Having a good band manager is a key ingredient to the long-term success of professional musicians. Band managers assist musical talent in handling the business side of their careers, and help to promote their music, secure shows, and book tours. They also handle scheduling for non-performance events, like meet and greets, signings, and label interviews.
Choosing a good band manager can be a challenge – but these three steps can help you with your search.
Musicians talk to each other – and a lot. Chances are if you're in the market for a band manager, some of your compatriots will have recommendations (or warnings). Start asking around, particularly within the scene of the genre you work in, if your fellow musicians or even DJs have recommendations for someone who can effectively manage your music career. Make a list of the names you hear and start making connections with them – this is the best way to see who may not only be a good fit professionally, but personality-wise as well.
Review Their Track History
An experienced band manager will have some successes to share regarding the acts they've managed in the past. If you see that the acts they've worked with have enjoyed steady success (even if it's slow), that is likely a combination of the band's dedication and their band manager's professional skill. If they've worked with a lot of acts that have dropped them in a year or less, or the acts they've managed have not really gone much beyond playing all local venues, it could mean that they're not the person you're looking for.
Stay Alert to Red Flags
If you hear more negatives than positives, pay close attention to what people are saying and why. In particular, be on the lookout for band managers who have been accused of taking payment from acts but not doing their job, taking total credit for the act's success, doing drugs on the job, or just straight-out lying to the acts they manage about things they're working on for them that never quite seem to materialize. If these are the kinds of reports you're getting, don't work with them – and warn other musicians against it, too.
All dedicated musicians take on a band manager at some point in their career, and it's important that you be selective about who you hire for this very important job – they will be responsible for helping you secure a large part of your income as a musician as well as representing you to labels, venues, and tour managers. These three steps will help you find the best fit for your career needs as a musician – and will help you foster a years-long association with your band manager that will benefit you both.