To be successful in the music industry, you need to surround yourself with good people.
A good manager will always be a key member of your team. Having a manager allows you to focus on the creative side of your work, while ensuring that the more business-oriented aspects of your career are all being handled. A manager will also make sure that you get paid.
Why should I hire a manager?
A manager will look after the commercial aspect of your career. There is no fixed list of a manager’s duties (this depends on the manager and on the relationship) but this usually involves negotiating deals on your behalf, chasing payments, dealing with various approaches and enquiries, etc.
It is sometimes helpful to have someone dealing with these issues on your behalf, as it adds a layer between yourself and companies you deal with, like record/publishing companies, or sponsors and marketing agencies for example. This allows you to avoid having unpleasant conversations in person (negotiating fees for example), as your manager will handle these for you.
Some managers also have a more day-to-day role, and can assist in running your daily life. Again, this depends on the nature of the relationship you have with your manager, but if you feel you need this level of support, make sure you are both on the same page.
Who should I hire?
I am often asked whether hiring a friend or family member (often with no prior experience in music management) is a good idea. The short answer is – it could be. Lack of experience is not a deal-breaker, and in some cases having someone close to you act as a manager can be the best thing for your career.
Someone with a personal interest in your success is likely to invest more of their time and energy in your career, and often these ‘non-professional’ managers will not be managing any other artists, so you have their undivided attention.
There are of course risks involved – money complicates relationships, so some people tend to try to keep the business and personal sides of their life separate. Remember, if it all goes sour, you don’t just lose a manager – you also lose a friend.
Hiring an experienced, professional manager also has its own advantages. They usually have a network of connections you may benefit from, and they will of course be able to provide some valuable insight into the industry based on their experience.
It may sound cliché and unhelpful – but when it comes to choosing your manager, there is no sure shot recipe for success. You just have to make sure that you hire someone you can trust, and who you think will be able to further your career.
Don’t hesitate to ask your other advisors or friends for advice with this. If you already have a lawyer for example, they may be able to help you make a decision when choosing a manager.
Managers in other industries
Although this article is written with music managers in mind, you will also find managers and advisors with comparable roles (sometimes referred to as agents) in a wide range of creative industries, including modelling, dance, drama, art, and literature.
Regardless of which creative industry you are in, if you are hiring someone to handle the business side of your career, make sure that:
· you can fully trust them to have your best interests at heart;
· you are on the same page regarding the direction your career should take;
· you have discussed and both fully understand the terms of the agreement you are entering into (including payment);
· you always get the terms of your agreement in writing.
For any enquiries, or advice on management agreements, contact Briffa at Joshua@Briffa.com.