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A Guide To Management In The Music Industry

Monika Ilieva is the co-founder/CEO of Cafe De Anatolia (Record Label & Artists Management Agency & Media News Agency).

The music industry is a vast and complex landscape, with many different moving parts. At the heart of it all is the music itself, but there are also the managers who help to guide artists’ careers, the labels that release and promote their music, and the live venues and promoters who stage their concerts. All these different elements come together to create an ecosystem in which each player has a role to play. And while there can be conflict and competition between those different players, they ultimately share a common goal: to make great music and get it out into the world.

In recent years, we’ve seen a number of changes in how the music industry works. The rise of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music has upended traditional models of how music is consumed and distributed. And while this has created new opportunities for artists, it has also made it more difficult for them to earn a living from their work. This has put even more pressure on managers to help their clients find success in an increasingly challenging environment. But at the same time, it’s given managers more power than ever before when it comes to shaping artists’ careers.

In this article, I explore the role of management in the music industry and how their decisions can make or break an artist’s career. If you are planning to enter this industry in a managerial role, know that these roles can be demanding; however, a good manager can also be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle on an artist’s road to success.

The Different Types Of Management In The Music Industry

Managers play an important role in helping their clients make decisions about their careers. They offer advice on what opportunities to take and which ones to pass on. They also help negotiate contracts and manage finances. In some cases, managers may even be involved in the creative process, offering suggestions on how a song should be arranged or what type of image an artist should project.

There are a number of management roles that exist in the music industry, and each has their own type of impact on decision-making.

• Label Executives: These are responsible for the business side of a music company, making decisions about what type of music to release and how to market it. In this role, you would also negotiate contracts with artists and other businesses.

• Artist and Repertoire (A&R) Executives: Those in this role are responsible for finding new talent and developing the careers of existing artists. You make decisions about which artists to sign and what types of material they should record.

• Product Managers: These oversee the production process for albums and other releases, ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget. They also work with marketing teams to devise strategies for promoting products.

• Radio Promoters: Promoters work to get songs played on radio stations, often by paying or offering other forms of persuasion. You can have a significant impact on an artist’s career if you are successful in getting their records played.

• Tour Managers: A tour manager coordinates all aspects of an artist’s live performances, including booking venues, hiring staff and handling logistics. They play a vital role in ensuring that concerts run smoothly and safely. Tour management can be one of the most important and hands-on types of management in the music industry, as it brings artists in direct contact with their fans. If you want to become a tour manager, focus on making horizontal and vertical connections with people who work in all aspects of the industry. I recommend that as you start out, you focus less on money and more on increasing your value and connections.

How To Be An Effective Manager

Every artist is a brand in his or her own right. This brand needs to be carefully managed and curated for it to come to fruition and become a global sensation. With that in mind, here are some of the core skills and job expectations you should develop to be an effective manager.

Connections: A manager should be able to provide social and professional connections and contacts that can translate into professional relationships and a larger audience for the artist as they advance their career.

Feedback: Managers should give candid and honest feedback and help artists brainstorm decisions and the growth arcs of their careers. This doesn’t mean that artists cannot chart out their own path and grow independently, but being able to have a second opinion that is based on facts and industry experience is a valuable thing for a budding artist.

• Arbitration: Managers can act as arbitrators in a team of artists. For example, in a band of musicians, a manager can help settle disagreements and keep the team in sync for their performances.

Hiring a skilled music manager is one of the most sound investments that artists can make, but the timing of the hiring, and what kind of management is sought by the artist, also matters. An artist may not need a professional music manager at the very early stages of their career because they may be able to develop their own name better alone—so be aware, if you are coming in at a later point in their career, that your services may cause financial losses without a solid return on investment. But if you provide value as a strong source of connections, feedback and arbitration, your partnership with the artist can be successful and lead to greater financial returns down the road.


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