When it comes to making smart career moves for yourself in the music industry, timing is everything. When should you start touring? When should you release a full album? When should you pursue a record deal? Answering these questions well is crucial to keeping momentum going as you build your brand as an artist. You may think you’re ready to take things to the next level and hire a manager, but how can you tell for sure?
If you are ready to hire a music manager, you must no longer be in the start-up phase of your career. You have to already be functioning as a successful small business. Many people think they are ready for a manager when in reality, they are still in the very important “creative phase.”
It can be easy to confuse being ready for a manager with still being in the creative phase of your career, but there are a few key differences between them.
When You’re Ready for an Artist Manager
Here are a few indicators that you might be ready for an artist manager:
1. If your career is taking off to a point in which it’s overwhelming and becomes impossible to keep track of on your own.
2. If you have started to grow a consistent following and are getting asked to do press interviews!
3. If you find yourself too consumed with the business side of your career that you no longer have time to work on the creative side.
4. If you are being approached by labels, getting asked to tour, and expanding into a business model that is no longer sustainable with you alone.
5. Lastly, if several labels and managers start to reach out to YOU, this indicates you are definitely ready for a manager.
When You are Not Ready for an Artist Manager
If you are still able to manage and book your own performances, promote your releases, and market your music by yourself, you might not be ready for a manager.
Keep in mind that you are your first manager. At the start of your artist career, when you are building a social media following and planning posts as well as promoting your releases and interacting with fans, you are still able to manage your own career.
Even if you’ve just gone viral on tik tok, or your youtube cover channel just hit 10,000 subscribers, you may still be in the creative phase. It’s important not to rush into anything. Take time to really evaluate what your goals are, where you are currently, and how to reach those goals before you look into expanding your team.
In order to attract attention from established record labels and managers, you’re going to need to prove yourself as a viable business investment.
Do you have several thousand social media followers?
Are you making enough income from streams and people buying your music for a manager to see possibilities for you?
These are important questions to ask yourself when deciding if you are ready to hire an artist manager.
Knowing the Difference
The difference between being ready for a manager or not all comes back to timing. In our Made it in Music Podcast, our guest Rick Barker, Taylor Swift’s former manager, offers the advice that you are ready for a manager once you are generating enough income to pay a manager, you are getting hundreds of thousands of streams on your music, companies have started to reach out to you about branding deals, and perhaps you already have touring opportunities lined up.
If you are not yet in a place in your career where you need a manager, don’t fret! There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself for reaching that next step.
One option is to ask a friend or a trusted person to be your manager before you hire a professional. You can also start by hiring someone as an admin for you. That way, you can have someone assist you on the business side of your journey before you move into hiring someone strictly for management.
Rick Barker advises new artists to take the opportunity to first learn as much as they can about what goes into management before taking the leap into hiring their own artist manager. There are many educational resources available through the Full Circle Music Youtube Channel and the Made it in Music podcast that can help you gain some knowledge of the industry you are breaking into while you are still in the creative phase as an artist. These types of resources will act as your “management guiding” to help you get started on the right path before you need an actual manager.
While you are working your way towards hiring a music manager, you need to make sure you are prepared for the opportunities that may come your way.
Do you have answers prepared for when executives ask you about your career?
Do you have experience performing shows?
Have you co-written with any other artists?
In order to network successfully in the music industry, you have to show the people who are already very connected and have the contacts you need that you are ready to go to the next level. Build up as much experience as you can as an artist so that you don’t crash and burn in a room full of people who can fund your next steps. It’s not just about talent when you’re hiring a manager, it’s mostly about the work you’ve been able to put in thus far and the amount of experience you’ve had!
It might take a while to reach the level of success on your own that is necessary to warrant outside help, but if you keep in mind the tricks that Rick Barker provides, as well as the advice I have laid out in this blog, you can work towards becoming your own successful business and find yourself ready to hire an artist manager!