Recently we wrote about why you need a music manager. They allow you to focus on the music while your manager focuses on the rest… but how do you attract a manager? What are they looking for? What qualities do you need to have to get someone to take care of the business side of things?
I’ve been reading a lot about the great managers of the last century (Epstien, Oldham, Chandler, Grant) and what I’ve learned is that although every manager will be different, typically managers want these things core things before they get involved with an artist:
It may be obvious, but you need to have amazing music. Having “Good” music isn’t good enough. There are a ton of bands that have good music. You need music that is changing the game, and winning over fans at every gig you play. Your music needs to be “Next Level” to attract the right kind of manager.
Committed band members
Having committed band members is one of the most critical elements for a band’s success. If you have a drummer who can’t make it to jams then it’s time to get a new drummer. If your bassist is a drunk who misses notes it’s time to get a new bassist. Why would a manager get involved if he’s going to be baby sitting your band? Having committed band members is an often overlooked part of the equation, but one of the most important elements.
The work STARTS when you get a manager, the work STARTS when you get a record deal, the work that you are doing now (gigging, making videos, connecting with social media) is just the beginning. If you think that you can rest when more people join your team then you are not ready to run in the big leagues. When you’ve proven that you can put in the work without a clear return on investment then you’re more likely to attract a manager.
This point could be folded into the work ethic point, but determination goes a long way in any business, but especially the music business. Our friends The Sheepdogs just won 3 Junos, but they didn’t get there overnight. They spent 7 years on the road playing every club that would take them, only after all that time have they found their success. It can take a long time to “make it” Are you determined? Managers are attracted to determined people.
Clear heads + open attitudes
Having a clear head and an open attitude doesn’t necessarily have a historic precedent in the music biz (as seen by the mountains of drugs that many managers kept their artists on to keep them too stoned to notice their managers were stealing from them), but still working with anyone helps when they’re clear in mind and open to new things. In this rapidly changing music world you need team members who are in it to win it. If someone only cares about getting enough money for their next fix then dealing with them can become a huge problem.
Do you know what you want? Exactly what you want? A manager will help you get there, but only when you know where you want to go. Your vision for your band will change, but if you don’t have a target to begin with then you’re more likely to go adrift and not realize it. The more specific the better, but that’s where a smart manager can come in and help you refine that vision and make it crystal clear.
There are definitely more factors that will get music managers looking at you but if you have satisfied all the points above then you’re well on your way to getting the right people involved. Also DON’T SIGN ANYTHING until you’ve had a lawyer look at it. More on music managers soon!