The Role of a Music Manager


Music managers are the liaisons between musicians and the record labels that release their music, and also live venues and event promoters. Managers often start their careers by building a network and developing their taste profile through internships or volunteering at college radio stations.


Artists that are ready to exploit their talent can benefit from the added perspective of a manager, who can help them brainstorm decisions and growth arcs for their career. Managers can also help negotiate contracts, royalties and payment percentages.

Developing Artists

Early career emergent music-makers often need advice, structure, community and insider knowledge to become established. In the early stages, it can make sense for them to hire a manager to develop their careers on the business side.

This is what most people mean when they talk about “artist development.” Developing artists might include vocal coaching, improving performance skills like choreography and microphone technique, rewriting songs, music video production, branding and image (clothes, makeup and stage presence) as well as providing business training, mentoring, masterclasses and digital marketing support.

A lot of this work can be done by hand, but many managers are also able to use data platforms to help them identify novel opportunities for growth. This could be as simple as an algorithm helping them to analyze fan data and suggesting next steps, or it might be a full-blown AI career assistant that helps to generate basic marketing plans and compares the artist against other talent at their level.

If an artist wants to take this more seriously, they might consider enrolling in a graduate education programme to further their understanding of the industry. This could be in the form of a master’s in business administration with a concentration in music management, or a degree specifically focused on the music industry. These programmes generally take between two and four years to complete, and they tend to require competitive undergraduate GPAs and letters of recommendation.

Managing Relationships

네이버상위노출 A manager’s role is to foster and expedite an artist’s artistic narrative. Managers also serve as liaisons between the artist and other industry professionals – like record labels, music distributors, artists’ agents, talent buyers, publicists, promoters and venues – that can help an artist to grow their brand.

A proficient music manager can work with a wide variety of industry partners to boost exposure, build their fan base and increase revenue. For example, they can pursue opportunities for sync licensing or recording deals to expand their artist’s reach and income potential.

It’s no secret that the music business is a bit of a cold-blooded mercenary profession; some managers view their job as a transactional relationship. While this can be true for some, good managers understand that they must be able to manage complex legal structures, such as payment advances, royalty percentages and distribution arrangements.

Managing a career in music management requires both an educational background and hands-on experience. Many aspiring music managers earn bachelor’s degrees in a range of amenable majors, such as marketing or business, while others choose to complete an undergraduate degree focused solely on music management. Berklee College of Music, for instance, offers an online bachelor’s degree that includes instruction in the nuances of the industry and the skills necessary to thrive as a music manager.

Negotiating Contracts

Many music professionals get their start by working for an existing management company, which is a great way to gain experience and to see exactly how the industry works from the inside. While this kind of work can be difficult and sometimes not terribly fulfilling, it is the best way to understand how all the different aspects of this business work together.

Music managers often negotiate contract deals for their artists. The decisions that managers make about these partnerships will have lasting consequences for an artist’s career. This is why it is important for them to stay emotionally detached and read through the contracts very carefully so they don’t miss something that could ultimately damage their career.

Savvy musicians should also be sure to negotiate contract terms that protect their rights. For example, some contracts have exclusivity clauses that prevent an artist from working with other labels or producers. In addition, the contract may include reversion clauses that dictate who owns the master recordings.

By negotiating these clauses, an artist can ensure that the terms of their contract are as favorable as possible. This will help them achieve more success throughout their career and avoid any potential setbacks down the road. It is also important for a musician to understand how they can terminate their contract in case it becomes unfavorable.

Creating Revenue Streams

One of the most important roles a manager has is helping musicians create additional revenue streams. Managers can help musicians get their music on streaming services, find sponsorship deals, work with merchandise companies and more. Managers can also help their artists generate press by reaching out to journalists and pitching them on new music or newsworthy events.

When it comes to creating revenue streams, managers are often the most creative thinkers in a band or artist’s team. They can help find opportunities for their clients that may not be obvious or even possible, and they are usually the ones in charge of assembling a team to work on those projects. Managers can also help their clients generate money through the sale of merchandise, including t-shirts, posters and other items.

Many people who become managers get their start in the music industry by interning at existing professionals or at management companies. This type of work is usually incredibly busy and challenging at the beginning, but it gives newcomers an on-the-ground vantage point into how the business works and what the expectations are for those in this position. Managers typically earn a flat percentage of an artist’s total income, which is different from the way that other partners, like labels and agents, make their money (they profit from isolated components such as record sales or ticket sales). This structure helps ensure that all of an artist’s financial interests are being represented by one person.