How to find a music manager
Our friends at the Unsigned Guide on when and how artists should seek out music industry representation...
So, you’re at the stage in your music career where you think you could benefit from having a manager.
But where do you start when it comes to putting the feelers out to find the right person for the job? What do you need a manager for?
First things first, thinking about what you actually need a manager for may help determine where you need to start looking. It’s also worth putting thought into whether you are at a stage where you need a manager at all.
Here are some key questions to honestly ask yourself when deciding if a manager is required at the moment:
- Are you making enough money?
- Are you happy to share your income?
- How much time are you spending on admin?
- Are you comfortable with signing a management contract
- Have you received any management offers?
If the general admin of running your music career is getting a little hectic and you simply need an extra pair of hands, then it’s probably not quite time to bring a manager into the equation. You could think about asking a trusted friend, family member or someone else you know from your local music scene to act as a helping hand.
However, if you’re at the stage where you are starting to make money from your music, and you could consider giving a cut of your earnings to a manager, then it sounds like it could be time to seek out an experienced professional who can represent you, scout out bigger and better opportunities, and negotiate your deals.
Where to find music managers
It’s not too tricky to find names and contact details of artist and band managers. Your starting point should always be The Unsigned Guide directory; our Artist Managers section of the directory currently contains listings for over 230 UK managers, accompanied by details of how they prefer to have music submitted to them.
We don’t recommend blanket emailing a list of all managers you come across. You will need to do your research and use some discretion. Find out what genres of music they specialise in and check out the other artists and bands they manage."
Do they fit with your style or ‘niche’? What level are they at? The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has hundreds of professional manager members so this can be a good place to find a potential manager. Your regional Musicians’ Union (MU) office may also be able to help out by providing details of music managers in the area. Keep in the loop by chatting to and asking for recommendations from other music industry folks and band members you know and trust. Networking events, conferences and industry showcases can prove to be a great way to meet and introduce yourself to music industry professionals. Again, you can check the Industry Seminars & Conventions section of The Unsigned Guide to locate the popular national conferences, or seek out local masterclasses and events.
What to look for in a manager
- Music genre - make sure your music fits the bill.
- Experience – how long have they been managing? Who do they currently represent?
- Passion - Are they passionate and enthusiastic about your music? This is essential.
- Time - How busy are they? Will they be able to devote time to you, or will their time be dominated by another artist they represent?
- Money - Are they able to invest in moving your career forward?
- Good relationship – Trust is vital here! You may want to consider getting in touch with other acts they manage to get feedback on reliability, whether they do a good job etc
- Ideas – How do they foresee your career progressing and what ideas/plans do they have to help you achieve this?
Get your ducks in a row
This is a phrase we hear a lot across the music industry, but there is a very good reason for that. If you’re about to begin approaching music managers and seriously look for representation, then you need to make a good impression.
But before we get into the nitty gritty of presenting yourself in the right way, it is worth taking a moment to give some consideration to your sound. Is the music you’re currently making the best representation of what you do? Do you sound how you want to sound? You need to feel happy and confident in the music you are putting forward. Make sure you are not rushing things along in hunting for a manager, before you’ve developed and reached a sound that you’re satisfied with.
Any prospective manager will want to find out as much about you and your music as possible. You’ll be working closely together so they also need to know that you’re willing to put the work in; finding out what you’ve already achieved under your own steam will give them a good indication of how hard-working and dedicated you are."
Do you have an EPK and/or biog detailing what you’ve achieved to date? And is it actually up to date with gig and festival performances, releases, imagery, videos, press coverage and radio airplay info? The same goes for your website, social media profiles and anywhere else your music can be heard. If you have dead links or profiles that haven’t been active in months, it’ll give a better impression to simply deactivate them, rather than leave them looking stagnant.
You can read more about creating a great press kit and the basics of writing a biog here. And before you start pinging off emails, we suggest you also take a look at our guide for contacting the music industry with your tracks.
The Unsigned Guide is a UK music industry directory aimed at emerging, independent & DIY bands, artists & musicians who are keen to progress their music careers, which includes helping acts to get played on the radio. Search contacts covering 50 areas of the music business; from record labels, radio stations, booking agents, festivals to gig venues & promoters, new music blogs, studios, producers & more.
Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels
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