Understanding the Music Industry: Artist Managers and Booking Agents – what they do and why you need them

Budi VoogtBooking Agents, Labels & Distribution, Music Business71 Comments

Understanding the Music Industry: Artist Managers and Booking Agents – what they do and why you need them

Understanding the Music Industry is a series that outlines the framework of the business, explaining the roles of the industry professionals, what their jobs entail, when it’s important to involve them and deal specifics that you want to be aware of. Artist managers, booking agents, music publishers, labels, A&Rs and others – we’ll treat them all.

Let’s rewind about four years, to my first days in the music business.

I had teamed up with my best friends, who had started producing. I would be their manager.

We were eager and ambitious.

And absolutely clueless.

I had no idea what an artist manager really did. Nor did they know what goes into being professional artists.

Our enthusiasm and drive would make up for that lack of knowledge. We would wing it, learn on the fly, failing and learning from our mistakes.

Not a bad approach at all – but perhaps more admirable for initiative and grit, than for efficiency.

What we lacked was insight into the framework that underlies the modern music industry. An understanding of the interconnected gears and sprockets – the music industry professionals – that drive the careers of successful artists.

Artist manager, booking agent, music publisher, label A&R, radio promoter, PR agent, event promoter… we didn’t really know what all these jobs entailed, what work they did or at what stage they became relevant to an artist’s career.

I suspect that if we did have that knowledge, this initial four-year journey would have brought us farther than we are now.

The Framework

Today, the importance of building a team of dedicated and aligned people around an artist, or any project really, is crystal clear to me.

There is only so much that you can do independently. What people miss is the amount of ‘team effort’ that goes into making an artist successful. All the big guys at the top have a manager, booking agents for different territories, a dedicated label A&R, a PR person, so on.

Independents today have the tools to kick-start their careers themselves, and they need to – with the overload of supply on the market. However once the ball is rolling, bringing the right people on board, at the right time, can propel success to whole new levels.

The goal of this series is to give you insight into that framework. To explain what all the different music business professionals do, what typical deals look like and when you should involve them. So that when you start making waves, you’ll know what to do.

 

MusicIndustry_FrameworkExample of the team that we have built around one of our own artists.

 

The Core

Closest to the artist are the manager, booking agent and music publisher.

These are the people that start working with an artist in the earliest phase of their career. Sometimes a manager is found first, other times an agent, and often these two jobs are done by one and the same person.

Publishers tend to come into the picture later, once an artist is represented by management or is releasing music that’s showing promise.

Labels are becoming involved sooner too, as the rise of the internet has lead to a surge of independent labels, who are picking up brand-new but promising artists and showcasing them to the world. This is especially true for electronic music, where the net-labels are often involved with artists even before attentive managers and agents are.

‘The Core’ is the group of people that is closest to the artist. Often the manager, agent, and publisher. They help build the career of an artist from the ground up, many times starting their collaboration before even an ounce of success has been achieved. It is their job to shield the artist from the outside world, to take care of all business affairs in their domain, and to find and involve other people that believe in the artist and want to work for them.

You’ll find that the most successful artists always have a strong Core group surrounding them. People they’ve been with for years, that have all become perfectly aligned and dedicated to a mutual goal – their artist’s success.

Artist Managers

What does an artist manager do? An artist manager’s job is multifaceted and broad in scope. In essence, their primary duty is this – to create opportunities. It’s their task to devise and execute a strategy. To facilitate the artist to excel artistically, in some cases even streamlining their personal lives.

To connect them to the right people. To create a state of order from which creative work is easily done. To bring the right people on to the artist’s team, for the right reasons, at the right time. To make the decisions that the artist doesn’t want to make. To give the bad news that the artist doesn’t want to spread.

A good manager has a plan for an artist and will do everything in his power to make that a reality.

That entails coordinating and streamlining the efforts of everyone working for an artist; agents, publishers, label A&Rs, PR people and others. It also entails making countless of sales calls and pitches, negotiating contracts and relentlessly pursuing opportunities – even when the odds are slim.

