Finding music management agencies that want to work with your band is not only exhausting, it usually doesn’t pay off in the long run. Music management agencies that openly accept submissions from potential clients are often new and inexperienced. Music management agencies that actually charge money to review submissions are scam artists or “song sharks.” In most cases, you’re better off training someone that you already trust to take on your management duties instead of signing a deal with either of these types of music management agencies.
Music management agencies work most effectively when they leverage their entire roster to the benefit of the group as a whole. At most music management agencies, the top twenty percent of the artists on a roster effectively cover the expenses for the entire agency. The remaining eighty percent of an agency’s clients are known as “developmental clients.” A sharp manager will often require journalists or radio stations to provide coverage for a developmental client in exchange for access to one of the agencies established stars.
Larger music management agencies can provide some degree of stability for an artist, especially in a field where staff turnover can be extremely high. Especially in large music markets like Los Angeles and Nashville, music managers might rotate through different agencies on the way to other jobs at record labels and entertainment conglomerates. Artists should get to know many of the managers on staff at an agency, since they could be assigned to an artist at any time.
Finally, it’s important to remember the distinction between music managers and booking agents. Even though we use the phrase “music management agencies” in casual conversation, a music booking agency is the entity responsible for procuring work for an artist. In fact, New York and other states have banned the practice of managers serving double-duty as booking agents. It’s almost always essential to develop a relationship with a booking agency before seeking out a professional music management agency.
Learn more about music management contracts in the free sample chapters of my book, Music Management for the Rest of Us.
Joe Taylor Jr.