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Lesson #2 – Qualifications of Manager (Preview)

Lesson #2 – Qualifications of Manager (Preview)

In most businesses, if you were looking to hire somebody to run your business you would take great care to make sure you hired the right person.  Before you even started looking for that person you’d likely put together a job description and a list of qualifications. You’d have a good idea of what kind of experience that person would need to do a great job. And you’d probably have some idea of the personality traits your ideal candidate would have.   It’s no different when you are hiring your manager.

In the music business, anybody can call themselves a manager and many do.

Saying “I’m a manager” is no guarantee that that person has the qualifications and experience to be a successful manager.  It will be up to you to sort fact from fiction, big talk versus big delivery and make sure you hire a manager that can truly help you build a successful career.  The best way to do that is to understand what qualifications to look for in a manager. So let’s talk about that now.

Your manager will need to possess basic business and marketing skills.

If you have great music, bringing attention to you and your music is what will help you stand out from the crowd. It will be important that your manager have a good sense of who you are as an artist and a clear idea of how to present your music and image in a compelling way. He or she needs to have an understanding of how music is marketed and what it costs.  A manager needs to have a fundamental understanding of money and finance.  “Getting the Money” is a key part of a manager’s role so its important that the manager have something of a bottom line mentality. Focusing on how to increase income is part of it. Controlling expenses is another.  Being able to add and subtract is one thing, being able to say NO when things don’t add up is quite another and your manager better be able to do that if you are going to walk away with some dough.

Your manager should be experienced in all the key areas of the music business.

Understanding how record labels and music publishing companies work, who does what and why is hugely important.  When a record label or publisher commits to spend millions of dollars on an artist they want to know that there is an experienced manager on board to hedge their bets.  Experienced managers get more out  of record labels and publishers because they know what to ask for and when.  If you are a performer you’ll want to know that your manager understands the live business because that’s where you will make a big chunk of your income if your are successful.  So if your manager booked gigs, was a promoter at some point, or worked on the road, that experience will put money in your pocket.

And it takes time to get that experience.

That’s why more often than not you’ll find that the top managers are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. and that experience provides perspective and leads to better decisions.  So many times things are not quite what they appear to be in the music business and the experienced eye will see what the inexperienced eye misses.

A great manager has existing relationships with all the key players in the music business

We’ve all heard the expression its not WHAT you know its WHO you know that counts. And that is definitely true in the music business.  A great manager will have deep contacts in the music industry.The music business has always been a small clubby little business where getting access is difficult.  If you are an artist looking to get signed to a record or publishing deal you can waste a lot of time talking to scouts and folks ‘who know somebody at the label’. Getting to the real decision makers is the key. An experienced manager will have existing relationships with key players in all the key positions whether its label folks, agents, publishers, radio programmers, publicists, photographers, or music technology companies. Having relationships at a high level can fast track the process and get to you to that great Yes or No much faster.

A Manager needs to think strategically.  

You have to have a clear sense of where you are, where you want to be, what it will take to get there and then go out and put those pieces together.  That will require command of the big picture as well as the nuts and bolts to make things happen.  A great manager will have an analytical mind and the ability look dispassionately at issues from all sides and pick the right idea at the right time, no matter where it came from, and then make it happen. A great manager needs to understand the competing agendas at play in every situation and have the political skills to manage the result to your favor.  Winning the war, not every battle is what’s important and that will require a lot of calculation and alot of strategy.

Hiring your manager is like hiring the CEO of your business. Before you think about who you want to hire, think about what you’ll need that person to do and make sure they are qualified. Its one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.



Black Veil Brides Manager Blasko on Knowing Your Audience

Ozzy Bassist and manager of the Black Veil Brides Blasko touches on the topics of marketing and knowing your demographic – some people think the world is their oyster, however that is often not true. Check out this clip to see what Blasko has to say about knowing your target market!

Click HERE to see the whole interview.

Back to: Renman MB Insider’s Guide to Today’s Music Biz > Module 05 - Managers