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How to be your own artist manager

How to be your own artist manager

By Grégoire Michelin
28 September, 2022

We covered in another article how you could get the right artist manager to push your project to new heights. Although good management can be an asset for your music, at a smaller scale it will usually be tough to sign with a good agency; so what do you do in the meantime?

In this article we’ll cover how you can manage your own project independent of its scale. Wether you have just recently launched your project or you have made the choice to self-manage your music on the long term, check out the following tips and tricks to push your career to the next level.

What does an artist manager do that you can do for yourself?

A manager’s role is to alleviate daily and long term tasks related to the development of an artist’s career in order to allow said artist to focus on his craft. These tasks include but are not always limited to :

  • Acting as a spokesperson for the artist when dealing with labels, bookers, agencies and more.
  • Promoting an artist’s music through a variety of channels and platforms.
  • Help an artist achieve long term goals.
  • Scheduling tours and shows or dealing with a booking agency that can handle these tasks.
  • Negotiate contracts and deals on behalf of an artist.
  • Advising an artist on artistic direction in his music and his image.

Handling such a number of tasks can be time-consuming and demanding, which is why managing a project correctly requires a variety of skills in order to keep time aside to work on what matters most, your music.

Staying organized

One of the key skills to develop or perfect when managing your own musical project is organization. If you are dealing with a handful a labels, graphic artists, collaborators and potentially more, it can quickly get overwhelming.

In order to do so, centralize your communications in one place, e-mail for example. This will facilitate management of multiple projects rather than having half of your conversations happening on social media and another half via WhatsApp.

Keeping organized records of contracts, royalty statements or invoices is equally as important and can be complemented with spreadsheets detailing tour or show dates, or even your release schedule.

Staying organized will optimize your time and allow you to do more for your project. For more details on how to optimize your productivity and stay organized, you can check out our article on this subject here !

Shifting from a creative mindset to a business mindset

This is one of the aspects of career management that artists tend to struggle with the most. Music creation being a very personal process, it is tough to have the detached and objective point of view that a manager could have in regards to pitching, negotiating deals and managing your music. This is essential in order to successfully work your way up though !

When pitching a song to a label for example, the label choice should be based on objective factors. You as an artist might love a label in particular and want to release there, but the specific song is not guaranteed to be the right fit. Check out the label’s past releases and what they tend to sign, and put yourself on their end of the discussion : Would it make sense financially and how risky would it be for this label to sign my song?

In the event that a demo pitch is rejected, it can also be tough not to take it personally when pitching yourself. These moments are typically when you would want to take a step back and evaluate the situation from a business perspective.

When negotiating deals, it can be tempting as an artist to take a lower offer in order to sign to a label you are emotionally attached to. Again, take a step back and look at the situation with a business-first mindset. By consciously shifting your mindset in this manner, you will achieve better results on the long term and make more sensible decisions for your business.

Networking and communicating

One thing that most successful managers are very good at is networking and communicating. After all, it is how make themselves known and seek out projects, deals and opportunities for their artists !

When managing your own project, you want to make sure that you are at the forefront of your project. Reach out to industry professionals and build meaningful relationships. Show interest in other people’s projects and work and you will be surprised how fast this interested will be redirected towards your own endeavors !

In order to develop a solid network, try as much as possible to be an active part of your industry or niche. Go to networking conferences such as Music Week or Amsterdam Dance Event, be there when artists or promoters you love throw events and interact with your favorite artists and labels on social media ! It can be nerve racking at first but remember, you network is your net worth !

Moving on to management

By following the tips mentioned in this article, you should have the tools you need to manage your own project successfully, although as you scale your release schedule, tour schedule and more, it might become overwhelming.

This is when you should start asking yourself the following question : « Is it time for me to sign with management in order for my project to grow further? ». Our advice would be that if you have the time and skills to do it yourself, it’s probably worth it to keep managing your own project. Once you are lacking time and are afraid that it might impact your music and core operations, it makes sense to sign with management to focus on what matters most.

For more information on how to find the right manager for your project, you can check out our article about it here ! Until then, feel free to sign up to our newsletter below in order to learn more about the inner workings of the music industry and apply this knowledge to scale your career.


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