Ragged Music aims to build a directory of Music Managers. If you are a musician or a band who is seeking to make a living from their music then it is important to do your homework and be prepared to present information in the way it is requested. A good book on this is The Music Management Bible put together by the Music Management Forum, which is worth while joining. Also the Unsigned Guide is a great resource..
Going into situations under-prepared and without the required commitment will create problems. If you are committed, self motivated and do what you say you will, then you will where you want to be. Unreliability, a lack of flexibility and an unwieldy ego will lose you friends you want friends where you are going !
Some brief notes on Managers and contracts:
Generally the artist looks for a manager as a first step towards securing a record deal. A & R (Artist’s and Repertoire) executives prefer to deal with managers rather than artist and generally the artist will benefit from the negotiating skills the manager brings. As with many things in life, don’t rush into arrangements, find the right manager which suits your expectations. The artist/manager relationship is a personal one so it is wise to work with someone you trust, respect and get along with.
How to get a Manager ?
Be proactive, plan well and think things through. This means doing your research (talk to any contacts you might have in the industry, visit good libraries, etc) and create a list of possible managers. One way of doing this is to identify artists you admire and find out who manages them; this may not always be the best option, but it will give you ideas. The Music Management Forum have advice on the web: www.ukmmf.net
It is better to use a targeted approach rather than a scatter gun approach. The best way to go about this is to put together a presentation package with a sample of the music, a couple of photographs, a short biography, press cuttings and full contact details. Make a personal approach and have it clear in your head why you are there remember honesty is the best policy and waffle is best kept to a minimum. Managers are generally very busy so make it clear, concise and do not be pushy. It takes a little time to respond so follow up in a polite way.
Things to look for in a Manager:
Experience in the field
Success with other artists
A range of key skills from negotiation, to legal understanding, to people skills
A good reputation – be careful who you get in bed with !
A clear understanding of if they are primarily a creative or business manager
Length of relationships with other artists – if possible, talk to other artists and/or view portfolio
A personality which complements the artist – i.e. do you need an assertive persona ?
Where are they based ?
What and how do they charge?
What kind of facilities do they have ? i.e. offices, recording studio, etc
What kind of time are they prepared to commit to advancing your career ?
How much is the manager convinced by your music
How extensive are the managers contacts in the music industry ?
Does the manager function in one country or several ?
Are they efficient in their job ? Reply to correspondence, keep on top of receipts etc
If the artist has any pre-existing record deals, is the manager familiar with the company ?