Managers need to truly believe in their artists. It’s necessary for the job. To endlessly sell and receive NO for an answer most of the time. To be an objective sounding board for the artist, being able to say so when a product or track isn’t good enough. To be critical to the outside world – filtering out the nonsense and telling people how it is. With tact. And then still maintaining that belief in the inevitable success that’s coming in the future.

Artist-manager relationships become very personal over time. I think it’s a necessity. The best managers are involved artistically, helping curate and develop the musical content and branding. These things concern creative ideas, which are very personal in nature. For artists to receive and appreciate feedback from a manager, it’s necessary to establish trust but also to have respect for each others’ authority on certain subjects. I can be critical about certain things to my artists, because they respect my opinions on those matters.

Types of managers

Managers that start working with an artist in the early stages of their career are often business-oriented friends or want-to-be industry professionals, that take on the job because of a belief in the music. In the early stages the manager is often also the booking agent. These are the individual managers.

In the higher tiers, managers work for agencies and sometimes for record labels. They tend to have bigger networks and more resources, but are more selective about the artists they work with. As a rule of thumb, you should assume that the higher up the chain you go, the more people will preselect for artists that are already making waves independently. Also, managers at big agencies tend to have more artists on their roster, resulting in less time spent on each individual act.

For the really rich musicians, management can be split up into music management and business management. The prior is all that we have just discussed, whereas business management takes a more financial spin. These managers concern themselves with asset and capital management, do investments for their clients, find tax and administrative loopholes.

There is something to be said for both the stand-alone managers as for the agencies. My experience has taught me to never work with people where the artist is not among their top priorities. Be watchful of the people that sign artists like notches, to hedge their risk in the hope that one of them will break through. Our best results came from working with people that were enthused to work with our acts, showing initiative out of their own accord – even if they had a lesser track record or weren’t with a big agency. It’s not all in the name.

The deal

The deals on which managers sign acts vary widely.

Beginning managers often work with acts on the basis of a gentleman’s agreement. This is a procedure that sometimes extends to the honeymoon period of more serious artist – manager relationships. This is the trial period before an actual contract commences.

Serious managers sign their artists, working for a commission ranging between 10-20% off gross revenue. The industry norm is 15%, however the rate should be decided upon based on the manager’s (future) contribution to an artist’s career. Most managers will take this cut off gross revenue, meaning all revenues without any deduction of costs. I’m against that – a fair manager should only make money when the artist does.

The term for these agreements range from 1-3 years, the latter being most common. I view management as a long-term investment so will always try to sign artists for a three-year term. You’re building something together after all.

Managers also hedge against the risk of creating success for an artist and then being abandoned, by so-called Sunset clauses. These entitle the manager to a certain percentage commission, diminishing per year, for a period after the agreement with an act ends. For example, if I sign an act for three years on a 20% commission, and we end our collaboration after that third year, I’d ask for a 15% commission in the fourth year, a 10% commission in the fifth, and so on until we end at 0%.

Established artists have more clout in new contract negotiations, as the managers have contributed less to their development. The bigger the act, the less dependent they are on a manager’s involvement for success. And in those cases the manager also stands to gain esteem by working with the act.

Booking Agents

The booking agent’s job is to facilitate live performances, in the broadest sense.

This entails securing and arranging performances, negotiating deals, arranging proper technical set-ups for shows, and in many cases also securing hospitality (hotels, dinners), logistics (travel, flights) and promotional efforts.

They receive requests for performances and pitch the artists. This leads to offers which they negotiate on until a deal is closed. During this period, an ‘option’ is held on the date and time-slot for that promoter. Good agents make sure that contracts are signed long before the actual show, and collect deposits (read: payments) beforehand.

I am in favor of having 100% of the deposits collected before a show, as the last thing you want to do is to chase a promoter for money after you’ve already performed – that removes all your leverage. It’s the agent’s job to make sure this is agreed upon per contract and that the cash actually comes in in time. Also they communicate the technical requirements for the show with a document called a ‘technical rider’ and include hospitality and logistics in the contracts they sign with the promoter.

