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Managers – Can’t Live With Them…But Can You Live Without Them?

You can’t throw a rock in any metropolis on Earth without hitting someone claiming to be a manager. Where musicians go, managers follow. This is as accepted and expected in the entertainment industry as an out-of-control cocaine habit or not paying taxes. When you tell people you’re a musician, one of the first things they ask you is: Do you have a manager? However, people in the music industry can ask an even more precise question: Do you have a good manager?

“What is the difference?” you can ask Isn’t any manager better than no manager? While the answer to this question seems to be a resounding “yes,” it’s actually a bit like asking, “Isn’t it better to have a girlfriend who’s a herpes-ridden prostitute than to be single?” In fact, poor representation is far worse than no representation at all. Although the fact is that there are things your band will probably never achieve with a manager, agent, entertainment lawyer, etc. without your help, bad representation can stagnate your career… superstar, or worse… undo some of the hard work the band has already done.

It’s sad, but true, that a bad manager can take a perfectly good band and turn it into something so ugly that old gypsy women with rags covering their faces spit and look down on the band when you walk by. Okay, this might be a little dramatic, but seriously… your band only has a name and a reputation, so why risk any of that by putting your entire band in someone’s hands. Are you not 100% sure that your interest is at stake?

Here are some tips to help you decipher whether your manager can take you to the top or bring your band down:

1.) The drummer’s girlfriend isn’t a manager— Sure, she might get names on your mailing list, invite her girls’ beach volleyball team to all your gigs, and post your latest pictures in your website’s photo gallery, but she’s not really your manager. He’s a sidekick, he might be the president of your fan club, the leader of your street team, and the sexiest roadie alive, but he probably doesn’t know how to put together a press kit and make a call that gets you into an A&R. for a representative meeting. This includes boyfriends, wives, husbands, booty calls, one-night stands, moms, dads, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, nieces, nephews, grandparents, grandchildren, pets, and the homeless guy rooting around in your trash at midnight. . These people may all be well-intentioned, and there are dozens of ways you can accept their help (it takes a village to build a popular, unsigned band), but don’t give them label or managerial authority.

2.) Respect your fans, but don’t let them manage you — This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many overzealous, slightly obsessed fans go from semi-star to mega-manager in mere weeks. I can’t stress how wrong this whole concept is for two dozen main reasons, the most important of which is keeping the fans out. There’s a reason why the same person comes to all your shows, no matter how many you play, gets there early, sits in the front seemingly paralyzed, and is ecstatic to be the headliner. Either they’re in love with someone in the band or they’re crazy. These may be grounds for issuing a restraining order, but certainly not for making someone your manager. The band manager knows every secret of every musician, every person in every member’s personal life, where you keep your money, where you live, and who is in your fan/contact database. That’s not information you want on someone who has 450 cutouts of you in their bedroom. Have you said enough?

3.) Don’t sign a contract unless it’s worth it — A manager is like management. That’s why they elect managers, not people who macrame the walls with pony manes. So most managers will try to get you to sign the contract. In entertainment, contracts are like marriage certificates… before you sign, make sure your band is committed to the same person for a long time (one year, two years, five years, etc.) because it’s easier to get in than out. For example, if you sign a contract with an efficient but slightly green manager who does everything he can to get the most out of the few resources at his disposal, then Gwen Stefani’s management team approaches you after a big concert. and wants to tour with John Mayer. What do you think if you say to them, “We love the tour, but we’ve got someone under contract for the next five years, so can you hit us?” is the offer still valid? Not too much. So if you have to sign contracts, keep them short and make sure you give yourself room to act, think, play and communicate with others without getting permission from the band leader (manager). And it should have an exit clause. Read on.

4.) Sometimes Bigger Is Not Better — While it’s a huge ego boost to brag to other musicians backstage at the Whiskey A Go-Go that your manager is working with Grammy winners and selling out stadiums, sometimes an unsigned band can get lost in a huge management company. While Mr. Big Stud Manager is busy picking out Madonna’s outfit for the American Music Awards, he might forget to ask Quincy Jones to attend the bassist’s birthday gig at Billy-Bob Wang’s Tofu BBQ Shack. The problem with great managers is that they often focus on the activities that make up 15% of their $100 million a year. 15% of your $45.75 a year after expenses is probably not your highest priority right now or ever, and what good are your super amazing industry connections if you can’t even think to invite them to your gigs?

A manager is a great thing, but only if he does more for the band than the band members and assistants put together can do for themselves. If you can find someone who can open doors, take your musical spots where it won’t go any further, and have your best intentions at heart, then grab the contract, sign it, and reap the benefits. If you don’t, you may be tricked, stalked, ignored, and/or legally bound by someone who puts their own agenda (well-intentioned or otherwise) and their own ego above what’s right for you. And whatever you do, don’t sit there and wait for Mr./Ms. The right to sweep your band off their feet and take them to Fairyland on a white horse where everyone gets a record deal. You as members know better than anyone how to do what works for your band and nothing will attract the perfect managers faster than seeing the musicians out there doing their thing and in a very difficult business a great they move forward as a team. attitude and fantastic music.

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