In case you missed it earlier let me fill you in on the big secret in the music business when it comes to finding a manager.
Its more likely your manager will find you than the other way around.
And the reason is pretty simple. Nobody wants to start at square one. The successful managers have been doing this for years and they know how tough it is to launch a new artist. If they’ve had success its likely they are busy with their moneymaking clients and aren’t that excited about the prospect of going back to square one. So, they will all gravitate to artists who’ve proven they can get the ball rolling on their own and have built a foundation that can get bigger. Think back to our big picture lesson about “Being a Manager”. Before you find a manager you’ll need to be one.
If you’ve done your job you’ll attract the attention of potential managers.
And they will have an appreciation for what you’ve built and an idea and the resources to take your career to the next level. When you are trying to get the attention of an established manager and are having a tough time, its easy to take it personal and get negative. But its not personal at all. Once you understand that you’ll spend your time figuring out how to work through that obstacle and find ways to connect.
Find out who the players are.
Do some homework. Find out who manages your favorite band or a band you think has done it right. Use trade publications to identify who the established players are. Talk to other musicians and trade notes on who the big managers are. Go online and type their name or their company name and get some contact info.
If you want to find a great manager you’ll need to understand What are they looking for?
Every Manager is different. Most managers will need to believe in your talent. Some managers might have a specialty. They might specialize in working with women artists, they might work with rock bands, some might specialize in a specific genre of music like country, hip hop or jazz. Look for managers who are good at what you do. But they will also want to know what you are like as a person. They will want to know that you are willing to work as hard as them. They will want to know that you have character and integrity. And they will want to see some signs that your talent and desire to make something happen is already being validated in some tangible ways.
How should you approach a manager?
The best way is by trusted referral. There are so many artists in this world looking for managers and so few really qualified managers to go around that its nearly impossible to filter the field somewhat. One of the time honored ways of doing that is by counting on your network of friends and business associates to help. If you’ve been doing this awhile you will have worked with many of these folks in the past so you’ll know their tastes, you’ll know their sensibilities, you’ll know how they work and what their strengths are. And they’ll know you. And so when an artist is recommended by one of your trusted sources, it has weight and you are likely to take a look. So the key will be finding your way to these trusted sources. Do some homework. What agents do they work with. What labels, publicists, club buyers. Make the connections here. Crack into their world and you’ve got a better shot. If its a bigger firm try to connect with someone that works at the company so they can start to work it.
When contacting prospective managers.
Be professional and be persistent. Start with an email. Keep it short and sweet. Let them know that you are aware of their work and how much you admire it. Everybody loves a compliment. Tell them what you’ve already done. Speak to them in their language. Tell them how many releases you’ve had. Where you had distribution. Record sales, gigs booked. Show them that you’ve built an online following. How many people watched your vids, listened to tracks on Soundcloud. Talk about how you’ve engaged your audience on social media. If you don’t get a response the first time, keep building your story and then contact them again to give an update. Make sure your story gets better every time. Contact them through Social media. Today, more than ever, this next wave of great managers are web savvy and are likely to be active on Social Media channels or have their own websites.
In many ways it’s easier for the professionals to be ‘introduced’ this way. If you catch their attention they can reach out on their own terms.
Jacob Hemphill of SOJA Discusses How To Find A Manager
Jacob Hemphill, lead singer of SOJA, has made a lot of decisions along his path as an artist but one of the most important was picking a manager. Listen in this clip as Jacob discusses what SOJA looked for in picking their manager Elliott Harrington and why it’s most important to find a manager who cares about you as a person.