Agents represent artists for specific regions. This is done as it is unreasonable to expect that an agent in one market (read location) will have the same network and clout as in another. The major territories are split up as Europe (EU), North America (NA), South America (SA), Asia and Australia + New Zealand (Aus / NZ). Asia, Australia and New Zealand are often combined.

Big acts often have one head-agent, who coordinates all the sub agents in the different territories. For example, for our artist San Holo, I am currently his head-agent as his manager, and I coordinate our sub-agents in Australia and North America.

The head agenda and event promoters

Agents work closely with management and the event promoters.

Management determines an artist’s schedule for the coming year, dedicating certain periods to shows in specific regions. This is done in accordance with the head-agent. The agents, in turn, have to fill in these periods with shows. So the head-agenda might dictate a Europe tour in March, Canada in June, NA in July – August and then Asia leading up to Australia + NZ towards New Years. The primary agent or manager will then coordinate these dates to all the sub-agents.

Event promoters are the people hosting the events. We call them promoters. These range from small-scale groups that throw recurring nights at clubs, to venue owners, and the bigger event agencies. These bigger agencies host a wide variety of events in specific regions, sometimes even holding the rights to events that spread internationally. This is especially a thing in electronic music, where companies like Insomniac (Electric Daisy Carnival) and ID&T (Sensation) are responsible for most major. They, in turn, are owned by major entertainment conglomerates like Live Nation and recently SFX.

It is the job of the agent to foster relationships with the key promoters in their region, that host events to which their artists match. These lead to long-term partnerships, where the promoter looks to certain agents to deliver the majority of the talent (read: acts). Big promoters will often ask for exclusivity on an artist for a specific region. For example, if you play EDC Las Vegas, it is very likely that you’ll be asked to refrain from playing any shows in the state for a specific region.

The deal

Agents differ slightly from management as it is far more common for an agent to work solely on the basis of a gentleman’s agreement. Also agents tend to have bigger rosters.

The bigger agencies and more serious agents sign agreements with acts. However, in many cases the deal between a head-agent and sub-agent not be on a contractual basis. It is much more common for these partnerships to be established on a verbal agreement or quick note via email, than via legal deal.

Agents work on a commission basis, varying between 10-15% of the artist’s booking fee. The 10% rate is common in scenarios where the agent does not ‘advance’ the show, nor routes and arranges hospitality and logistics. Advancing means following up to the promoter to ask about how the show will be promoted, what ticket prices will be, coordinating marketing efforts and so on. The 15% rate is the norm for the ‘all-in’ service of an agent. The duration of these agreements ranges from one to three years, two being most common.

In Europe, the standard is that agents charge the booking fee, hospitality and logistical costs, on top of the artist’s fee. So if an act is booked for a show of 1 hour, for a fee of €500, the agent would charge €75 on top, in addition to hotel and travel costs. In the USA, this is different. ‘All-in’ shows are the norm there. Meaning that deals are made based on a full fee from which the agent’s commission, hospitality and travel costs are deducted.

My recommendation is to solely involve agents when they express interest to work with an act out of own accord. If you have to sell them on working with you, don’t be surprised if you are not on the top of their priority list. Also, a 15% commission is fair in exchange for advancing and routing hospitality and logistics. The agents can often to a better job than you can in their specific regions. Sure, I can book a flight to Asia, but by no means do I have insight into the local customs and tricks that can make travel there more efficient.

In terms of agreements, restrict the duration to two years at max – coinciding with a certain performance measure. For example that the agent has to match x amount of shows per period, or has to make specific tours happen. Also, get on paper they will always try to get their fees and costs on top of the artist fee, and that they collect full deposits before the shows.

—-

This concludes the first part of the new series, Understanding the Music Industry.

