Discover the Difference Between a Music Agent and a Music Manager

You may have a general idea of what a music manager is and what he or she can do for your music act. But, before you sign a contract, there’s a chance that you may not need a music manager.

You may find that working with a music agent is a better fit. But, what’s the difference between a music manager and a music agent? We’ll break it down for you.

Discover the difference between a music agent and a music manager.

What is a Music Agent?

Music agents are agents. They’re sometimes called booking agents or talent agents. Basically, they’re responsible for booking shows. They talk to the promoters and negotiate your contracts for live performances.

A music agent will also work with promoters to ensure that the event goes smoothly. This includes ensuring that you have everything that you need for the event. This includes the sound check and the payment for your appearance.

This is only an overview of the role of a music agent. Their exact responsibilities can vary depending on your level of success and whether you’re working with a music manager. Some of their other responsibilities can include:

  • Contacting promoters to book gigs
  • Arranging contracts with promoters
  • Arranging tour dates and setting a schedule

How much does a music agent get paid? This will also vary. Generally, the agent will receive a percentage of the earnings from the tour. This is limited to the payment for the performance. It doesn’t include earnings from merchandise or the sale of music.

Agents will often earn between 10 and 20%. If you’re relatively new in your music career, then they may ask for closer to the 20% mark. But, if you’ve had success, 10 to 15% may be more reasonable.

The main task of a music agent is to book shows. Their goal is to book bigger and bigger venues. If you want a detailed look at the role of a music agent, then watch the following video. It provides plenty of details:

One of the advantages of working with a successful agent is that they may already have larger bands that they work with. This could open the opportunity for support tours. You could open for larger bands, increasing your exposure and helping you gain more fans.

Before working with a music agent, you will need to sign a contract. The details of this contract can vary. As mentioned, their pay rate can depend on several factors.

Before signing a contract, it’s a good idea to have a professional look it over. You could take the contract to a lawyer and have them review it, in case you don’t understand the details of the contract.

What is a Music Manager?

So, how is this different from a music manager? It depends on several factors. A music manager helps you manage your career. This can include some of the responsibilities of a music agent. It really depends on your needs.

If you think that you’ve got everything handled, as far as music recording and distribution, then a music agent may be all that you need. They can help book gigs.

A music manager is a broad term. It covers a lot of ground. A music manager can act as a booking agent, a promoter, and an intermediary between you and the music industry. Here is an overview of some of their main tasks:

  • Promoting your music
  • Setting meetings with record labels
  • Coordinating with music agents and promoters
  • Helping to manage your career

Keep in mind that a music manager cannot legally negotiate a contract. They can set up meetings and help you book gigs, but you’ll be responsible for negotiating the contract – from a legal standpoint. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, then a music agent can be beneficial.

The bottom line is that a music manager manages things. It’s really that simple. They help keep things in order so that you can focus on your music.

A music agent will not contact a record label and help you land a recording contract. They will not negotiate with music publishers to license your music. These are tasks that are generally handled by a manager.

Do You Want to Become a Music Agent?

You can take on the role of a music agent for your own musical act. As with a music manager, you may not need an agent. They are responsible for tasks that you could take care of on your own. Though, you will eventually reach the limitations of what you can do on your own.

The main point is that music managers, agents, and other professionals are not necessary for the average indie artist. You can book your own gigs (taking on the role of a music agent) or promote your own music (taking on the role of a music promoter). Really, an indie artist needs to learn more about these tasks and roles and job titles.

When you learn how to handle these tasks on your own, you’ll be better prepared when the time comes to work with a professional. You’ll have a basic understanding of their job role and can accurately judge their performance. If someone is going to take 20% of your earnings, then they better be doing a good job.

Don’t stop here. There’s more advice available. You should also take a moment to check out our detailed eBook – Music Management for Indie Artists. In this book, you’ll find expert advice and tips for advancing your own career – without needing a music manager. Learn how to become your own manager and become a star.

Basically, you need to handle these tasks on your own, until you can no longer handle them. Focus on your music. That’s what’s important. You need to make good music that people want to listen to. So, for now, worry more about the creative side of things and less about the business.

You can then start recording, booking your own gigs, and work towards growing your fan base. Eventually, you’ll probably be approached by prospective managers or booking agents.

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