During SXSW I met with many people. Publishers, bloggers, artists, and film makers, yet arguably the most important piece of the music industry puzzle that I met with were the music managers.
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Joel Carriere from the Bedlam Music Management. Joel started working with Toronto bands more than 10 years ago but now has expanded the Bedlam roster to include global stars including like Marilyn Manson and Civil Wars. Bedlam has had incredible success because they have a smart team, that works with great artists, and they have a true love of music.
I learned a lot from my conversation with Joel and I’ve been putting it into practice already. But I thought I’d share some of those insights on why you need a manager.
Why you need a manager:
Allows you to focus on the music – This may be a no brainer, but there is a lot of work to do if you’re taking your career seriously in the music industry. When you have a trusted music manager in your corner you can focus on exactly what you want to… your music.
Have a leader of the business side – In bands there can be a lot of options and voices that want a turn to be heard. Although all ideas are valid, sometimes the sheer amount of options can sink a band. Especially if no one can decide what to do. The music industry is a business and like all businesses, to make it work you need a leader. A manager is that leader. She/He can tell you what you should pursue and what you should ditch. This is huge for a band. It changes the game.
Have an impartial third party – I’ve been in bands for over 12 years. I know how much a third party can help in many situations. Often band members are attached to their song, their idea, their vision, so much that it clouds their judgment. A manager can clear the air, cut straight to the heart of the issue and get your band moving.
Have a motivating force – Managers expect to be paid. Their pay check depends on you making money. That’s they only way they will have food on their table. That means that a manager will motivate you to get your shit together, get recording, get photos, get videos, get shows, anything that will help you, a music manager should/will be doing. This is huge for musicians as sometimes they can be not that motivated.
Takes care of the details. – Musicians are notorious for not giving a care about the fine print. But as the saying goes “The devil is in the details.” This is what a manager is chiefly responsible for. Reading the details, and decimating that info in the most clear and understandable way. Managers are essentially translators that are on your team. When you win they win, so they have to take care of the details or nobody wins.
Obviously a lot of these points are intertwined and there is a lot more to say about managers which we’ll be getting more in the next few days. But in the meantime check out this interview with Joel.