Here’s a full overview of the series:
1. Understanding the Music Industry: Artist Managers and Booking Agents
2. Understanding the Music Industry: Music Publishers, Syncs and Licensing
3. Understanding the Music Industry: Record Labels, A&Rs, Distribution, Pluggers and PR

Before we finish, I have a question for you that you can answer in the comments below.

“Are you working with a manager or agent already? If so, how did you meet? If not, what’s keeping you from going out and building a team?”

Continue reading the second episode here, which covers music publishers, synchronizations (putting your music in videos) and licensing.

  • Karl Ross

    Thanks again for providing insightful, high-quality information! Very helpful for someone hoping to one day enter the same line of business!

  • John

    Thanks Budi – this is very helpful.

  • Lacey Smith

    My name is Lacey Smith, I am contacting you on behalf of BloodWing Entertainment Studios, and would like to inquire about Audio Production services. We currently are offering Full Multitrack Mixing and Mastering and Single Artist Tracking with plans to expand to full band tracking in the future. Please feel free to check out our website At http://www.Facebook.com/BloodWingEntertainment. You may contact me through [email protected].

  • Loved all of it ! Nice to know the difference between EU and USA about the ‘All-in’ shows.

  • Amazing read!

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is an excellent and necessary read! Your generosity of info and guidance is greatly appreciated!

  • You’re very welcome @vixennoir:disqus

  • Glad you like. It’s interesting to see how business differs across the ponds.

  • <3

  • Very clear and concise write up!
    Question: I am an independent artist manager. A booking agency is interested in booking one of my artists on a regular basis. How do we arrange the booking fee? Who gets what?

  • This is the most well written article I’ve ever read on this subject. Thank you for doing what you do, Budi 🙂

  • Means a lot to hear that. Thank you!

  • Hey Eline, typically both artist managers and booking agents take a commission off any revenues. In your case, you might have a booking agent charge a 15% commission to the promoter (the party that hosts the event) on top of the artist fee, where you as a manager take 20% off the net artist fee.

  • Drew M.

    Hello,
    I am an aspiring college student looking to do business in the music industry, majoring in Business Management and Marketing. I have no previous experience and was wondering where to start if one would want to be a manager or an agent. I have a few friends (beginning artists) interested in having me on their team. Where should I start in regards to getting experience.

    Thank you.

  • Hey Drew,

    A smart move would be to start interning with an agency that represents acts you believe in, whilst scouting and building relationships with artists that you want to represent yourself. You can only be as good of a manager as the talent you’re working with.

  • Lauren O’Mara

    hey, question for you. Does streaming and the loss of physical purchases and downloading have an effect on music publishers? or not.

  • In a way.

    When physical records are created the record companies need to pay ‘mechanical royalties’ to the songwriters (or the publishers that represent them).

    For digital downloads and streaming these mechanicals are also paid, but there’s been a debate about whether a download or stream constitutes a ‘public performance’ or a ‘mechanical reproduction’. The common approach to this is that a download constitutes of 75% mechanical and 25% public performance, whereas for a stream the opposite is usually true.

    What does that mean? Well, publishers and songwriters can technically collect mechanicals and public performance royalties from the DSPs (Spotify, iTunes etc), but as those stores often have deals with the PRSs per territory, those monies can be collected there. A smart move would be to provide distribution sheets to your publisher and PRS to make sure they actively collect your outstanding monies.

    Hope that clarifies.

  • MyKey

    Thanks Budi, really great article! I’d like to download that eBook, but it doesn’t work. Could you fix it for us, please?

  • Thanks. Have just fixed it, you can download using one of the red buttons in this article.

  • Prez1 Incorporated

    Thank You for this wisdom it’s extremely enlightening. I just recently recorded an E.P. Of 4 songs and would like your opinion of the music and if you think I’d be an artist worth representing in a general sense. Thanks) Prez.
    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCJ6wf4E33InS1wbENWoVUdA?client=mv-google&layout=mobile

    Or Prez1Incorporated on YouTube.

  • Prez1 Incorporated

    You can also find me on Instagram at [email protected]

  • You’re welcome!

