Sometimes you only realize what you know, if someone asks the right question. It happened to me last week, when one of the participants of my workshop D.I.Y. mentality asked me how to select the right manager. He’s made serious progress with his band after the workshop and is recently approached by various managers. Within a split second I mentioned 6 criteria, and thought of the last one (number 2 in the list) after consulting with my partner. I like to share it with you too. Here they are:
1. Personal match
It’s important that you and your manager understand each other, that there is a personal match. Misunderstandings are quite common, the best way to avoid them is a personal match between you and your manager. It works best, if your manager shares your ideals.
2. Life and art
Just as you can’t separate your life from your art, your manager will have an impact on your life as well. Be sure that it’s a person who can deal with it. The manager should be able to solve problems within the band and to lead you when success arrives, when you are ‘bitten by the serpent of fame’.
Everyone knows stories of artists being ripped off by managers. That’s why transparency is so important. Right from the beginning it should be clear what the tasks of the manager are, who’s dealing with the money and how you can stay in control of everything.
4. Keep it clear
Part of the tasks of a manager should be, to kick the other members of the team in the ass if they don’t perform properly. That includes the agent (like me), the PR people, the label. That’s why I would advise to keep the tasks separated, the manager will hardly kick his own ass when performing badly in other tasks.
Look at the connections that your manager has, both in the life and the recorded music business. Is this manager the right person to bring you to where you want to be in three years, to introduce you to the right people?
What bands has the manager worked for in the past? What kind of music? What circuit is he working with, theaters or pop venues? Be as specific as possible.
If you know what artists your future manager has worked for in the past, don’t feel shy to ask them. They can tell you if they are satisfied, what they struggled with and how the manager helped them. Keep in mind that your situation is different and make up your own mind.
If you are starting as band, don’t hesitate to give your friend a chance to develop him/herself as your manager ad to grow with you. You can use the points above as guidance in the development too. Have I forgotten something? Please feel free to leave a comment.