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:
- What is the past experience and reputation of the manager?
- Do they believe in your vision and are they willing to become your advocate?
- Is there a connection to a recording studio that can produce the kind of sound your band is looking for?
- Can the manager find you a booking agent?
- Does the manager have business and contract negotiation experience?
- 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?
- Does the manager know of a place for the band to practice?
- Can the manager help you define and achieve your goals, as well as help decide where to invest your limited money?
- Does the manager know how to find good writers for press, websites, contracts, etc. (i.e. publicist)?
- Does the manager know how to get your songs published and ensure your royalties will be paid?
- Does the manager have connections with a photographer and videographer?
- 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.