  • Franklin Francis

    Hey bro just read your awesome article and it was perfect. I just had a major album release party the album “Better Man” and now I am trying to find some of the best managers and booking agents to help me market this project. I believe I am a icon so I want my team to be iconic. Please take a look at my site and listen to some of my music. I would like you to help me get in the right direction. So far I have been working with some great producers and a lot of people are really enjoying my album. Please help man my site is http://www.franklinfrancis.com and remember I want to be more then a local star I believe my journey is built to go far

  • Happy to be of help.

    You can submit demos to our label over at heroicrecordings.com/demos.

  • moren

    I’ve gained a more better understanding of the music industry business in knowing more about the role of managers and agents happy to have red it and not I don’t have an manager or a team as yet but so far I’m using tuberose as my distributor let me know what you think

  • John

    Hi Budi – when does the agent collect his or her fee? Is it usually 50% upon receipt of the deposit then the other 50% right before the artist starts the performance (or does the agent wait until the concert is over to collect the other 50%?)

  • The European style and my preference is to have the agent collect the full show fee before the show, as per the contract they should arrange with the promoter that’s booking the show.

    In the rest of the world, particularly in the USA, it’s more common for agencies to collect a 50% deposit before the show and the remainder afterwards.

    In all cases I think the agency’s booking fee should only be collected once fees have actually been paid and received.

  • Awesome article!! Just curious on what your thoughts are on non-exclusive booking agents, where they not only collect a percentage from the shows they generate and book, but also the ones they don’t? Currently navigating a deal memo and want to know if commonplace… (I have a feeling it’s not.. especially at 20%). Any advice?

  • Ella

    This article was amazing, it really helped. Thanks for the insight!

    To answer your question (s) currently I am not working with a manager. Its difficult to find people loyal and ready to work. Still looking though I haven’t given up!

  • You’re welcome @disqus_KoQLo8GPZ9:disqus!

    It’s probably best to approach it like this: refine your craft and branding, release music independently and build your initial 1000s of followers, then leverage that to get through to managers and record labels.

  • Hey Sammi, I haven’t encountered any scenarios where a booking agent took a commission from shows they didn’t directly or indirectly had something to do with.

    Also, standard rates for booking agents are 15% (when they also advance the show, ie; take care of logistics, hospitality etc) and 10% when it’s purely booking the show.

  • Richard Oeuvre

    Very informative.

    I am without a manger right now because I have been releasing music independently.

  • Alan Basseliz

    Great read! I am currently not working with a manager. The hard thing is just knowing where to look for those types of people.and also learning how to release my music in a way to help build those first few 1000 followers Should it just be posting on soundcloud? itunes? minor distributors like tunecore?

  • Thanks @richardoeuvre:disqus.

  • Gio

    Hi Budi, great article! I recently started a bookings office for a few DJ’s and artists in my environment to support local talent. I have some questions.

    1. Who is the one responsible for paying taxes? Do I (as head of the booking office) have to pay my artists the net amount of their artist fee and handle their taxes? Or should I pay them the gross amount and have them handle their taxes?
    2. The DJ’s and artists involved have their own personal manager. They get to keep 15% of the artists fee. Is this 15% off the gross or net amount of the artist fee?
    3. I have an exclusive booking contract with the artists and DJ’s. Do I have to sign a contract with their personal manager as well?

    Thanks in advance

    Cheers from Rotterdam

  • Ralston PrGuru Barrett

    Hey bro, I’m a publicist/producer in Jamaica. I just want to thank you for this great article. I plan to read everything on your site, I find it to be very insightful and informative. Keep up the good work Budi.

  • Glad I could be of help!

  • If it’s good enough, I’d distribute to all relevant platforms, so both YouTube / SoundCloud as well as iTunes / Spotify / Beatport (if you’re making electronic music). The more available you are on the respective platforms, the bigger the odds of fans finding you there.

  • The manager should have a contract with the artist that gives rights of representation. As a booking agent, your contract should be directly with the artist.

