Does the idea of representing a music artist or band excite you? Are you comfortable coordinating with different people to organize and implement events? If so, then working as a music manager might be the perfect career for you.
A music manager is someone who oversees or manages the business affairs of a music artist or band. This role will not require you to play any musical instruments or have the perfect pitch. Instead, you’ll need to have a knack for music management, fluency in the artistic language of music, and networks in the music industry to succeed in this role.
Interested? Here’s how you can become a music manager.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Music managers have to wear a lot of hats, which is why it’s crucial to earn a bachelor’s degree before diving into the industry. This is especially important if you don’t have any background on the high-level concepts used in the music industry.
Generally, a degree in business management is a great option because it allows you to learn various business practices and negotiation strategies that are beneficial in the music industry. This degree can also teach you how to network with other people and properly represent artists.
Complete Your Internship
Learning about the theories or practices relevant to the music industry isn’t enough to become a music manager; you also have to learn how to apply these in real life. You can meet this requirement by completing an internship.
Most music managers find internships at music management companies or record labels where they get first-hand experience about the music industry and learn how professionals actually work. Completing an internship also opens an opportunity to make networks in the industry, which can be very valuable once you start working as a music manager.
To find internship programs ideal for aspiring music managers, do a quick search online or reach out to record labels in your area. You can also ask for recommendations if you know any music managers or artists.
Stay Up to Date with the Latest Trends in the Music Industry
The trends in the music industry change over time — the melody and lyrics that people loved to listen to five years ago aren’t the same things they want today. Conversely, the general public will likely want to hear something different in the future.
If you want to become successful in the industry, stay up to date with the latest and hottest trends in the music industry. This is an excellent way for you to attract and manage clients based on the trends you observe in the industry. For example, if you notice that listeners today love to listen to country songs, you can start looking for and representing country artists.
The internet can be your best friend to stay updated about the trends in the music industry. You can access countless articles, blog posts, and other materials online to determine the latest music updates. You can also check artists’ social media pages to know them better.
Regularly communicating with other industry professionals is also a great way to stay updated about the music industry. You can also maximize the connections you have with other music managers, record producers, and music label owners to know what’s hot or not in the industry.
Develop or Acquire the Necessary Skills
Often, the responsibilities of a music manager go beyond their job description, which is why you need to come prepared. It’s important to develop or acquire the necessary skills to ensure that you can handle various responsibilities thrown at you — whether they’re indicated in your job description or not.
Here are four essential skills every music manager should have:
- Communication and people skills: Music managers need to communicate with different people constantly to generate opportunities for their clients. Additionally, you’re expected to remain polite and persistent when following up with other professionals in the industry. If you’re still hesitant about your communication and people skills, improve on these areas before you start your journey of becoming a music manager.
- Willingness to learn: As mentioned, the music industry is changing at a fast pace. Just when you think you know every artist and song, another genre suddenly pops up. To become one of the best music managers, you should always have a thirst for knowledge. You should be willing to dedicate time and effort to learn about the trends and practices used in the industry.
- Neutrality: Staying neutral is an important skill you should have as a music manager, especially when you’re eyeing to manage a brand. As a music manager, you are responsible for keeping peace within the bands, which means that you should never take sides or have favorites.
- Focus: Working as a music manager seems like fun, especially if you get to represent your favorite artist. But to succeed in the industry, you need to stay focused. Sure, you can party and have drinks with your clients once in a while, but work should also come first. Having fun isn’t a priority when you’re a music manager — you need to make sure that the artist stays healthy during world tours and shows up to interviews on time.
Apply for Jobs
By this time, you’re ready to apply for jobs as a music manager. This is an exciting phase of becoming a music manager, but keep in mind that this is also one of the most time-consuming. Depending on the number of music managers in your area and the demand in your area, this process will require a few weeks or months.
You can apply for a job as a music manager in various public relations firms or music management companies. You can also reach out to industry professionals to inquire whether they know any artists that need representation.
It’s best if you exhaust all of your resources when applying for a job. This will increase your chances of landing your first gig, which will eventually help you build a name in the industry.
Work on Finding Clients
Another option you can take to jumpstart your career as a music manager is to start your own talent management business. Taking this route enables you to take charge of your schedule, making it easier for you to attain a work-life balance. If you decide to build and manage your own business, finding your clients should be on top of your to-do list.
You can find clients by thoroughly researching new and emerging artists who don’t have any music managers. You can do this by checking the social media profiles and digital portfolios of the artists online or by watching their live performances.
According to Ken Levitan, Kid Rock’s manager, your energy can also help persuade clients, especially if you still don’t have experience in the industry. When you show potential clients that you have the energy to work hard for them, they’ll likely entrust you to represent them.
Knowledge is Power
Becoming a music manager requires time, effort, and patience, so don’t rush the process. Use all of your experiences — whether good or bad — to learn more about the industry. Along with your dedication to succeed, being knowledgeable about the industry will surely help you become a successful music manager!