Hi, there. My name is Mark, and I’m glad you’ve landed here because you’re in for a treat!
This article covers a lot of ground. Together we will explore what the job of an artist manager is and what they do. But also how to find and contact an artist manager, what to look for when hiring one, wich types to avoid, how to negotiate with them, what their typical salary is and much much more.
Here is an overview of the tactics that work that you can use to contact and find a great artist manager:
- Use reviews at magazines and blogs
- Use a lawyer
- Get on Spotify playlists
- Play at showcases
- Send a demo
- Use music forums
- Hire your friends
- Use SoundCloud
- Use Advanced Networking
- Use Instagram
- Use specialized companies
A few more proven tips:
- Research their background
- Use email instead of calling
This is a long article, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!
11 Ways to Find and Contact an Artist Manager
Finding an artist manager is not that difficult —but finding a GREAT artist manager that can be a real challenge.
There are a lot of artist managers out there, but unfortunately, they are not all equally competent or qualified. The real pros and the ones you want to work with are hard to find since they don’t share their contact information easily. Nevertheless, here are 11 ways that you can use to find a good artist manager.
1) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Reviews/Interviews at Blogs and Magazines
Reviews are a great way you can use to find an artist manager because when your music gets reviewed by a popular magazine, or when they take an interview from you, you get massive exposure and publicity.
When I say reviews think about music blogs and music magazines, try googling “best music blogs” or “top 10 music magazines”, read their submitting guidelines, and apply for a review.
Magazines such as Rolling Stone Magazine, Billboard, or Pitchfork may be too big if you’re just starting your carer, but if your music is good, then go for it!
2) Contact an Artist Manager: Use a Lawyer
Using a lawyer can be a great (but not free) way to get in touch with artist managers. Since lawyers are well connected, they can send referrals to artist managers and help you set a meeting.
3) Contact an Artist Manager: Get on Spotify Playlists
Spotify offers a great opportunity for music artists. Music industry professionals browse Spotify on a weekly basis to discover new upcoming artists. There are a lot of Spotify playlists that accept songs from Indie artists. This is a great tool that can get you thousands upon thousands of plays!
In a bit, I will tell you how to get on Spotify playlists and how to get ORGANIC plays DIY style! 🙂
4) Contact an Artist Manager: Play at Showcases
Okay, number four is all about showcases.
Showcases are frequently organized by music magazines, music conferences, and public radio stations, and it’s at these showcases you often find talent managers.
However be careful because some showcases are not more than a scam, how to spot one? If you get approached by a promoter or a “talent buyer” that insists you buy a bunch of highly-priced tickets to sell to your fans and friends, this is likely a scam. These “showcases” are not more than regular shows, and it’s very unlikely to find an artist manager there.
With showcases that are the “real deal,” you either have to get invited or network your way through. Don’t expect a payment since most of them will ask you to play for free but certainly don’t expect to pay to play.
But if they ask you for payment so they can grant you access to perform demand list with the industry professionals who will be there. If they don’t want to give you that, there is likely something else going on.
5) Contact an Artist Manager: Send a Demo
If you have the connections, you can directly submit your demo to an A&R manager. Otherwise, most labels have contact information somewhere on their website. But beware that most large record labels don’t accept unsolicited material.
The following quote comes straight from Universals website:
“Demo submissions should be directed to UMG’s record labels, but kindly note that they are unable to accept unsolicited material. Typically, demos are recommended to one of our labels’ A&R departments by a manager, agent, producer, radio DJ, or other industry professional.”
Therefore if you want to submit your music demo to a large record label, you stand a much bigger chance if you do it through industry professionals (such as an artist manager) and not by yourself. Your music won’t get heard if a trusted pro does not recommend it.
PS: If you want the contact information of the best Artist Managers of today’s industry, you’re in luck. I have already done the research for you and created a very valuable list with the names and contact information of the best Artists managers in the US. On this very page, you will see a way to access this Gratis resource as a part of a bundle.
6) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Music Forums
We already talked about advertising yourself using music magazines, but how about music forums?
You can browse for music forums at places such as Quora, Reddit, or Gearslutz. In there you will find amateur and professional music enthusiast that may be willing to connect you with an artist manager. And if you are a lack, you may chat with an artist manager himself.
7) Contact an Artist Manager: Hire Your Friends
At number seven, I talk about a non-traditional approach to finding an artist manager.
If you have a friend that is very enthusiastic about music and has an eye for the business side of things, you could try and hire him to be your artist manager! While this is an enticing thought that can work, I am advising against it.
The big downside is that your friend like he hasn’t any industry connections and experience, two things that are crucial for your success. You won’t lose much if you try it out (except your time). If your gut tells you to “go for it,” then do it, but again, I would advise against it.
8) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Soundcloud
Sometimes in the bio description of an artist, you can find the contact information of their manager. A great place to start looking is SoundCloud. You could also try checking bios on Facebook. With a bit of luck, you may find the right manager for you.
9) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Advanced Networking
Another tactic you could use if you want to find a great artist manager is through networking. Music industry professionals are connected with each other.
Here is an example: You may know a mixing engineer that is connected with a mastering engineer who, in turn, is connected with an artist manager. Then to continue the chain of success, the artist manager could connect you with A&R manager that, in turn, would listen to your demo and bring you in contact with his record label.
10) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Instagram or Twitter
These types of social media are a great way of connecting with artist managers and other industry professionals. And not only that, but you could connect with them through someone they work with.
The way to do that is to notice who they tag in their posts. Visit their profile, find out who they are, then reach out to them.
When you do reach out, I advise you to do it sincerely, show genuine interest in them. That is the right thing to approach this. If at some point, they figure out you’re using them as a means to an end, they will likely stop communicating with you.
11) Contact an Artist Manager: Use Specialized Companies
There are three awesome companies called The Celebrity Source, Beckon Entertainment, and Starclinch. All three specialize in connecting you with the celebrity of your choice. You could book or hire a singer, artist, band, DJ, or even a makeup artist or a comedian.
Obviously, you’re interested in the music celebs. You could ask them to connect you with other industry pros, ask them to collab on one of your songs or simply book them for a private party and connect with them afterward.
Be prepared to either give a gift or a payment to the celebrity plus a fee for the company themselves. I have no indication of what the prices are, but I suspect they are rather high.
This tactic may be a bit far reached, but it could work.
QUOTE: One of the most important reasons why you need an artist manager is because of their connections and insights.
Now that we’ve talked about how to find one; let’s also talk about what an artist manager is and does.
What is an Artist Manager?
Here is a direct quote from Great Sample Resume explaining what an artist manager is:
“Artists managers, who are also called talent managers, serve as the business managers of musicians. They handle negotiations and other business affairs of an artist or band. Since the musician needs to focus all his/her attention into making music, the artist manager serves as the promoter, agent, or accountant. Artist managers also handle bookings, assist in promotions and perform production-related tasks. They ensure tours, gigs and other bookings are paid, unless otherwise agreed by the artist to perform pro bono.”
One of the most important reasons why you need an artist manager is because of their connections. Artist managers should be experts in knowing all the ins and outs of the music industry. They should also possess a combination of skills and be determined to make you (the artist) successful.
What Does an Artist Manager Do?
Something important I want to mention is that there are more types of managers than artist managers. Some of them include music business managers, road managers, personal managers, etc. We are not going to cover them in this article; instead, if you wish to find out more, please visit the @@@@ article.
Also, often, an artist manager is a jack of all trades, he may be so good in the financial, technical, and every other aspect that the artist doesn’t need to hire additional managers. However, want to artist gains recognition becomes big; they often find themselves in need of a second third or even fourth manager.
- In its core, what an artist (talent) manager does is creating opportunities for their artist. They also think of and execute strategic plans to help the artist (you) move forward with their career.
