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Deciding on Management or Representation

As an emerging artist, navigating the decision to acquire a manager or agent can be pivotal for your career growth. This blog will explore the considerations, timings, and strategies surrounding the decision to seek professional representation in the music industry.


Should I Get a Manager or Agent?


When to Consider Representation: Career Development: Once your career gains momentum, and you find it challenging to balance artistic pursuits with the business aspects of your career, it may be time to consider representation. Just know you will most often have to pay them. It's important to consider whether you are at the stage where an artist manager would want to invest in you. Ask yourself: Do you offer something unique? Have you developed your career to the point where it is worth their while? Is there value in managing you at this point? Reflecting on these questions will help you when pitching to a manager to take interest in you.


Increased Opportunities: If you're consistently receiving gig offers, collaboration opportunities, or industry interest, a manager or agent can help streamline and negotiate these opportunities on your behalf. When your career reaches a point where strategic planning, brand development, and long-term goals become crucial, a manager can provide valuable expertise.


What Managers and Agents Look for in an Artist/Talent: Each manager looks for different things, but most of them all have one thing in common; they want to earn money from your craft. Typically, they don't get paid unless you do. So they are looking for those they believe in and feel what you're offering as potential to benefit both of you. Often times (depending on where you are on your artist journey timeline), they look for a unique style, a clear artistic identity, and direction, a established following, a self starter, a hard worker along with a plethora of other important characteristics.


Professionalism: A strong work ethic, reliability, and professionalism are highly valued. Someone they don’t need to babysit always helps. This includes punctuality, responsiveness, and a commitment to continuous improvement. They want you to work just as hard as they do.


Marketability: Agents and managers assess an artist's market appeal.


Stage Presence: For live performers, a captivating stage presence is crucial. Managers and agents look for artists who can engage and entertain audiences effectively.

Collaborative Attitude: A positive and cooperative attitude can contribute to successful working relationships. They want to know you will be communicative and mature to work with.


How to Approach Managers and Agents: First, get all of your ducks in a row: Create the brand image you want. Create a professional press kit/website that includes a well-written bio (not too long), high-quality photos matching your brand, and samples of your work (professional video, etc). Make sure everything is cohesive and selling the same story and vibe. Ensure you have developed an engaging online presence. Of course, we are all so invested in our own dreams and craft that we may think we are ready because we are emotionally involved. However, try to remove that part and evaluate your situation as if you were a business looking in from the outside. Ask yourself WHY would they invest, and then come up with an elevator pitch answering those questions.


Network in the Industry: Attend industry events, concerts, and networking functions to connect with professionals. Leverage social media platforms to engage with industry figures and showcase your talent.


Research Potential Representatives: Identify managers or agents who have experience with artists in your genre. Research their client list, track record, and reputation within the industry.


Prepare a Pitch: Craft a compelling pitch that highlights your achievements, goals, and what you bring to the table. Clearly articulate why you believe their representation would be beneficial to both parties.


Request an Introduction: Utilize industry connections to secure introductions to potential representatives. Attend industry conferences or workshops where you may have the opportunity to meet and connect with professionals.


Be Patient and Persistent: Understand that securing representation may take time. Take feedback and make adjustments. Follow up respectfully and professionally after your initial pitch, expressing continued interest, but don't bother them. Don’t badger them. Don't pressure them. Read the room.


If you feel you are ready to take the leap into representation, be prepared to thoroughly review all the terms in the contract. Your contract is binding, so protect yourself by fully understanding the terms and conditions BEFORE you sign it. Consult with a legal professional before you sign to ensure you comprehend all aspects of the agreement. This is crucial! It can save you trouble down the road and provide clarity on everything.


Keep in mind that there are always bad weeds in a garden. To ensure you're picking the right person to help guide your career to success, you need to be sure of your dreams, who you are, your boundaries, and your direction. Remember, managers and agents don't always know everything. Do your own research, ask around about them, and get your own lawyer. Have someone else you can consult with for questions. Always trust your gut and remember that communication is key and can help solve confusion or issues!


Artist managers often handle a variety of responsibilities, and managing finances can be one of them. However, the extent to which they handle money can vary depending on the agreement between the artist and the manager. Ask about how they handle things like this. Here are some common financial responsibilities that artist managers may take on:

  1. Negotiating Contracts: Managers often negotiate contracts on behalf of the artist, ensuring favorable terms and managing payment schedules.

  2. Budget Management: They might create and manage budgets for tours, recording sessions, marketing, and other projects.

  3. Collecting Payments: Managers often collect payments from venues, labels, and other sources, ensuring the artist gets paid for their work.

  4. Paying Bills and Expenses: They may handle paying bills related to the artist’s career, such as studio fees, tour expenses, and promotional costs.

  5. Financial Planning: Some managers help with long-term financial planning, including investments and savings strategies.

  6. Tax Preparation: They may work with accountants to prepare and file taxes, ensuring compliance with tax laws and maximizing deductions.

While managers can handle these tasks, it is crucial for artists to maintain oversight and understand their finances. Many artists also hire accountants or business managers specifically to handle financial matters, providing an additional layer of expertise and security. Always ask about their percentage and cuts they are expecting.


Deciding to seek management or representation is a significant step in an artist's career. By carefully considering the timing, understanding what managers and agents look for, and approaching the process strategically, artists can enhance their chances of securing the right representation to propel their career forward. careers forward. Remember, each artist's journey is unique, and the decision to seek representation should align with your individual goals and aspirations.

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