    The amount that you invoice promoters should always be inclusive of tax, whereas the artist should also invoice tax over the net amount to you. In other words, if you’re invoicing a promoter for a €1000 show, you add 6% VAT (Dutch rate for performance royalties) on top. The artist then invoices you for that exact amount with 6% VAT, whereas you invoice the artist for your commission (say 15%), with 6% VAT.

    Managers typically take their commission over net.

  • Niek

    Very good read! And even after the talk you gave at Dancefair a short while ago.
    And to answer your question: I currently have no manager and am looking into that more actively at the moment. Had some talks at Dancefair (a yearly educational (dance)music related conference in the Netherlands), with a few managers, but no joy so far.
    My situation seems to be a bit too difficult for most (being Dutch and living abroad). By now already 6 releases out on smaller labels, of which some hit the top 100 releases charts.

    So slowly working on that kind of exposure, but ‘teaming up’ with a manager proves to be a bit challenging for now.

  • Gio

    Hi Budi, Thanks for reacting to my post. I recently obtained an declaration for withholding artist Fee’s (‘inhoudingsplichtigen verklaring’ in Dutch). Is this even necessary/relevant when using your method described above?
    Thanks

  • GEM

    I am a new startup manager with one artist on my roster. He’s a great rapper. He’s looking to do shows right away because he has so much material. So before all of the booking agents and all that you speak about in this great article, how/where is the first place to begin to try and get an unknown artists shows; which hopefully can turn into paid show? It’s a lot easier said than done. How do managers get shows? Thanks

  • Michael

    Hi Budi, Great article…I have a one question. I have some very talented friends who have asked if I might be willing to be their manager. However, I’ve never done anything like this before, although some of the “skills” required for being a manager I kind of already do as an executive assistant…I guess my question is, where do I start with helping them?

  • Thanks for reading Mike.

  • Thanks for reading @disqus_y1V8ziOSYJ:disqus. In all honesty, I also started managing artists with literally ZERO idea what I was doing. What I mean to say with that, is that if you have the best intentions and are willing to hustle to make stuff happen for them – and they are great artists – then it’s possible to do great things together.

    To begin I would define a vision for their project, outline what the key goals are you want to achieve, as well as pinpointing the influencers that you want to work with. Then establish a release schedule. Go from there.

  • I always emphasize how important it is to lay a good foundation and build a fan-base by releasing great music and getting that music a lot of exposure. That’s the driver of your growth and will create the leverage you can use to convince artist managers to work with you.

    Doing shows is pointless if there’s no demand in the market yet because you haven’t yet developed an audience. Always start at the foundation.

  • Best way to score synchs independently would be to develop relationships with music supervisors. These are the people that curate music for shows, series and other projects.

  • Michael

    Thank you so much Budi, I really appreciate your help. This is a great place to start…

  • Deyvaun Collins

    Super helpful article! I am looking to become a booking agent and I am currently working with 1 artist. The artist I am working with is independent and has somewhat of a fanbase, enough so that he has been booking his own shows consistently for the past year and a half and asked me to help him with that. How do I go about finding venues and negotiating prices for my artist, and do you think a contract should be neccessary for me & him?

  • Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Natascia Maimone

    I’m ready for a team. I feel strong as an Artist but useless as a seller.

  • Great. Focus on building the traction independently that you can use to both interest people to work with you, and that they can leverage to create opportunities for you.

  • Asher Postman

    This is amazing. I really look forward to continue learning from you! This article really opened my eyes as to what it is going to take to start building a solid fan base. I really love the idea of the “fan funnel” and drawing people in to create superfans… I definitely think that’s crucial! For the longest time I’ve thought that I just need to spend all my time producing and making good music, but I’ve learned first hand that no matter how cool a song I make, it won’t get me anywhere if no one hears it. I will definitely be keeping up with this blog and reading the rest!

    -Asher

  • Definitely set up an agreement between yourselves. The standard agent – artist agreement is typically a 1 year rolling deal, where the agent takes 15% off net gross (revenue of shows – direct logistical / hospitality costs).

