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How to Be a Singer's Manager

Updated March 17, 2017

Manage a great singer, and you can rise to the top of the music industry. Managers have to wear a lot of hats: mentor, babysitter, artistic guide, businessperson, marketing expert and champion of the under-appreciated. While some schools train entertainment managers, you can't adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Managing is about forming a relationship with a singer that allows you to understand his needs while guiding him to fill the market's needs. The good news: one great artist can make your career.

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  1. Visit your local music clubs. Start evaluating singers, and you'll soon develop an ear for what you consider to be star quality. Take your time and listen to many different singers. Go back and listen to the outstanding ones two or three times before you approach them about managing their careers.

  2. Make an artist plan for each singer. Write down what genre you consider her to be, who the audience is for that genre and how she would fit in or stand out among current artists. List some steps you would take to get her to the next level.

  3. Approach your first artist. Offer them your business card. Explain that you are interested in talking about how to further his career. Don't talk about yourself; talk about them and your vision for what he can become. With a short track record, you have to rely on your musical instincts, work ethic and salesmanship to attract the attention of an up-and-coming artist.

  4. Sign a management contract with the artist. Many online legal form companies offer artist management contracts you can use. Just download the form and fill in the blanks, such as the artist's name, the date, your name and the percentage you will be paid as manager. Ask for 15 to 20 per cent of the artist's income from all music-related sources. This is a reasonable rate and is recognised as the norm in the industry.

  5. Build a team. You will be anxious to prove to your artist that she made the right decision in using you as their manager, but don't try to be a superhero. Build a team of people that includes a booking agent, producer, music director, equipment managers and support personnel. Like you, these people will have to work for free at first; sell them on the idea that they are getting in on the ground floor of a great artist's career, and assure them that their loyalty will be rewarded.

  6. Measure your progress. Set goals, such as playing progressively larger venues, making a recording or marketing songs on the Internet. Having such goals and meeting them will let your artist know that you are on the job and being effective.

  7. Tip

    Don't cater to a self-indulgent artist. If your artist makes unreasonable demands, offer to void the contract and find a more cooperative artist.

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Things You'll Need

  • Business cards
  • Management contract

About the Author

Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.

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