Working with Music Managers, Booking Agents, and Road Managers

As you begin to make a name for yourself in your local music scene, you may start thinking that it’s time to work with a manager. But, what’s the difference between music managers, booking agents, PR managers, and road managers?

There are so many different names and roles for people that work behind the scenes. Are all these positions necessary? Do you need to work with these people? Learn more about working with music managers and others that can help promote your music.

Building a Dedicated Team for Success

Honestly, you may not need any of these people. In today’s music industry, independent artists have access to all the tools and resource that they need to begin promoting their own music.

In fact, you should be working hard at promoting your own music. Before you start working with a music manager and these other people, you need to put in the work and make a name for yourself.

Though, once you get things moving and you’re gaining recognition, these people can help build on what you’ve already achieved on your own.

You can start building a dedicated team that can help you succeed. This typically starts with a general music manager. This is a person with multiple roles, especially early in your career. They may help you land gigs and meet with some record execs.

Your music manager can also introduce you to these additional insiders. They will eventually act as the person in the middle. They’ll coordinate with booking agents, publishers, and the record label. This is when the framework of your team begins to take shape.

The Framework of a Music Management Team

The music manager will likely be the first person that you hire. These are the people that are involved in the early part of your career.

As mentioned, they may help you land gigs and appearances. But, as your success increases, the amount of time needed to manage all these aspects of your career also increases.

Basically, at some point, your manager is going to need help. So, here is a closer look at some of these positions and how they relate to your music career. This may include:

  • Music managers
  • Booking agents
  • Event promoters
  • Music publishers
  • Record labels
  • Public relations

Music Managers

So, your music manager is at the core of this framework. This is a very broad term. Early in your career, the manager that you work with will likely be an individual. They aren’t employed by a record label or an agency. They work for you, helping you advance your career.

Though, once your career advances, you may end up working with other types of music managers. For example, after signing with a record label, you may have a manager that’s focused on the music side of things and a manager that’s focused on the business side of things.

Booking Agents

A booking agent, as the name suggests, is responsible for booking gigs and appearances. Again, this is a role that your music manager may take on. But, with increased demand, a separate booking agent can become essential.

Depending on your level of success, your booking agent may work with several sub-agents. You might even have multiple booking agents. For example, you could have a booking agent for shows in North America and a booking agent for gigs in South America.

You may start to see a pattern here. As your success increases, more people are needed to manage your career – to expand your reach and help you grow your audience.

Event Promoters

Event promoters are people that promote events. This can vary from small clubs to venue owners. You don’t employ event promoters. But, your booking agent or music manager may establish relationships with promoters to help you book gigs.

Once a gig is booked, the event promoter helps promote the upcoming event. Their primary goal is to get people to show up to the event and find the right music acts. This is kind of like working with a DJ to get your music out to the masses.

Music Publishers

Artists often get confused when it comes to music publishers and record labels. You need to understand this difference. A publisher holds the rights to your written music. They may actively try to get other artists to record covers of your songs. But, their primary goal is to make money off your written songs and lyrics.

Record Labels

The record label is responsible the recording, distribution, and promotion of your recorded music. This is different from the publisher. Instead of the written music, they are handling the recording music. This is the easiest way to consider the difference between these two roles.

Public Relations

Public relations may or may not be employed through your record label. They may also work with a radio promoter. A PR person helps establish a value for your brand. They help mold the way that you are perceived by the public, the media, and people in the music industry.

Public relations managers may offer suggestions or advice or help book radio or television appearances. Again, as with all these roles, the exact job description can vary.

Before you sign a record deal, you’re responsible for your own PR. The following video offers 10 tips to help you handle this task:

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that these different people can all help you succeed. But, it’s not always easy to identify their role. This is the reason why you need to take things slow. Learn as you go and surround yourself with people that are looking out for your best interests.

Hopefully, this information hasn’t overwhelmed you. It isn’t as complicated as it may appear. This is especially true considering that all you need to worry about right now is the music manager.

For now, focus on getting your name out there. Take advantage of social media and grow your fan base. Book your own gigs and make a name for yourself locally. Then, you will start to attract music managers.

From there, your manager can help you decide when it’s time to begin working with these additional music industry professionals.

If you’d like a more detailed look at these roles, along with tips on how to advance your career on your own or attract a music manager, check out our eBook – Music Management for the Indie Artist.

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