    Find venues by looking at where similar acts play in the different territories, then contact the promoters that book those shows.

  • Becky

    Great article, thanks for all the useful information! Similar to John Lavido (posted below), I need to imprive my craft. I’m very passionate about making this into a career but as a perfectionist my mixing and mastering processes take much longer than they probably should! This leaves all of my tracks ‘incomplete’ and I refuse to pay for a professional to do this for me as I would much rather do this myself and learn so I can be self-sufficient (and save a lot of money!), no matter how long it takes. I am just trying to learn as much as I can before I dive in to the industry, taking my time and doing my research, as well as perfecting my tracks (I have about 20 on the go).

  • You can download it within this article by clicking the red bonus buttons.

  • Rico Feragamo

    i have skill talent and drive i produce write and record music and not everyone can do that but im going through what every artist has gone through no one wants to give me a chance ive tried emailing and contacting diferent agents agencies and i never get a response sometimes they dont even have any contact info and if they do they always say they dont take unsolicited material only referals and its like how am i supposed to do that when no one wants to even listen to your mix tape ive always been for never giving up and always trying but it so discouriging when no one wants be on your team or your friandsasosiates start getting jelous before you even finish your mixtape its got the point i just dont enjoy making music any more every time i make a beat or record it feals like chore sumetimes i wish i could quit but my biggest mistake was making all the promosis about how i was gonna ” MAKE it” and thats the problem now i forcebly gotta find a way to deliver im either dammed if i do or dammed if i dont only advice i can give to any up coming artist is to just keep it on the DL the minute people find out u have talent and the pasion for something theyre pretty much like krabs theyll do watever it takes to bring u down even when u least suspect so say good by to friends family and anybody close to u cuz eventually there jelousy wont be kept in check for long i tell u from personal experiance but idk at the end always hav an open ear but never jump at just any opertunity especially if they they start acting to nice or promising to help u financially and lastly dont ever act like some one is doing u a favor becouse these corperations especially managers and franchises are like slave owners the minute they feel entitled they pretty much think they own you and act like u need them for everything

  • I am currently in the noise stage and it is very difficult starting out. I do not have a team right now, the only help I have is from my friend who does the graphics designs for me e.g. the cover art for my songs. He is very helpful! Furthermore I’m only 16 so I have no idea where to reach out for agents, managers and so forth. Good article, though. I’m currently doing the artist bootcamp so I’m reading the articles sent to me by email and they have been very helpful. Some give me hope and motivation, some make me want to time travel to the future haha.

  • Crystal

    Working with my daughter who is an artist she is a rapper she does have a manager but we’re having some issues with the contract the manager would like a 70% giving her 30% and I thought thatdidn’t sound right so right now we’re at a standstill. Can you give us your opinion.

  • A fair and ethical manager takes 15-25%, depending on her contribution to the project and the artist’s existing leverage.

    This sounds like a bad deal. Steer clear.

  • Adrian García

    Thanks Budi for great informative article.
    Personally I am “desperate” to get a manager, I just honestly don’t know how to find that person. I have few friends (wealthy) who pay a monthly fee to their managers, and I strongly refuse to do that. I, of course, don’t mind in doing it the right way of giving a commission from what he/she can achieve with the deals.
    I believe I have a strong ground as an artist; I’ve released some great songs already, great understanding of my music skills and my genre (Latin Pop), great experience playing live as that’s how I make my money (playing over 100 function gigs a year), good “image”, etc, and everywhere I perform people just love it (im not trying to brag). I just don’t seem to find THE person who can help me get to the next level. Sometimes I even think I live in the wrong place (London, UK) for the music I create. Do you think something as “living in the wrong place” could have an real impact in finding THE team. UK simply doesnt have a strong Latin music scene as USA for example.

    Thanks anyways, Im loving your articles and Im learning a lot.

  • Thanks @disqus_P8KM6arfou:disqus. If the music is there and you’re marketing yourself well independently, then you’re bound to be approached by people eager to work with you. Getting to that point is the hardest and there’s no shortcut. Few good managers would be willing to work with an act that hasn’t at least validated itself online.

