After years of spending weekends in smoky taverns and vast concert halls, you've decided to get in on the action; but you don't want to play the music---you want to manage the talent behind it. Anyone can claim to be a band manager, but not everyone understands the work and experience it takes to be a qualified band manager. In order to manage a band professionally, you must first acquire the experience and skills it takes to do your job well.
While there is no degree required to be a band manager, some education would be wise considering the depth of legal issues that will arise when managing. An education also will help you understand what is required of a band manager, what to look for in an artist before you decide to work with them and the politics of the music industry. If you can't find a school that teaches band management, courses about the music business will teach you what you need to know.
To operate a business in the U.S., a business license is required. You do not need a specific license or any certification to manage a band, but operating legally as a business gives you some legitimacy among your peers and future clients. With a business license, you will be able to legally hire employees, lease office space and apply for a seller's permit when you and your artists begin selling merchandise at shows.
Knowing the politics and legal issues of the music industry is absolutely essential when managing a band. Without this knowledge, you will not be able to offer the career advice you have been hired to give. To gain this knowledge and experience, find a successful band manager and work for him or volunteer your time. Even simple tasks, like filing, will allow you to gain valuable insight into the music industry.
In the music business, a common belief is "it's all about who you know." That's not far from the truth. A good band manager will have relationships with music industry professionals such as record company executives, entertainment lawyers, publicists, booking agents and concert promoters. While gaining these contacts might take time, it is not impossible. Internships at record companies or working at a local venue will help you meet the contacts you need to succeed in becoming a band manager.
A band manager is the liaison between the artist and everyone else, so certain personality characteristics are needed. Working with record companies and promoters can be frustrating and stressful, and therefore requires strong character. But a likable personality is also needed. A band manager works closely with fans and maintains his clients' public rapport. A harsh or abrasive personality could potentially lose fans or contracts.
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