If you fancy the idea of becoming a band manager or are a band looking for management then it’s a good to have a clear idea of exactly what’s involved. So what does a band manager do? In simple terms, everything – and for free. For the first year or so anyway.
In the early days of their career, an artist is likely to be extremely naive about the industry, have little experience and very few contacts. It’s your job to guide and nurture their careers, help them to develop a unique image and start to build the right team around them. It’s going to involve a lot of hard work, time and expense in the early days in the hope that it will pay off later.
On of the main aspects of being a band manager is knowing how to handle differing and sometimes clashing personalities within a band. It’s not easy keeping everything harmonious but having everything properly organised will go some way towards helping this. Make sure that the band are writing and rehearsing regularly and that everyone is pulling their weight.
Before a band venture out into the world, you’ll need to ensure that they have grabbed their domain name and social media profiles so that they cannot be snapped up by anyone else. If the .com domain and social url’s are not available then I would strongly urge you to rethink the band’s name as it will assist with marketing further down the line and avoid any potential tricky situations whereby a band name has to be changed later. Start to grow their online presence even if their followers are just friends and family at this stage – they’ll need a logo design and a few basic images to get started.
Once the groundwork is done you’ll need to start looking at booking gigs so that they can start growing their fanbase and hone their live performance skills. Go to watch a couple of rehearsals and offer pointers on how they can improve their stage performance. Videoing the rehearsal (phone capture is fine) and watching it back together is a good way of achieving this. Often the manager will be the roadie in the early days of a bands career, to ensure that they get to gigs on time, that no equipment is forgotten and to man the merchandise table and take email addresses for the fan mailing list.
At the stage where a band is ready to start releasing music, you’ll need to start looking at setting up recording sessions, video shoots, photographic shoots plus they may need some style advice if the image is not coming together. Use local studios, friends, art students and whoever you can call in favours from locally to keep costs down at this stage (or check out some of our online services, designed for bands on a tight budget).
Although it is possible to distribute and promote independently, unless you have a lot of industry experience and contacts it’s likely that you’ll want to get help from a record label, publishing company and promotional teams at this stage to help take your band to the next level and to ensure that any legal issues are addressed. If you do decide to self-release and promote then check out some of our tips on distribution, marketing and finding additional income streams from music.
Good managers are hard to find but can often end up becoming an integral part of a band. It’s normal for a manager to take a 20% cut of earnings for their role in a band’s development.