How to find a Music Manager

“How do I find a music manager? How do I find a booking agent? I just need to find someone to get my music to the next level.” I’ve heard these questions and statements before, and fifteen or so years ago I sounded exactly like this. As it turns out, I wound up on the industry side of the fence and traded in the crowded, smelly van for a record company desk job – but I do have some answers for you.

Let’s start at the very beginning – do you have anything to manage?

I know – sounds like a stupid question, but is it? I’m not asking you if you have lots of work that you could use help with, nor am I making light of the pure volume of work involved in the creation of both recorded and live music. What I am asking is, “Do you have something ready to bring to market that needs managing or are you still building your product?”

There is no shame (I repeat) NO SHAME in being in the developmental phases of your career. We live in an instant gratification kind of world, which is why I know statistically that a majority of people won’t have made it this far into this article because they’re looking for a “get famous now” button. But my sincere advice is to take your time and develop your product – this will help you rise above the MILLIONS of people who went out to Guitar Center last week, purchased an instrument and recording gear, and had the first song they ever wrote up on MySpace the next day hoping for some kind of miracle that won’t ever come.

But back to management… let’s talk about what you should have together before even considering approaching someone to invest in your career. Notice I said “invest,” because whether or not they spend a dime on you, management is an enormous expenditure of someone’s time and efforts.

Before approaching anyone to manage you, have most of these together:
– No apology recordings of your music.
– Professional looking photos of you or your group.
– A basic, easily findable website (custom URL) you can update yourself.
– A mailing list and a place where people can sign up on said list.
– A social network presence (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube).
– Live performance footage (preferably in front of a crowd).
– A well-written bio highlighting your accomplishments.

These are the building blocks and marketing materials you will use over and over and over again. There are no words, no email sales pitch, and probably not even naked photos of a music executive in compromising positions that will get you taken more seriously than having the items above in place. Some of these items can get pricey, so do your homework and shop around if you feel that any of these items are best done by work for hire. Having these materials will get your more gigs, will get you taken more seriously by your peers and potential fans, and ultimately (if you have a product people want) will help you build a business in music.

“Okay – wait – isn’t this super basic? Does he think we are Idiots?”

No, absolutely not. But I can tell you that statistically aspiring musicians are looking at the wrong things to get ahead. Check out what people search for online for music related terms according to a Google AdWords query in June 2010:

Term: Global Monthly Searches:
“Get My Music Heard Online” – 10
“Get more people to my shows” – 10
“Make a Living In Music” – 46
“Marketing My Music” – 110
“Get a Music Manager” – 590
“How to Get A Record Deal” – 18,100

Draw your own conclusions but I think too many people are looking for a shortcut to fame that, barring an act of God or Justin Bieber, just doesn’t exist.

Rick Goetz is a music consultant and musician coach by way of a fifteen year career at major record labels and various online and television projects.

Original Post:

Caribbean Cultural Conference 2010

The Caribbean Cultural Conference is an annual event designed to bring together entertainment industry stakeholders to explore, examine the obstacles confronting the advancement of the Caribbean entertainment industry.
Through dialogue among industry players, the CCC seeks to bring to the fore, strategies that will positively affect issues related to production, management, intellectual property, distribution and marketing of the Caribbean entertainment product.
The Caribbean Cultural Conference is produced by the Caribbean American Cultural Caucus Inc.

Artist Management by Michelle Arthurton

Michelle Arthurton - President of E2 Recordings

In the Caribbean Music Industry when it comes to artist’s management we tend to see people assume this position, as the head cook and bottle washer.  These same individuals also tend to conduct the business as business asusual.  In this day and age we see that those same artist’s who still insist on having this type of operation have been left to the back of the bus.  It is simple, today’s business asusual does not cut it. In many of my conversations with respect to the above it always comes around to these questions:

What is an artist manager?  What are the key qualities of an effective artist manager? How do I become an artist manager?

(a)  An artist manager is one who is in charge of running the business or personal side of an artist’s career, so that the artist is free to focus on creating music.

