As a musician, you’ll need a team of people behind you to support your profession. Even if you’re a solo artist, this team generally includes an agent, lawyer, music label, and other professionals who can help you to enjoy success and are often integral to helping you navigate the professional music world. With that said, one of the key members of your team will likely be your music manager.
If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a manager yet — and that’s okay. But to increase your chances of enjoying success as a musician, it’s important to not only understand when to hire a manager but also how to specifically hire a professional who will be a positive addition to your team.
Finding the Right Time to Hire a Manager
Think of your manager as being your right-hand man in this business. They’re the person you can turn to for advice about nearly anything, and they’ll be involved in almost every aspect of your business. In many cases, music managers also become important in musicians’ personal lives, too.
Your manager is the core of your support team, and they’ll often help you to find those other team members, like a lawyer and a record label. Because managers are so central to your team, it’s important to hire a great manager early on, before you start surrounding yourself with other professionals. In fact, when you hire someone who has years of experience in the industry, they may already be connected to other professionals and may be able to make the process of building your team easier and faster for you.
Managers can also help you to navigate the more business-oriented aspects of your career, like starting a website and establishing your branding. Being a musician is similar in some ways to starting an online business. You’ll need to find your niche and determine how best to target your audience, you’ll need social media profiles and a professional website that represents your music and your brand. If you’ve already hired a manager, they can help oversee this whole process so that you accomplish these milestones well on the first try.
Strategies for Finding the Right Manager
A music manager is only going to be beneficial to you if they’re the right fit for your personality, music, and goals. Before you start interviewing job applicants, think about the qualities you want to see in your manager. Some of the most important characteristics to look for in a manager include being a people-person, having great problem-solving skills, and understanding how to best plan to accomplish future goals. Don’t be afraid to include your own requirements, too, like a manager who’s familiar with your genre of music or who has a personality that meshes well with yours.
When you interview potential managers, you’ll need to ask some difficult questions. By touching on difficult topics, like how a manager handled previous failures or pushback to their ideas, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect if you hire this person. Because managers need to be quick-thinking and work well under pressure, asking difficult questions is also a good way to see how they might perform in difficult situations when working for you. Further, because you want to make sure candidates are easy to communicate with, consider hiring tactics like conversational recruiting that makes the entire process just a little bit more casual.
Ultimately, you’ll need to find a manager who’s just right for your team. Don’t be afraid to keep interviewing managers until you find someone who understands your goals, who’s excited about your music, and who you feel will always prioritize your best interests.
How Your Manager Can Help Launch Your Career
Hiring your music manager is just the first step — you need to understand how to best use their skills to help develop and launch your career. A great manager will understand how to help you be productive without sacrificing your creativity, and they can do that by helping you to find a balance between the business side of the music industry and the creative side that probably drew you to music, to begin with. Your manager will often remind you of the technical and administrative tasks you’ll need to take care of, like finding ways to speed up your blog and monitoring your social media profiles.
A great manager will also bring valuable experience to the position, and they can guide you through the industry. You’ll be able to turn to this person for advice and support with the new situations that you encounter, and they’ll be able to teach you tips for networking in the industry, what to look for in a recording contract, and how to best decide if you should take or pass on a gig or opportunity.
If you’re new to the music industry or are ready to take the next step in your career, then finding the right team members to guide you should be one of your top priorities. When you hire a music manager first, that person can help you to establish a strong, cohesive team of professionals with the talent and experience necessary to help you progress and, ultimately, build your performance career.
Contributor / Editor: Indiana Lee for Adam Harkus
Photography: Goldy G., Piotr Patrouski, Sergey Nivens / Getty Images
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