Good management is almost always necessary to achieve any measure of success in this tough business. Manymusiciansare intelligent and resourceful, and certainly have the capacity to manage their own affairs, but the artist that can handle all this and progress in his art without losing focus and/or sanity is rare.
The basic question is when do you need a manager?
The simple answer is….when you have something to manage. Sounds pretty obvious, but it is the most accurate answer I can give. Many artists and bands tend to seek management far too early in their careers, but others wait too long. Some artists and bands look for management to take over every aspect of the band’s business so they can just “show up and play…”. Even if the manager could do it all, bands must understand that the success or failure is solely the band’s responsibility. Not the manager’s.
The main reason an artist or band tends to seek a manager is because they want to be playing regular gigs as well as get extensive media attention to help promote the artist and theirmusic. From the very first day, a good manager will be driven by an artist or band’s achievements, which may be as simple as having a greatsongwritten or access to a decent PA or an opportunity to perform for an A&R scout. Any “successful” regional act will tell you that practicing and playing are only a very small part of the job of being in a band; meeting club owners, networking with other bands, and studying the music industry are just a few of many responsibilities. Remember, it’s called the music business for a reason.
If you or your band is lucky enough to have a close friend outside the band with respect for the band and music, some computer skills, motivation to succeed, and basic business knowledge, you’re in luck! Most up-and-coming bands aren’t in the financial position to pay a manager or even pay their rent for that matter, so be sure to respect the free labour you’re receiving for what it is. Once your band is has established itself and written some material to perform live, utilize your resources to record a good demo tape, write a band biography, and have some professional pictures made. Basically, a killer press kit. Then, use those tools to help create some business to manage!
When you know you’re ready for a manager and haven’t got the full time to focus your attention on playing as well as your administrative duties, its essential to find the perfect manager.