- Also, one of the most important tasks an artist manager has is to establish contact with key persons in the music industry successfully. His goal should be: “to”do the best he can so that the artists he represents advance forward.”
- An artist manager focuses on their client’s career. They negotiate to try and get the best deal possible arranges accommodations, food, and hotel stays when the artist travels out of town.
- The artist manager is often involved in the financial aspect. He keeps an eye on the contracts the artist signs also collects revenue payments, royalties, and other fees.
The artist manager also knows about marketing strategies. He uses these strategies to promote the image of the artist successfully. He goes out in the fields to discover new clients, he keeps a direct communication with music promoters, and he often visits music venues and facilities to check if everything is set up correctly.
What to Look for in an Artist Manager
There are a lot of artist managers out there. Some good some bad and some to avoid like the plague! I will list a few traits that you should look for when searching for an artist (talent) manager:
- Advanced communication skills
- Advanced negotiation skills
- Advanced public relations skills
- Leadership skills
- Team skills
- Advertising skils
- Marketing skills
- Experience and a track record
An artist manager should be able to see the potential the artist has; this is rather difficult, especially when the artist is not yet fully developed.
Also, a manager should be able to look through situations and don’t get influenced by momentary shortcomings.
A few examples include if the artist is just starting out, if the artist is too young, has a small following, or if he still hasn’t that many songs under his belt. An experienced manager will notice these things, but he will not allow them to cloud his judgment.
As I mentioned before, the artist manager should be able to look through this kind of situation and see the potentially uncut diamond the talent is.
Still, the most crucial part is that the artist manager should always have the best interest of his clients in mind. He is involved in almost everything that happens, even picking out the best headshot after a photoshoot. He may even get so involved that he will review your lyrics with you, give you tips, and point out where you went out of key while recording.
3 Types of Artist Managers to Avoid
Having a good artist or band manager is crucial; we already have explored what an artist manager does and how much they are involved in managing the talent, or at least they should be.
There are a lot of things to consider and a zillion things to watch out before hiring an artist manager, but here are three types you should DEFINITELY avoid.
1) Avoid the the “Always Busy” Artist Manager
The main way to spot this type of manager is that they never take the time for you and are not attentive and interested in hearing their talent’s needs. They are disconnected from the majority of things the talent does, showing little and sometimes no interest.
Being busy can be good.
- Being busy is a good thing; this is even more true for artist managers because that shows that they are in demand, and being in demand is usually a sign that they’re doing a good job.
- But if they have very little or sometimes zero time for you that shows that they are either A) uninterested or B) they have too much on their plate, which is again a bad thing because they don’t know their limits.
- An artist manager should be aggressively hustling for your career. This is also for the manager’s best interest because they work on commission, thus what is good for you is good for them.
This covers the first type you should watch out for, let’s continue on to type two to avoid.
2) Avoid the “I’m Just Having Fun” Artist Manager
Whether it’s not a rule the I’m having fun type of manager is usually young and has little experience. You will find them often drunk and tired because they were partying until late, but this should not be a problem if he can manage to be professional and does his job correctly.
Nevertheless, if you should be aware of these signs and keep an eye on things, definitely do some asking around before hiring.
3) Avoid the Overprotective Manager
It’s true that an artist manager should be next to you, help you make decisions, keep an eye on you and give you advice for your career, but he should not be afraid to let you take risks.
He should not limit you or try to enforce his opinion on you. He should remember that he works for you and that eventually, you will make your won decisions.
With that said, when your artist manager gives you advice, always try to keep an open mind as they probably have much more experience than you do, but are the same time filter their input and information. As I said eventually, it’s your decision.
Avoid These Mistakes When Reaching out to an Artist Manager (Or Anyone in the Music Industry)
This is what not to do when reaching out to an artist manager:
1) Don’t Cold Call an Artist Manager
Don’t cold call them out of the blue, and if you do, have a good story prepared! That said, it’s better to stick to email and social media and not too cold call anyone in the music industry because it feels like an invasion of privacy.
