%-20% commission, and giving them a set remit and job description.

With the aid of technology and a clear understanding of their brand, these artists have, and continue to make their own decisions, create their own vision, and generate their own business. In this type of scenario a manager is an employee who oversees the artist’s business affairs.

Whatever the terms of the agreement might be there are very specific skills required from a manager.

Here are some tips from three of the UK’s top music managers:

Dumi Oburota (Disturbing London)

Dumi admits that when starting out he had no idea what an artist manager did so he searched “music management” on Google.

“Everyday I’d come home and read up about music management, publishing, certain contracts and all of that.”

“I don’t have a contract. I need an entertainment lawyer – I’d put in “entertainment lawyer”.

“I didn’t know where to take it so I just done it myself”.

“Be as professional as possible. Apply yourself and work. Do it as a job everyday. I wasn’t getting paid from it for two years, but something in me, everyday I would just reach out to people.”

Tobe Onwuka (#Merky)

Tobe Onwuka’s advice is to trust your gut – “[management] is all about gut instinct and what I feel is right.”

“My best advice is to not give up, as much as things feel difficult, keep going. It might not feel like you’re breaking ground but look past that and see the bigger picture.”

Guv Singh (Catalyst Management)

Guv Singh has nine key gems for new managers:

“Learn and grow with your team”

“Stop trying to be in the limelight managers”

“Don’t take every offer”

“Value your brand”

“Study the game”

“Speak to your peers”

“Learn the legal jargon”

“Have a great relationship with your lawyer”

“Stay grounded”

Have a vision for your artist

– Be clear on their brand

Make the right connections

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