Posted tagged ‘manager’

So What Exactly Is A Manager?

November 1, 2010

So I posted this on our Twitter feed last week and think it’s also worth posting here. Uber successful artist, Josh Ritter, decided to do an interview with his manager and stick it on his blog:   Making a Life in Music, Vol. 4: “What the Hell a Manager Does”. I love when other artists decide to share their knowledge with so I have much respect for you, Josh!

The blog is a challenging piece on what a manager does, how an artist works with a manager, and all the things you should be doing to find yourself in a healthy relationship with someone who assumes that role.  The interview includes a quick recap of Ritter’s beginnings through the eyes of his manager, friend, and dorm buddy, Darius Zelkha. It also addresses all the questions you’ve ever had, and all the questions you never thought of.  I read it word-for-word last Friday and loved it!  Thanks to Jon S. Patton of the group Midway Fair for the Grassrootsy recommendation.

The Process of Publicity

July 12, 2010

Given last week’s post on booking, publicity, and being managed, I thought I’d put down some additional thoughts on publicity…since i think it happens to be the biggest piece of the puzzle.  Like I’ve always said, you can be the best musician in the world, but if nobody knows, it won’t do you any good.

Local Publicity
Need a place to start? This is a good place. You can’t climb a mountain overnight. Many times newbie artist try to score huge opportunities (i.e. major record deals, large-scale interviews, and opening opportunities for big-name artists).  No shame in that; but remember, it really helps to build your resume. So go local. Play out as much as you can in local venues and coffee shops. Pitch yourself for write-ups in local papers whenever you have something notable on the horizon (i.e. CD Release or major event). Your local press will appreciate the fact that you’re not spamming them about “nothing”.  See How to Score Reviews of Your CD for tips on how to pitch yourself to media.

Online Presence
This is the most important part of your publicity!  Take care of it and do it well. Post videos, tweet, update your status, update your website, communicate with your “followers” and “fans”, be timely, don’t spam, don’t underestimate the power of suggestion. At the very least, 25% of the blogs on this site focus on social networking and online presence. I highly recommend reading “An Interview with Allison Weiss” for her  solid advice on shameless self-promotion via social media. It’s good readin’.

Tackling the Big Dogs
We’re not all Justin Bieber. Realistically, very few people will post a song on YouTube and get discovered, so this step will come much later in the process. Years later, actually.  Once you’ve built up a resume, been around the block a few times, gotten some substantial reviews, and traveled a bit, you might want to start reaching out to bigger networks, stations, and publications for coverage. At this point in the game, it might be worth investing in someone (a publicist) who already has established relationships with these folks. More on hiring help:
Who Do You Need the Most: Publicist, Booking Agent, Manager?

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Who Do You Need the Most: Publicist, Booking Agent, Manager?

July 5, 2010

Ok, the reality is that most artist don’t have the funds to hire help…let alone provide for yourself. At the same time, maybe if you had someone helping you, it would kick things up a notch and be a win-win situation for all.  So lets, break it down and figure out who you would benefit from if you did have the funds.

Publicist
Publicists create demand. They create publicity.  In very plain english, they make you “public”.  So lets say you have little or no fanbase…or maybe you need help breaking into a new market. This is who you need. Before you can start making moves, you need to create demand. Make sure you and your music are seen as a valuable asset to an event, an establishment, a venue.

Publicists also receive media inquires…if a magazine wants to interview you or website asks to review your CD.

Booking Agent
A booking agent will come in handy at the very early stages of your career or at the much later stages. I would argue that you should book your own shows for as long as you can. Become familiar with your city and metro area, decide what type of venues best fit your personality and music, take it upon yourself to learn your music scene.

If you’d rather have someone book shows for you, you might want to give them a percentage of your incoming instead of a fixed amount. It guarantees that you always leave with something. And it will drive your agent to book quality shows for you instead of just anything. If you’d like to wait till later, booking agents really do come handy when you’ve built a name, begin touring, and need help finding the best venues in other cities.

Remember, a good booking agent can have connections with some of the best venues in any given city, but if there’s no demand (publicist), it won’t do you any good.

Manager
This person is an extension of you. They hold your name/image/presence in the palm of their hands. They represent you in every way. They can handle all incoming music-related emails, handle your gig fee, order T-shirts for your band, website maintenance, and do all the things you hate to do. A manager can take care of every last detail to the point where you just show up and play the gig (though I don’t recommend this). A manager can take care of the above responsibilities – booking and publicity.

You
Honestly, if you can’t afford to bring someone on, do your best to be all three.
If you’re in a band, assign a responsibility to each band member. Booking might require two band members. If you’re solo, then come up with some routine that helps you keep it all in order (i know that’s hard).

Remember that you have as much control as you want.  You can hire a manager, publicist, or booking agent, but you can also determine how much control they have. After all, they’re being contracted by YOU.

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