Now, if you got the phone number through a mutual acquaintance, it’s better to ask that person to contact the manager beforehand and tell hem to expect a phone call from you.
Even if you didn’t get their phone number from a mutual friend, you can still cold call them, but before you do, GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT.
Keep reading because we will talk in a minute about how to prepare your story and what to say when cold calling an artist manager.
2) Don’t Call an Artist Manager Unprepared
Before you call an artist manager or anyone else in the music industry, you should have done your homework. This is a crucial step!
Go online and have a look at their background, look at their collaborations, and the work they have produced. In other words, get your facts straight.
3) Don’t Contact an Artist Manager If You’re Making Zero Income
Artist managers work on commission, so if you don’t make any money, they can’t represent you, at least not the established ones.
Despite that, it is a welcoming fact that young managers might represent you for free as they don’t have many clients yet, and they are looking to grow. They might believe so much in your music that they could be willing to invest their time without getting paid.
But it helps if you’re making at least some money. You don’t have to be earning money just from album sales; instead, ticket sales, song licensing, merchandise sales, and other forms of royalties, all are great income sources.
Okay, moving on, here is what to do if you successfully want to contact an artist manager or anyone else in the music industry for that matter.
Prepare Your Story: Successfully Contact Artist Managers Using These Steps
1) Research the Artist Managers Background
I mentioned before that it’s essential to do proper background research before reaching out to a talent manager. Don’t neglect that.
Find out as much as you can about them, things such as: who they have worked with, how long they are in the biz, figure out what their past successes have been, learn even what their middle name is or how to pronounce their surname.
A background check is so important because you can sincerely flatter them saying something like: “I saw the work you did with artist X, I read an interview where he said that you helped him a lot of the start of his career and he owes much do you. That impressed me”.
Flattering someone is accepted, but only as long it’s sincere! Please keep your moral standard high and don’t go and tell them a bunch of lies just to get your foot in the door!
2) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Use Email Instead of Calling
If you have the choice between cold calling someone or emailing them choose the latter. The reason I prefer email is that when I call someone up, I don’t know what they’re doing or in what mood they are. If they are in a negative state, it can affect the outcome of the phone call. But if I send them an email, they can read it at their own convenience and think about my offer.
Also, email is more accessible because you can add a direct link to your music, your website, or any other material you want. This gives them the time to discover who you are and listen to your music.
If you can’t find their email, then cold call, but be prepared!
3) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Be Professional and Enthusiastic
You should always follow this rule no matter how you reach out. When calling, emailing, texting, or having an in-person contact, you should always be professional, polite, and enthusiastic. If you can’t get excited about your music in your career, by should anyone else be?
4) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Keep It Brief
When you are trying to connect with an artist manager, keep your message valuable and short. Again this is through for all means of communication.
Politely state your real name followed by your artist/band name, possibly where you’re from, the type of music you make, and then say why you’re calling.
If you’re looking for a manager or if you’re just looking to play at a specific show/festival, then simply say that and focus on the message. Don’t start sharing your life’s story, where you grew up, or which artist you think your sound like. Keep it down to the point.
5) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Do Mention the Music Genre You Make
Again follow the “keep it brief rule.” We quickly talked about this before, but I want to mention it again. In addition to your name and your area of residence, mention the genre you produce, write, or perform.
Show that you have taken the time to find out if this particular person has experience with that specific style of music. This is very important because you increase the chances that they get back to you.
6) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Point out Interesting Facts About You
When you’re doing your 30-second pitch, you should mention anything that stands out about you (yes, it should be music related only).
If you had a collab with an artist, they might know, mention that. You should also mention if you have had radio airplay time if you toured a lot if you sold a significant amount of CDs if you have a large following on social if you have a lot of YouTube or Spotify views, or if you played sold-out gigs. You get the point!
7) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Do Follow Up
Usually, a follow-up is a good idea. But if you see that after a couple of follow-ups either through phone or email, you get zero response, then you can be sure the manager has likely received your tracks and is not interested.