  • Anthony

    Thank you for all of the information you have provided. I have a friend who I want to manage, I believe in his talent and want him to succeed. I just don’t know where to start but I do know that i’m not in it for the profit. Any advice for where to begin or how to not burn out too early? I have no knowledge of the music industry but a little bit of business knowledge due to me currently studying Communication, Marketing, and Advertising. Any tips or advice from anyone would be much appreciated!

  • Johnny China

    Thanks for this article, very informative and has given me more insight as to what to look for management wise for my son who has built up a very big following using social media, has had four No1 most selected music videos on the Uks No1 urban music Tv channel, sold out his first headline show. Basically he’s a music managers dream, but it’s still hard to convince him that he needs management and a team behind him. Hopefully when I read this to him he will realise that parents are right a lot of the time. Thanks again.

  • Magic Marley

    Let’s keep it real. Will you be my manager Budi?

  • Flow DiMaggio

    Definitely opened my eyes on how I need to approach – another much needed article!!!

  • Luis Eduardo Gil

    Hi. If you are a booking agency, why should you invoice the promoter the same amount as the artist invoice you? I mean, as you are a booking agent, you have the chance to earn more money by charging a bigger amount of money to the promoter, comparing to the amount the artist charges you for a presentation. Do you get what Im saying? ..u could double your earnings by charging more money to the promoter besides getting your commission fee from the artist (10% – 15%). It is possible because there are two agreements. One is between the artist and you as a booking agent and the other one is between the promoter (or business) and you as a booking agent. So you have control over the prices somehow. What do you think about it?

  • Neiman Samuel

    Great Article! Also here is a side note for all the artist looking for manager!

    Make sure you are ready for a manager. I have been on the exectutive side of the music industry a long time. A recuring problem I see is artists do not know when they are in need of a manager. Keep this in mind you truly only need a manager when your career is on the tipping point, and you’ve gone as far as you can go alone.

    Neiman Samuel – CEO of LaunchDon.com
    Instagram : NeimanSamuel1
    Twitter NeimanSamuel1

  • Justin

    Hello Budi– thanks very much for all you do! Apologies if I missed this while reading: but, any tips on actually finding an agent/manager/ booking person?

    At this point I have good tracks, solid mixing/mastering (I went to school for it) and without overestimating myself…the music’s in good shape. I’ve had releases on smaller labels and have had decent charting on Beatport thanks to the tracks from my first release. The tracks charted in the 50s for a certain period of time. It’s certainly not like charting in the top 10, so we aren’t on everyone’s radar, but not bad for a first release (or so I’d think). Also had decent traction on a remix picked up by RunTheTrap. All that info isn’t to show off…just trying to paint a picture to see if that info connects to our next step.

    So it’s down to doing shows as our next step (or so I’d assume) to develop more of a following. But venues aren’t easily accessible. My production partner and I live in a decent sized city in Florida, so I wouldn’t think it’d be that hard to find a booking person. But then again we’re more music makers than anything…so the business side is a different thing. I assume you don’t simply post a position for “Booking Agent” on Craigslist…or do you? 🙂

  • Justin, I would recommend that you continue building up your digital presence. Most agencies have in-house A&Rs constantly on the lookup for exciting new acts to sign for representation. In my experience, it’s also much more of an agreeable process when agents start to reach out for you, since it’s much harder for you to convince them to represent you unless they truly love your music (in which case they’d probably reach out).

    Best of luck! @disqus_685X9mpaQM:disqus

  • Justin

    Thanks very much! That’s true, I had heard about it working in the opposite direction (where they reach out to you). I’ve also seen people with representation who’ve had little in terms of music released (no originals on their SC…just “bootleg” type remixes), so I reckoned there might’ve been a couple of approaches to getting started. But yes, consistent releases to build up momentum and digital development is a big step…and we do have enough material to step that up. Thanks again!