I get many requests to manage upcoming artists and bands etc.
Its tricky to respond and not discourage them in doing so and every manager does have one or two developing artists that he believes in but in some ways an artist has to “earn” a manager.
There is no income for the manager with the developing artist and there may never be any and even managers need to eat and pay their rent and expenses.
There seems to be this point when an artist has so much going on that they have generated for themselves that they have to have some serious help such as a management company.
We call it handling the minutia and there is plenty of it to handle.
Booking the Travel,Book the band,payroll,PR liaison scheduling interviews,prepping the dates,organising the tour in general,comp tickets and backstage lists and on and on.
Plus lets not forget all the personal stuff such as….. the Drummers girlfriend just ditched him…..the Guitarist wants to play of his own songs…the singers cat died and so on.
Bigger acts have tour managers and Personal assistants (PA’s) to assist but these artists are not the problem we are discussing here.
Besides handling the minutia the manager is really responsible for the big stuff such as getting the the record deal,the agent,the PR company, Independent Radio promotion and full liaison with all those people.
There’s plenty to do with the successful and expanding artist.
But here we have the artist who is just getting going in these difficult times. He has a view gigs for his band and is doing his demo’s or CD , maybe he’s playing in other bands as well and lets say he’s even having some success and creating interest which is ideal and an essential part of this scenatio.
You get the idea and its going to be difficult for this artist to find a manager for many reasons not the least of which is there are not many good ones.
So whats the solution?
GROW YOU OWN
I’ve seen this work and in fact I’m a product of the concept.
I know many managers who started as Road Managers,PA”s ,Tour Mangers,Promoters,Roadies, Publicity assistants etc.etc.
Then there is the other level where lawyers,agents,producers and record Company employees and execs become established artists mangers which is a different scenario but almost the same idea.
So how do you do this?
Look around you as there are always friends who (and this is the big PLUS) love the artist or his music even mates,girlfriends or wives can qualify.
These later two have an added problem as there is an emotional attachment and if things go wrong that can be very skicky.
Plus I’ve noticed wife/managers sometimes have a hard time, its not 100% but it can happen.I’m not sure why but I believe its to do with the phenomena that a wife,husband ,girlfriend,boyfriend,relatives have a hard time being objective about the one they love and sometimes management takes that objective unbiased point of view.
So look around those people around you and evaluate if there is someone thats shows interest and has potential and see if you can work something out.
There’s a million ways to get started and it depends entirely on the circumstances as usually money is at a premium.
They can help set up the band,make calls for you,drive you to the gig whatever you need.
But there is an important part of this idea here and that is you want them to learn the business so give them responsibility and a chance to do so plus see if the can handle it that responsibilty. As they develop put them on more of your lines and relationships and introduce them to people so that they can take those lines over for you.
Of course there are many variable factors such as their aptitude and ability but if they have what it takes they can be a better manager than anyone you’ll ever find elsewhere.
Time is a factor as this may not be a fast process so its takes time and it would be nice to pay them something as soon as you can.
There’ll be a point when you can enter into a formal agreement with them as a manager or assistant and they then go on percentage basis but more about that some other time.
If you think all this sounds far fetched thats how I started as a Tour manager with very little idea what I was doing but I learnt fast,I had to.
For example I know a drummer from a band he was playing with that now manages several major jazz artists and still manages the original artist if played drums for.
I know a photographer that was a fan of an artist that now manages that artist and several others.
I’m sure there are many similar stories in fact I’d go as far as to say there is not a successful manager out there that doesn’t have a similar story.
Many major artists now have their ex lawyer, agent ,producer or Record Exec as their manager which though a different scenario is still similar and shows their is no school for managers.
Oh that there were!!
Its an idea so give a try if it makes sense to you.