If they don’t reach back (and I really hope they will), don’t get discouraged. I know it’s easier said than done, but when facing situations like this being high-spirited is vital.
Also, don’t start thinking they didn’t hear your music because they did, especially after two or more follow-ups. If a talent manager or an A&R manager hears something they believe has potential, they WILL reach out to the artist.
Again, placing a follow up about 2-3 weeks after you contacted them is extremely important, but please don’t overdo it. Trust me; you don’t want to appear desperate.
8) When Reaching out to an Artist Manager Ask Their Permission to Mail Them
I believe not a lot of music professionals accept CDs anymore. Most of them prefer streaming links. Whatever you do, don’t send your song as an attachment when you’re emailing a talent manager. Attachments get blocked by firewalls, plus most of them won’t bother downloading them anyways.
If you decide to go old-fashioned and send CDs through the mail, try asking for their permission before sending it, this will also benefit you because if they accept, they now are looking out for incoming mail from you.
Lastly, if you want to send a CD to an artist manager who you don’t know (let’s say using the Gratis Artist Manager Contact List you can sign up for in this article) and don’t want to ask for permission to do so beforehand. In that case, I would discard the CD idea and send my demo through email.
I say this because I know that the majority will not accept unsolicited CD submissions, but they are more relaxed with unsolicited email submissions. Try to understand that unsolicited equals spam, therefore only send your best work that you believe has potential.
How Much Does an Artist Manager Earn?
We already saw that an artist manager works on commission, meaning they get a cut off your profits. An artist manager gets a commission on advances paid by the label, he also gets a cut from royalties but has to wait until the artist has recouped.
I want to point out something essential. You should remember is that an artist manager gets his percentage based on the gross and not the NET income.
- This means that you should pay your artist manager the percentage they’re owed before expenses (and taxes) and not after.
Let’s say you are touring for a month, and your gross income is $4000 the artist manager should get about 15%, depending on the contract; In our case, 15% amounts to about $600, and you will be left with $3400.
Now let’s imagine that the total costs of the tour and your expenses are $3000, subtract that from the $3400, and you’ll be left with a NET income of $400. In this example, the manager made more than you.
Touring Is Not Only About Making Money
Touring is not only about making money. Touring is also about exposure, connecting with your fans, selling merchandise, and building relationships with other artists.
That said, when you’re on tour, you should try to negotiate a good price (or let your manager do that ) and limit your expenses.
You, as an artist, should always track your expenses and deduct your artist management (and or your bookings agents) commission out of every payment you receive.
The Typical Rate of an Artist Manager
The typical rate of an artist manager is between 15% and 20% of the gross income. Some managers, however, work with a variable rate.
With an artist manager, you could strike a deal for 10% when your income is $100,000 or lower, then 15% when you’re making half a million dollars and 20% for everything higher than that. If you’re just starting out your career, these numbers may seem astronomical to you (and to some extent, they are).
But you can achieve this kind of numbers faster than you think. Here is a short example.
Learn how You Can Make $100.000 Per Year
To make $100.000 a year, you only need 1000 true fans. Let’s say you have 1000 people, 1000 true fans that follow you and invest in your merch, buy your CD’s, come to your shows, and listen to your music on Spotify.
If you can get each fan to buy one CD and one T-shirt per year plus if you can get them to come to a couple of your live shows, you will receive about $100 in total.
To break it down, even more, $100 per fan per year is $8.3 per month!
Now, multiply the $100 x 1000 fans, and you’ll get $100.000 gross or about $8.300 per month. Not bad, huh?
You see, all you need is 1000 true fans who are willing to invest in you about $100 per year. That is certainly doable!
Don’t Overpay Your Artist Manager
I left this part for the end because it’s one of the most important skills to master that will help you when you’re dealing with your artist manager. The skill is learning the art of negotiation.
I told you before that the norm is for a manager to get a percentage of your gross income, but is that the only way?
