I’ll Manage By Myself – 28/5/07.
I’ll Manage By Myself – 28/5/07.
Blimey you lot didn’t like the blog last week did you? Only 2 comments and they were both by Sentric artists?! I’d better up my game eh?
This week: Managers, just what do they do and do you need one?
There are many types of musicians in this world. You get musicians who only want to dedicate their time to making music and nothing else: they need a manager. You have musicians who want to both play and manage themselves although they do nothing to keep up with the industry and think that managing is just making demos and sending them out to venues around the country: they need a manager. And you have musicians who have a passionate interest in the music industry, reads every music based press going and whose musical abilities arguably suffer due to their commitment to managing themselves: they need a manager.
A good manager is a necessity, simple as that. But also, and here is the beauty of it all, a bad manager can be a huge hindrance.
A good manager needs to be either one of 2 people:
1) Passionate as anything about your music. Regardless of experience or contacts, if they genuinely love your music, have a good demeanour, the gift of the gab, semi organised and are friendly, then they should do a good job. These are the kinds of managers who are mates with the band, the bass players brother etc and are usually the kind of manager that will be pushed aside when the band signs a major deal and they get someone ‘more professional’ in (although I know there are several examples where this hasn’t happened).
2) Semi-passionate about your music, but have got more contacts then you can shake a stick at. It’s a massive cliché but unfortunately it does ring true in the music industry: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
So what do managers actually do? I suppose the definition would be “to take away the responsibility of everything from the artist, bar the music bit’. I’m going to use a friend of mine as an example, lets call him/her ‘X’:
X has been a musician for several years now, he’s (that’s given one thing away) a bloody talented songwriter producing constantly insightful lyrics and his technical ability on the guitar is staggering. He’s had an album out on an indie label which did better then expected but he’s now looking for another label to release his 2nd L.P.
I was having a drink with him the other day, talking about general music banter, as you do, and I asked him if he’d submitted a demo to PopKom. No. Midem? No, have you looked into the department of trade and industries program to take British music to SXSW for next years festival? No. X just wants to write and play music, and that is something that I can’t argue with. Arguably a manager should be doing things like submitting demos to international conferences, checking out for new competitions which will result with good PR and strong experience (e.g. the Jack Daniels unsigned competition last year before they made it into a battle of the bands competition). They should look out for new ways to grab peoples attention (e.g. the XBOX competition that Enter Shikari are hosting where they’re looking for unsigned artists to use in new XBOX games), they should be looking for new ways to enter the market, reading about the DIY model, what it means, what it could do for your band. They should be calling in favours left right and centre (the music industry is practically run on favours between contacts). They should be giving you advice on your sound, telling you what works live and what doesn’t, telling you what songs to start on, to finish on. They should be finding ways to make money for the artist, they should be researching into royalties, what the artist is entitled to, how they can get them (cough-Sentric music-cough). They should be reading Music Week, NME, Q, Sentric Music’s Blog. They should be buying books like ‘All you need to know about the music industry’ and ‘The Longtail’, they should be findings ways to finance themselves attending conferences like In The City in Manchester, keeping up with trends, spotting potential areas to exploit. They should be buying sound techs a drink during the sound check, they should be making databases of contacts of promoters, digital aggregators, PR companies, venues, marketing companies, CD duplicators, drug dealers. They should be fun, smart, willing to go an extra mile, be able to command respect from the artist, be able to keep ego’s in check and more.
A good manager earns his/her 20%
What I’m listening to this week: The Invention (these guys are dead good live) and 28 Costumes
Oh, did someone say something about a secret Justice gig on the 11th june? Did they? Oh, what? Myspace you say? Eh? Fair enough.