Be an Artist Manager

Artist managers are the link that connect artists to the world, guiding artists from obscurity to fame. From booking gigs to negotiating business deals and organizing tours, an artist manager has a hand in just about every aspect of an artist’s career. The job is hard work, and the path towards becoming a manager can be long and hard, but the career can be incredibly satisfying. The work of an artist manager varies by industry, but for all artist managers, no two days are ever the same.


Getting Your Foot in the Door

  1. Build relationships. Many successful artist managers have started their careers through their personal connections. There’s no telling where you’ll come across a lead, so it’s important to cast your net as wide as possible. Keep in touch with old friends and start conversations with strangers. The more people you know, the likelier it is that you will hear about artists looking for management. Let people know you’re interested in becoming an artist manager, and keep your ears open for potential opportunities.[1]
  2. Enter the local scene. Many artist managers get their start in their business by working with local artists. If you’re interested in working with musicians, for example, try to get a job at a local concert house. Even if you’re not working in a music capacity right away, you’d have an opportunity to meet band members and managers and make contacts in the industry that may lead to amazing opportunities.[2]
    • Even poor-paying entry-level gigs can be an entryway to a career as an artist manager.
  3. Intern for a management company. While usually unpaid, an internship at a management company can be an invaluable introduction to the field of artist management. While interning, you’d have countless opportunities to learn more about the field and meet experienced managers. An internship could lead to another internship or even a full-time position in the company.[3]
  4. Study a relevant degree in college. Many universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music business and other fields that have direct bearing on the type of work artist managers do. In a formal degree program, you’d study the financial, artistic, legal, and ethical issues that artist managers encounter on an everyday basis. Classes and extracurricular activities in such a program would also provide you with many chances to network with current and future professionals in the industry.[4]
    • Entrance requirements and tuition vary program to program, so you’ll want to do plenty of research before settling on a program.

Succeeding as an Artist Manager

  1. Listen to the artist. An artist manager’s main objective is to help the artist achieve their goals, so it is important to know what those goals are. Make sure you’re on the same page. Prioritize their goals, and think of a strategies that further these goals.
  2. Join a professional association. While artist management is a competitive business, there are many groups and associations that bring managers together to exchange knowledge and learn from one another. These associations give managers a venue to network, share ideas, and learn about trends in the field. These associations are a tremendous resource you should exploit.[5]
  3. Consume media to keep up with current trends. Follow artists and managers on social media. Read blogs by professionals in the industry. Participate in forums, and read industry-specific magazines. Absorbing up-to-date information is an important part of an artist manager’s job and will help you think of innovative ideas to help your artist(s).