Updated: Nov 14, 2022
How to survive in the music business without a manager
Well, you can't. Ok, let's develop:
As an artist or a songwriter, do you know how to introduce yourself and talk about your material? Hmm... if you are mostly searching for the right words to explain what you are doing and you feel bored explaining your genre, then you are going to love this...
First, you have to know that this is normal. Pitching yourself or being interesting in interviews is an art in itself. Before public interviews, though, the best way to present your material for the first time—besides performing it—is to be introduced or presented by someone other than you... always. And this is the role of a manager. Need more reasons?
Benefit 1: The manager is supposed to believe in you or/and be paid to behave as if. He can say you are amazing, while you can't say it (please don't do that!) Do you actually need to be amazing? Of course!
Benefit 2: The manager will give credit and value to your name. He arrives as a music business professional, proposing to discover in exclusivity the great talent he made recently. And this is way better than being an artist asking for attention. Besides, a professional needs to be able to say, "Stop playing this track, I don't like it. Next. What else do you have?" within the first 20 seconds of music listening. While a manager can take it and comply with other tracks or projects, an artist may not have anything else to propose, be offended, be hurt, etc. This is also mostly why professionals prefer speaking with artist managers than artists themselves while talent scouting.
Benefit 3: The manager is a professional in activity. He will be more likely to receive feedback.
Benefit 4: The manager will help you stay focused on your art while exploring, meeting, and finding new partners and opportunities for you.
How to find the right manager for you?
1- Identify an artist in your genre, then contact their manager since this person is already supposed to have the sensitivity and experience you need.
2- Introduce yourself to that manager and send an invitation to check your material. Explain that you are looking for a manager and you would love to work with him/her. Propose to talk or meet. If he/she is interested, then great.
3- If there is no response yet, send a memo about your first email, now inquiring about mentoring/coaching session with him, so as to help develop your project, your goal being to have a first talk, a first connection, and his feedback as a professional. Inquire about his/her conditions for this service.
By proposing to pay for his coaching and advice, you show that YOU decide, that you are serious, that you acknowledge and respect his/her professionalism, and you show that you are not "cheap" to deal with. I can guarantee you that at least you will be considered and you will get a response.
Build a relationship, learn from this meeting, and eventually make a deal to get introduced to label managers. You will probably have to pay for the first meetings, but you will then be in the position to discuss a manager deal as an option if he/she succeeds in getting a signature for you with a record label.
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Author : Fran Pelissou
Pic credit: Fotolia/shutterstock/istockphoto