Realistic Expectations of an Indie Manager

Today’s guest post is written by Jonathan Sigmon, aka “Sigs”, founder of Signature Entertainment:
Many artists and bands looking to take their music careers to the next level are looking for an artist manager. Putting together the right team around your band can be the difference between being a very talented local band or being able to actually tour and sustain a living. So what should you, the band, be looking for in an artist management company/representative and what are realistic expectations from them?

The answer to the first question is fairly easy. Simply look to see the results the manager has delivered in the past. Every artist manager is going to drone on and on about their connections to many industry executives (which can be legitimate or not), but the question you should be looking at for every person on your team (band mates included) is, “What can you deliver?” This sounds very business-like, which most artistic people want to run away from, but it is the reality of the situation if you are trying to make a sustainable career.

As for the realistic expectations of the manager, I think that both sides must spell this out during the contract and negotiations stage. For every manager it looks different and each one is going to have areas of strengths and weaknesses. However, there are some key questions about personal attributes and connections that you definitely want to explore, including:

  1. What is the past experience and reputation of the manager?
  2. Do they believe in your vision and are they willing to become your advocate?
  3. Is there a connection to a recording studio that can produce the kind of sound your band is looking for?
  4. Can the manager find you a booking agent?
  5. Does the manager have business and contract negotiation experience?
  6. Are there connections with a merch/graphic/web designer? Is there knowledge of your key music business websites and how to create a solid SEO for the band?
  7. Does the manager know of a place for the band to practice?
  8. Can the manager help you define and achieve your goals, as well as help decide where to invest your limited money?
  9. Does the manager know how to find good writers for press, websites, contracts, etc. (i.e. publicist)?
  10. Does the manager know how to get your songs published and ensure your royalties will be paid?
  11. Does the manager have connections with a photographer and videographer?
  12. Does the manager have relationships with any record labels in which you are interested? Do they at least have good phone conversation skills in order to discuss matters concerning your band?

Obviously, you may not need your artist manager to fulfill all of these duties, as you may already have some of these needs met (such as a practice space or a recording studio where you feel comfortable). As a band, it is important to prioritize the needs of the group and search for those attributes.

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An Online Metronome for Practicing Musicians

I got an email recently from MusicSupervisor in which they pointed out this sweet website:

Metronome Online.

No need to actually buy a metronome, just go to their site, click on the beats per minute you need, and magically you have your tempo. Awesome. As long as you are sitting near a computer! Rock on. 

Sure beats the old version.

Pump Audio Reducing Licensing Payments to Artists by 30%

Yo yo yo. Any of you guys using Pump Audio to license your music may want to pay attention to a change they’re rolling out in their artist agreement. 

Beginning July 1st, 2009, Pump Audio will move to a 65/35 split with artists, instead of their existing 50/50 split. This means that licensed artists will see a drop in their take from each licensing fee by 30%. Awesome.

I was alerted to this Wednesday by an existing Pump Audio user. I followed up with their Artist Relations contact, and unfortunately the bad news is true. 

Here’s what they said:

“…this move is being made to support the growth of our business on a global stage…”

“We believe and will work tirelessly to insure that Pump Audio continues to be the top music licensing company for real artists.  As we grow and succeed, you will grow and succeed right along with us.  Pump Audio has always been, and will always be one of the biggest supporters of independent artists, and our intention is to see all Pump contributors make more money with us in the coming years.”

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Make Music, not T-Shirts

Today’s guest blog comes from Chris Wochagg at, an online video portal for artists and musicians.


I’m tired of hearing the suggestion that musicians just have to cross finance through merchandising, ringtones, more gigs and expensive VIP tickets to their gigs. This may work for some bands – call it the Arctic Monkeys Bands – but it ignores a great field of composers and musicians committed to the studio and artists who aren’t willing to perform a rock’n’roll show every night and sell t-shirts, because their “fans“ may have outgrown the age of wearing band t-shirts.

Not every artist is able to entertain crowds nor is sorely tempted to be the focus of a photographer‘s lightning storm, but – and that’s the point – can be an appreciated musician/artist. So there is an enormous number of musicians out there who do not benefit from a “share everything and get more concert visitors” precept. It makes me believe that the idea of making money with additional goods should still be a great possibility to have a greater income and promote the artist, but not the only chance to survive.

This doesn’t mean that we should support DRM, set restrictions on the consumer or try to save the CD as a medium and the exploiting businesses of the majors. The era of the digitalization won’t stop, we’ve already passed the point of no return. Do we have to believe that nobody is going to pay for music anymore? Don’t think so. What we would need is transparency. 

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