Today more than ever it’s easy to reach masses of people, using online tools to publish and distribute music. Without the need for traditional recording contracts, a number of singers, musicians or both, are choosing to go it alone, saving time and money, and maintaining more control over their product and brand. This has resulted in a stronger presence of independent artists in the industry: an incredible 510% increase in the last decade, and many have reached success. The most notable example of such is the Grammy Award winning duo, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
However, though creating, sharing and selling music is easier, navigating the industry is still very much a game that requires a skilled player: a manager. In his best-selling book, All You Need To Know About The Music Business, Donald Passman writes: “The personal manager is the single most important person in your professional life. A good [one] can expand your career to its maximum potential.” So, although your talent, skills and relative online presence may enable you to get your art in front of people, expanding that starts with management. Here are some reasons why:
The role of manager is much more than a title. As the likely first contact for a given musician or band, managers present your work, your needs, and value to the people who can help you or need your help, including all music business influencers from executives and tour promoters to radio and other media. Managers proactively work to get you in the places you need to be, through tireless efforts that would otherwise exhaust your energy and creativity. Having someone solely dedicated to advocating on your behalf while you focus on creating, is greatly effective and increases overall productivity.
Having a manager is a symbol to others that you mean business. An understanding among experts is that managers keep artists and their affairs inline, decreasing the likelihood of breakdowns or burnouts–not uncommon in the industry–and ensuring the pursuit of relevant, effective business endeavors. Also, according to Studio 302, it is believed that an artist good enough to attract a manager is someone of value; as such, everyone is should take interest.
- Time Management
Once your manager has gotten you into the places to launch your career, booked tour dates, scheduled appearances, setup studio time, you’ll need someone to workout the logistical details and keep you on task, and to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Furthermore, there are but 24 hours in a day and a seemingly insurmountable number of tasks. Managers can help you prioritize, deciding which tasks to handle first and which can be postponed.
To that point, a good manager will possess in-depth knowledge of the music business, and the skill to guide you toward making the best possible decisions for the career you want. A manager’s insight is built over years of experience, and a quality which enables them to see the end and the steps required to reach the finish line. Present your ideas, talk with them often, share your materials, and trust their expertise and suggestions. Managers, working from the outside, though a part of your team, are able to provide unique feedback and a more advantageous perspective.