Ask Getsigned.com: When Does My Band Need A Manager?
by Scott Curtis & Janet Johnson
Jul 16, 2003, 13:27
©2003 Getsigned.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
With an unsigned act, artist managers have to assume multiple roles: booking agent, graphic designer, publicist, promoter, accountant...
Most bands want to achieve success in the music business, for instance earning enough from traveling and playing guitar to quitting their day job. Good management is almost always necessary to achieve any measure of success in this tough business. Many musicians are intelligent and resourceful, and certainly have the capacity to manage their own affairs, but the artist that can handle all this and progress in his art without losing focus and/or sanity is rare.
The basic question is when do you need a manager?
The simple answer is when you have something to manage. Sounds pretty obvious, but it is the most accurate answer we can give. Many bands tend to seek management far too early in their careers, but others wait too long. Some bands look for management to take over every aspect of the band's business so they can just "show up and play...". Even if the manager could do it all, bands must understand that success or failure is solely the band's responsibility. Not the manager's.
From the very first day, a good manager will be driven by a band's achievements, which may be as simple as having a great song written or access to a decent PA or an opportunity to perform for an A&R scout. Any "successful" regional act will tell you that practicing and playing are only a very small part of the job of being in a band; meeting club owners, networking with other bands, and studying the music industry are just a few of many responsibilities. Remember, it's called the music business for a reason.
If your band is lucky enough to have a close friend outside the band (not a groupie!) with respect for the band and music, some computer skills, motivation to succeed, and basic business knowledge, you're in luck! Most up-and-coming bands aren't in the financial position to pay a manager or even pay their rent for that matter, so be sure to respect the free labor you're receiving for what it is. Once your band is has established itself and written some material to perform live, utilize your resources to record a good demo tape, write a band biography, and have some professional pictures made. Basically, a killer press kit. Then, use those tools to help create some business to manage!
About the author
Scott Curtis and Janet Johnson are co-founders of Curtis Johnson Entertainment, an entertainment consulting and production company in Nashville, TN. Two current projects, the CJE Original Rock Series and the CJE Rock and Roll Revolution (All Ages Series), have garnered extensive regional media attention, as both projects are delivering high-caliber regional and national original rock acts to territories that were previously considered to be inaccessible to developing original rock acts. Scott Curtis is a computer network consultant/engineer with considerable business experience. Janet Johnson is a computer consultant in Nashville, TN. She previously worked for The Musicland Group, Gibson Musical Instruments, and BMG Entertainment (Arista, RCA, LaFace).