Any band or artist that’s either paid their dues, or spent time on the Front Lines knows how much work is involved in becoming a paid professional. Logistically it can be way to much for a band to handle, and it’s easy to get in way over your head. If you are an up & coming artist, and you have aspirations about becoming a professional artist one day (quitting your day job) then you need to consider hiring a Professional Band Manager. The more serious you are, the more you should consider it. It can also be said that after several years in the business, if things haven’t exactly worked out they way you had planned, and your just not satisfied with the status quo – perhaps it’s time to surround yourself with “Fresh Blood”, and hire a new management team. Your Band Manager is the behind the scenes leader who handles all the important aspects of your Booking, Scheduling, Networking, Regional Live Exposure, Marketing, and even Promotion. He also handles all the legal particulars involved with Booking, Gigs, Booking Letters, Legal Negotiations, and all the Personal Logistics associated with Transportation, and a flawless schedule execution.
Below is a list of things that make an effective Band Manager:
Experience & Proven Track record Don’t hire just anyone. Hire a Manager that has a proven track record with at least have 3 bands under their belt, and at least 3 years experience. Be sure and ask for past references including bands, booking agents, and club owners. Don’t let your band become the guinea pig of a rookie Manager.
Networking A good manager knows the “who’s who” in your area when it comes to the record labels, studio owners, booking agents, promoters, media personnel, club bookers, club owners, other managers, independent retail accounts, sound personnel, support crew, and more. Typically the more Networking a Band Manger has, the more effective he is.
Business Savvy & Tenacity Simply put your Band Manager can’t be a pushover. He picks the battles, and knows how to stand his ground. He know when to push, when to back down, when to dig in his heels, and when to come to center, he knows when to be polite, and when to play hard ball. Yet despite all of the aforementioned he should always be professional and mature. The last thing you need is a have an overly aggressive “Bridge Burner” representing your band. He must be a hardnosed negotiator, and always fight on your behalf with your best interests always in mind.
Coaching and Mentoring A good manager knows how to push a band or artist. This involves rewarding good behavior, positive reinforcement and solid leadership. It can also mean counseling for bad behavior, providing constructive criticism, and even how to terminate a commitment if need be. .
Artist Development This goes hand in hand with Coaching and Mentoring. However an effective Band Manager knows how to take a diamond in the rough and turn it into a hot running, money making machine. He also knows all the “ins and outs” of valuable Marketing tools like Promotion, Radio Exposure, Internet Presence, CD Distribution, Assembling a Street Team, developing a slam dunk live presentation, and developing your overall band Image. Also understand that if you have aspirations for upward mobility someday in your musical career, your Band Manager should have an attitude compatible with that vision.
Effective Communicator Being an effective communicator is a make or break for a band manager. He has to provide constant feedback to you as an artist on what your re doing well, and what you can improve on. He also has to be on task when it comes to establishing meaningful dialogue with many important people in the industry on your behalf. He has to be candid, to the point, and have purpose and focus during his communication.
Organizational Leadership Embarking on a regional tour is a huge undertaking for any band or artist. . Logistically it can be very demanding process requiring precision scheduling, planning, detailed logistical support, and timely execution of all of the above for success. Most of the best Band Managers I’ve seen with always were 3-4 steps ahead of me, no matter how hard I tried to keep up. They also have to be good multi taskers , and must have a keen understanding of what effective time management is along with organizational leadership.
Bullshit Umbrella What’s important and what not important? A Band Manager should know. A good band manager knows how to limit any distractions that may come your way, and save you a lot of headache and time. He also knows how to prioritize properly, and filter out things that may not be in your nest interest. A good Band Manger knows how to have good instincts. He knows a good thing when he sees one, and can smell Bullshit a mile away.
Don’t underestimate how much work it takes to become a legitimate paid professional band or artist. It’s no coincidence the successful bands out there are where they are today, They have an effective Management Team backing them up day in and day out. It takes a lot of hard “Behind the Scenes” work to make it all happen. As an artist or band, if you think you can handle all of the above by yourself you’re either to naive, or spreading yourself way to thin. If you’re serious about quitting your day job one day, and becoming a paid professional then you need to consider hiring a Professional Band Manager this year!