This article is dedicated to those artists debating whether or not they should hire a qualified individual to manage their career, to those appalled by the idea to pay someone to further their brand and music, and last but not least, to those artists who are barely starting out and know little to nothing about managers and their roles. Read on to discover 10 sure-fire signs you NEED to pay a manager to help you out.
10. You seriously dislike dealing with the business side of your music career.
Most singers, performers, rappers know that being a full-time artist in this day and age requires strong knowledge about copyright, licensing, distribution, branding, contracts, taxes, networking, etc. If you feel nauseated just reading this, you may wanna consider paying someone else a monthly fee (it’s unlikely you can afford a full salary at this point in your career) who has a lot more experience than you and is willing to deal with the heavy load and the nasty, boring aspects of the music business in your name.
9. You don’t know what direction to move with your music.
If you are clueless when it comes to planning, strategizing, setting mini goals, big goals, and achieving them too, save your time and money by avoiding the trial-and-error approach and hire directly someone else who’s already been there done that for another artist. This will accomplish two things for you: save you even more money that you would have lost trying out different companies and promotion campaigns that would have failed, and you save a lot of time that you can invest in improving your craft instead.
8. You don’t have any connections in the industry.
Sure thing, Beyoncè is her own manager, as many, many other A-listers, but never forget that she learned for about 2 decades the ropes from her manager FIRST. Every artist you hear boasting about not having a manager, did have a manager when they first started out. Besides the business knowledge that a hired manager possesses, they also have plenty of connections with sound engineers, studios, marketers, DJs, other artists, radio shows, TV channels, influencers, bloggers, etc. All of whom require YEARS to build relationships with. Unless you have A-lister parents, chances are nobody worth knowing knows you. But your manager just might. So invest in your own longevity and hire a well-connected individual.
7. You got approached by distributors, record labels, and venue bookers.
It’ll cost you less hiring a good manager to help you out sorting bad deals from good deals than hiring an entertainment lawyer (if you can afford to pay $500 per hour for one, by all means, go for it). A good manager will become an extension of your brand, not just a hired gun. He/She will want you to succeed maybe even more than you want it for yourself. Accordingly, they won’t let you sign away all of your masters or endorsement deals. They know the value of ownership and long-term business deals. A good manager will never let a venue get away with not paying you half upfront and half the moment you’re about to go on stage. Yes, that’s how it’s supposed to be. You get 100% of your money before you even open your mouth to perform. So if you got to the point you’re getting approached by different entities regarding your music career, it’s time to look for a manager.
6. You are actually enjoying the idea of sharing a percentage of your income with a manager if that manager can get you to make more money.
We’ve witnessed some beautiful relationships between artists and their managers, where initially the artist was paying the manager and the manager succeeded in bringing deals, gigs, shows, and sponsors to the table, and the monthly fee turned into a commission-based contract. That is actually the ideal situation you want to be in. Keep in mind that no matter how stellar you are as an artist, any self-respecting manager wants to get paid for their time, knowledge, and effort. A manager willing to work for free for you might actually be an incompetent individual. So you want to get someone who will take your career to the next level and is interested in converting that monthly arrangement into a commission-based contract. Meaning every time that person gets you a profitable partnership, show, collab, sponsorship, he/she gets a percentage of it.
5. You have burtsts of motivation instead of consistently investing in your career.
Sometimes you feel like taking over the world and you go share your links all over Facebook groups and social media, and some days you just prefer playing your Xbox without keeping track of your daily music-related effort. Most artists get a lot more serious about succeeding in the music industry once they start paying someone on a regular basis to keep them on track. A manager, in the beginning, has a lot of the same value as a personal trainer. It’s not like it would be impossible for you to manage yourself but your procrastinating ass is not applying any of the knowledge you have. And ironically, the more you spend on your own brand and career, the more you start disciplining yourself to actually take action every single day. People lose weight and build strength with a personal trainer because they PAY for it. So it’s almost expected that you should start seeing things differently once you have another individual on board that you’re paying to keep.
4. You have a successful business venture other than your music.
David Duchovny from X-files, aka Fox Mulder, was an actor first and later became a singer. Turns out the guy always wanted to sing. Billionaire media mogul and three-time Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi launched an album of love songs as soon as he quit his politician job. Emily Moore, an award-winning author specialized in health and wellness, released multiple projects as a musician. And feel free to add all rappers who were first drug dealers in this category. Albeit illegal, their entrepreneurial side got them A LOT of money before they even got into the music industry. So if you’re lucky enough to have another skill or business that’s making you serious money, keep making that money and delegate the music-related responsibilities to a qualified manager. You can focus on increasing that income from your main source and take your career to the next level as a musician at the same time.
3. You have a demanding personal life.
Whether it’s a lot of children, a sick parent, or a new house that you’re renovating, if your personal life takes most of your time, you WILL NOT move anywhere with your music intentions. If you don’t have someone else investing full-time effort into your music, you’re gonna hit a dead end, get old, and before you know it, you’ll be talking about making music in the past tense. If this is your case, pay a manager to help you move forward.
2. You’ve lost your momentum
It’s a sad but not an uncommon situation to be in. You’ve struck gold with your first single, you’ve had some serious buzz, but because you were unprepared to blow up, you didn’t fully maximize or retain the traction you had. So now you’re back to square one. It is a tough thing to go through and if you’re not experienced enough, you will need someone with experience to help you leverage your past success mixed with your new material to push you back into the limelight. Don’t be petty and seek help ’cause you, more than anyone, need it badly.
1. You lost your interest in doing music.
This one is the other side of the same coin in number 4. If you started out as a musician, became successful, transitioned to being an entrepreneur and business owner, and now your interest is somewhere else, don’t let your musician identity die out. Royalty checks will continue adding to your income if you know how to push it even 10 years later. Hire a manager who is able to book you interviews, shows, and media attention every now and then as to keep your brand alive. If music is what made you the most money and success, DO NOT let it die out because you’re not as into it anymore. Get someone else to do it for you.
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