As stated above many Caribbean artist’s do have managers who assumes different duties, may it be agent, promoter, accountant, creativity manager etc. One finds this with artist’s who are either signed to small labels or unsigned.  Wherein, artist’s who are signed to a major label will tend to be in a supervisory position.  This person will now make sure that the label is doing what they are supposed to be doing when it comes to his/her artist, such as advertising, promotion, tours and payment to the artist.

(b) Is your manager getting things done for you? What exactly should he/she be getting done? The manager is responsible for financial planning, long term career plans, publicity marketing, and advertising.  When an artist is starting out the manger becomes his/her baby sitter, cheerleader, parent, guide, advisor, psychiatrist, problem solver, protector (to protect you from the sharks and be your bug repellent so that the entourage does not suck the blood from you leaving you penniless)

All in all your manager should be your confidant.  A good manager should be passionate about what you the artist is doing. He/she should advertise, publicize, and market you well.

(c) Steps that one would have to undertake to successfully prepare for a career as an artist’s manager – First and foremost is to educate oneself.  If one cannot afford the education of a college/university, I say learn from the best, pick the brains of the best.  Find that mentor, research the internet, look around in the industry, check the track records of managers and artists who are successful.

Become knowledgeable of the business, read, read, read.  Read entertainment journals.  Read current news, these are available on the internet, libraries, newspapers, it is here you will get an understanding of what is going on. Next, go to your local book stores pick up books on the music industry, read from authors who are managers, artists, producers, booking agents and listen to interviews.  Acquaint yourself with this type of literature learn and read from people who have been there and done that, as well as people who are presently there.

Again, I cannot stress the importance of finding a mentor.  When you have found this person, ask, ask, ask questions. Lastly, try to find a job with a team or become an intern.  Go in there and learn and work your butt off as if you own that firm/company.  When you have developed and proved yourself to the team it would not hurt to go to clubs, concerts, and showcases to try and scout talent/artist  for your firm or yourself.

Copyright: Protecting Your Songs

(Life +70 or 95 Years)

Copyright means the protection given by the laws of the U.S., as well as many other countries of the world, to the original works that a writer creates.

The works can be songs, or underscore to films and television programs, or symphonic or electronic pieces, or advertising jingles or any other original creation of music, lyrics or both.

The Copyright Law gives to the copyright owner (the writer, publisher, etc.) of a work, a number of exclusive rights which are good for a specific number of years. The law also puts certain limits on those rights. The exclusive rights include the right to produce a work in copies and records; the right to prepare derivative works; the right to distribute copies of the work; the right to perform the work; the right to display the work; and most recently, a limited performance right in sound recordings digitally transmitted.

In late 1998, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which changed the 1976 Copyright Act by significantly increasing the length of time a song remains under copyright protection. Different rules though apply for songs written prior to January 1, 1978 and those written on or after that date.

For compositions written on or after January 1, 1978, the basic term of protection is the life of the writer plus 70 years. For example, if two 20 year old writers wrote a song in 2005, and one lives to be 50 and the other lives to be 100, the copyright protection for that song would last for 150 years from its creation. In this case, the protection would last from the time the song was written through the life of the last living writer (i.e. 100 years minus 20 = 80 years) plus an additional 70 years.

For compositions written prior to January 1, 1978, and which were still under copyright protection as of the time the Term Extension Act was passed, an additional 20 years of protection was added to the old law’s terms. As the total number of years of protection for most pre-1978 songs under the 1976 law was 75 years (28 original years + 28 renewal years and a 19 year extension), the term of protection for these works has been extended to a total of 95 years from the original date of copyright.

As to “works made for hire” written on or after 1/1/78 (many compositions written for film and television fall into this category), the new law’s term of copyright protection is 120 years from creation or 95 years from first publication, whichever expires first.

Copyright Office forms and information circulars are available from:

Register of Copyrights
Copyright Office
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C 20559-6000
(202) 707-6787
Fees for
Basic: $45
Online: $35

The above copyright discussion is meant to provide only an overview of some of the basics of Copyright, as there are many variables and considerations in any situation. The copyright laws, both in the U.S. as well as in other countries, are very complex and attorneys well versed in copyright should always be consulted on individual problems or inquiries.

© 2008 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec