One of the biggest mistakes that indie artists make is thinking of their music manager as the ultimate solution for managing their career. The truth is, you need to put in a lot of hard work to get to the point where you can find a good manager. Once you get there, you shouldn’t simply hire the first manager that approaches you.
You should think of hiring a music manager as a business would think about hiring an employee. The reason for this is that your manager works for you – not the other way around.
So, when you meet with a potential manager, you should put them through the interview process. Use the following questions to make sure that you find the best candidate for the job.
Who Else Have You Managed?
Make sure that you find out who else the manager has worked with. This includes past and present artists. After the meeting, you should take the time to look up these artists and find out how they’re doing. Find out how easy it is to get information on these bands or artists.
For example, do they have a large social media presence? Do they actively tour? Have they released music? If the answer is no, then the band manager that you met with may not be looking out for the best interests of his or her clients.
You may even want to contact some of the clients that the manager has worked with. Talking to past bands or artists will give you a good indication as to the authenticity of the manager. They should be able to give you advice about whether or not to work with the band manager.
It’s also important to note that the track record of their past and current clients is a great indicator as to the talent of the band manager. Consider the number of clients that he or she has. If they spread themselves too thin, they may have trouble keeping up with all of their clients.
What Can You Do for Us?
You should also ask a potential manager what he or she can do for you and/or your band. What sort of steps will this manager take to promote your music? Pay attention to their responses to these questions.
Consider their level of enthusiasm when they discuss the steps that they’ll take to further your career. If they sound excited about the process, there is a good chance that they’ll do everything they can to get your music out there.
It may help to refresh your memory and make sure that you understand what a music manager can do for you. Check out this video of Jeff Dorenfield explaining the role of a band manager:
How Would You Define Our Music?
It’s important to ask a few questions about your music. You want to ensure that the manager understands the direction that you’re taking. They should understand your music and the genre that you fit into.
They should also have an understanding of who your audience is. This is essential if they are going to be able to effectively promote your music.
So, ask questions about your music, such as “how would you describe our music to someone else?”
Do You Have a Sample Contract?
You should ask if they have a contract that you could look over. It’s never a good idea to immediately sign something. You should look over the contract and have a lawyer examine it.
Hiring a lawyer to examine a legal document does not cost a lot and could save you from signing a bad contract. Typically, a lawyer will charge for one or two hours to review a standard contract.
What Percentage Do You Want?
Ask your potential manager what percentage they want to get paid. Also, find out if they expect a salary along with their percentage of your earnings. The average percentage is anywhere between 10 and 15 percent for a band manager.
You need to fully understand how much of a cut they want. This should also be outlined in the contract that you’ve looked over. If they ask for too much, you could negotiate a lower offer or continue your search for artist management.
What Advice Do You Have for Us?
You should also get a better sense of how he or she sees you and your music. Ask if they have any advice for you. Listen to their input. This will help you learn more about their approach to management.
They may discuss your style, your stage presence, your music, and other aspects of your career. Make sure that the input they provide gels with your own thoughts and ideas.
Use these questions as you search for a music manager. It will help to make a list of questions that you’d like to ask, including the questions discussed. If you want additional advice on how to get a music manager, then you’ll want to take a look at our in-depth book – Music Management for the Indie Artist.