How to find the perfect music manager

Discover tips from industry experts on how to find an artist manager…


Artist managers can be crucial in helping new talent but how can you find one?

Our annual Careers Day, run by our Careers and Industry Hub, offers ICMP students a great platform to learn more about this and other hot topics on breaking into the music business.

Featuring some of the industry’s leading experts, this year’s event explored various career paths including music publishing, A&R and artist management.

We attended the latter session featuring the insight of John Dawkins from Various Artists Management and Hamish Harris from September Management. John is currently looking after the rapidly rising star Tom Grennan while Hamish’s company works with the likes of Adele and many more. Read their words of wisdom below…

Songs are all important

John Dawkins (JD): It sounds simplistic but for me it really is all about the songs. It’s the first thing I look for in new and emerging artists. Once that has drawn me in I then look at the aesthetic, then I’m hungry to see whether the act can cut it live. If they can, then I want to track them down and have a chat about their vision, goals and get a feel for them as a person.

Be unique

Hamish Harris (HH):

Uniqueness is important. We don’t want to sign the same artists as those who we already have on our roster. Instead, we want people who are going to break the mould and sound like no one else."

Make you and your music as visible as possible

HH: These days you can do a great deal to ensure your music is visible. There are more people than ever trawling the internet for new sounds so make sure you use all the tools and platforms at your disposal.  

Find a manager you can get along

HH: As an artist, you need to get along with your manager. It’s important that you trust them and have a genuine understanding of each other. Managers shouldn’t tell artists what to do. They should be aiming to enhance what the artist is already doing…

JD: It's vital as a manager that you connect with your artist, on not only a creative level, but also a personal level. There can be no room for distrust. Open honesty and mutual respect are the only way forward

You don’t need industry approval to be successful


Social media has totally changed the game. Artists can build their fan bases and audiences via all the platforms and DSPs without worrying about what the industry thinks." 

When the numbers swell, they will all come running for a look at you regardless. Force their hands!

HH: New artists need to increase their visibility to the point where you have people coming to you rather than knocking on people’s doors.  

You could have the best label and best manager but without any fans it means nothing so target your fans over business. It forces the rest of the industry to take notice.

Send managers your strongest songs

HH: Always send over your strongest songs. The majority of managers don’t have time to listen to all the music they are sent - everyone is so busy so make sure when you do, it’s the best you have.

Make yourself in demand

JD: Bands don’t need to get in the van and go up and down the country to grow you fan base, unless it’s part of a wider strategy it can be very rudderless and pointless.  The key for me is to practice hard and continue writing until you have a pool of the strongest songs you feel you can produce. When you are ready then plot out a strategy of building your fan base online and locally live, then use that as a spring board alongside a release strategy. I hate to say it, but it’s a little like the dating game.  

Find out more about ICMP's Careers and Industry Hub. 

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Contact the team on 020 7328 0222 or via email and start your music career today.

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by ICMP staff writer
November 20, 2018
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