Sometimes an artist manager may agree on a standard monthly wage, this is something that doesn’t happen very often, but it is possible.
We already saw that most of the time, artist managers get between 15 and 20%.
And they tend to lean towards 20%, especially for new artists. This is because new artists require much more work upfront. If an artist manager agrees to work with you while you’re making little or zero money, he will want to get a bigger paycheck once the money starts pouring in!
For your own benefit, I want to mention again that whatever you agree to pay for an artist manager, that payment always comes from your gross income. Thus before all deductions such as personal costs, taxes, social security fees etc.
How NET Commissions Work
However, there are some examples where the manager agrees to receive his commission out of the NET income. But these are exceptions to the rule.
This is how NET commission works: the manager will get his commission on the money that is left after all deductions. And if the costs are equal or greater to the revenue generated, your manager will not get paid. Neither will you.
Your manager may or may not receive a commission on all your income. It depends on how they helped generate that income.
Let’s say that an artist manager helped you get a songwriting deal but did nothing about your DJ deals. Then they should only get a commission from the deal they helped realize.
This is true for all situations.
But to be able to pull this one off, you must be clear from the start on what the tasks of your manager are and what income they can expect from you.
The Income Your Artist Manager Should NOT Get
As I mentioned before, everything is negotiable. However, there are certain sources of income your artist manager should not get.
When you receive income as let’s say an opening act. Or when you receive income from music production or other activities the label pays you to do such as recording or mixing, then your artist manager should not get a cut from that income.
The rule is that if they didn’t help, they should not get paid since these jobs came from the label. The manager had nothing to do with setting them up.
Now that we covered how to negotiate with an artist manager, please remember that if they do the job correctly, they are absolutely entitled to good payment.
Reward their results and be grateful that you can focus on what you’re good at, such as writing songs producing or performing. Give them what they’re entitled to, but no more. In other words, be grateful and be smart. 🙂
How to Get on Spotify Playlists and Get Organic Plays
At the beginning of this article, I promised to show you how to get on Spotify playlists and get organic plays. This is me keeping my promise!
This is what you should do to get more plays on Spotify:
A) Directly Pitch Your Music to Spotify Through Spotify for Artists
This is how Spotify describes their Spotify for artists service:
“Spotify for artists provides artists and their teams with audience stats and tools for promoting the music and managing the profile Spotify. You also become a verified artist, so your profile on Spotify gets a blue-verification checkmark.”
Note: The above text is quoted from Spotify’s website.
Keep in mind that you can only pitch music that hasn’t been released before.
B) Pitch Your Music to Independent Curators
We already talked about independent curators.
But in case you missed it: Independent curators manage independently curated playlists. These are playlists that are not created by Spotify.
There are literally thousands of independent viral playlists; getting on them can massively increase your plays. The more playlists you submit your music to, the more streams you will likely get!
C) Get on Spotify’s Discover Weekly and Release Radar
Discover weekly and release radar feature unique playlists that are created by Spotify’s algorithm. When someone follows your profile, your newly released music will automatically get on their release radar. It’s that simple!
Spotify’s director of artists and management has revealed that release radar generates more streams than any of Spotify’s self-created playlists!
When I heard this, my mind was blown! I then thought of a clever tactic INDIE artists can use to get more organic plays!
Learn My My Get More Plays on Spotify Strategy
Okay, here is the short version of my get more plays on Spotify strategy.
- Finish a song and release it
- Contact as many Spotify Independent curators (at least 150-200) to get your song featured on their high volume playlists.
- When listeners subscribe to you, once new music is released, it will automatically be added to their personal Release Radar!
- Then listeners will see your new music and conceivably proceed to listen to it! Bringing you more plays more exposure and more money!
That’s it, you done it! You read everything! I must say I am very proud of you for taking the time to invest in your future! Bravo! 🙂 🙂
I have not much left to say, only that I hope you found this (very long) guide helpful and eye-opening!