3 Traits Your Music Manager Should NOT Have
Getting the right person to manage your music career can be a blessing. They can help you better manage your time, get your more opportunities than you would have by yourself, and act as a buffer between you and non serious business opportunities. So does that mean you should rush out and get a music manager right now? Well, probably not.
The thing is, even when you're ready to get a manager, you can't just pick anyone. There are lots of people who would be willing to manage you as a musician, but not all mangers are made equally. Some will be more hassle than they're worth, and you'll have to manage them to make sure they're working properly. Others you'll simply find difficult to work with due to personality clashes.
While it's possible to find a music manager who doesn't have much experience but is willing to learn, if your potential manager has any of these following traits, then it's probably best to avoid them.
Before I go into what these three traits are, if you want me to write a guide on the traits you should look for in a music manager (and how to find one), let me know in the comments. If I get enough requests I'll get it done. 🙂
Here are three traits to avoid in a music manger – Tweet This
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A Musician's Manager Should Not Be Shy
It's part of the music manager’s job role to regularly be in contact with other people in the music industry. They will have to contact people they've never spoken to before, and convince them to collaborate with you in a way that's mutually beneficial for all parties. Furthermore, they'll need to be open to people contacting them with job opportunities for you, as this will increasingly happen as you get more known.
If your manager is the shy type, they're going to find this side of things difficult. They may have the best intentions and think you make the best music, but if they're going to be too shy to ring around and face rejection on a daily basis, they aren't going to push you as much as they should be. Because the fact is, not everyone they contact is going to be interested in what your manager is offering.
One way to test if a manager is going to be too shy, is to hire them for a trial period. Get them to contact a select few people of your choosing, and also ask them to find and contact some other potential opportunities for you as well. See if they actively seek out new collaborations and potential jobs, or if they stick largely to the list you give them. If they only do your list (some may be hesitant to do even that), then they’re probably not the right manager for you.
Managers Can't Be Unorganized
As the name suggests, it's a music manager's job to manage you. In order to effectively manage something, you need to be an organized person.
During their job, there will be people they need to follow up with, paperwork that needs filling out, tasks that need to be done by certain dates… The list goes on.
The last thing you want to be doing is looking over your manager's shoulder to make sure everything gets done. They're meant to make your life easier by helping out with the things which you simply haven't got the time to do. If they're not organized enough to stay on top of the business side of things, then chances are they will actually start losing you job opportunities.
Now I know not every music manager has all the skills they need right away. Some learn on the job, and become very good at what they do. That said, even if their organization skills aren't the best to begin with, they need to be able to recognize that, and be willing to change if someone else points it out to them.
If they're willing to become more organized, fair enough. But if they're insistent that this method has always worked for them and they won't change, it could be time to part ways. As you grow, they'll find it harder and harder to keep up. It's possible to get away with chaos when you're still relatively new to the industry, but as you get more well known, being unorganized can be the difference between becoming a big act, and being that person who didn't quite make it. So avoid any manager who can't organize properly and stay on top of tasks.
Never Get A Lazy Music Manager
One of the last things you want to avoid in a manager is laziness. In fact, this is probably the biggest thing your manager can't be. They can be the smartest person you know with a fast tongue which can sell apples to a orange lover. But if they're too lazy to pick up that phone and make the needed calls, it's not going to count for much at all.
The thing is, you manager needs to be proactive! They need to be able to work off their own accord, and not only manage you, but manage themselves as well.
That said, not everyone is built like this. Some people need to have someone tell them what to do or they simply won't do anything. I know ‘managers' who are more than happy to sit around watching TV in their ‘spare time', when if they were serious about their act, they would use at least a good percentage of that time finding opportunities for them. But without someone pushing them to do so, they simply don't.
Again, this type of manager would be more hassle than they're worth, so avoid.
Not all managers are made evenly. There are a lot of people who like the idea of managing a music act, but not all people have the skills or motivation to do so.
When you're a new act, you may have to get a manger who is somewhat inexperienced, but is willing to learn on the job and is proactive. This is fine, as you'll both be growing together and moving things forward. If however you can see your manger has any of the above traits and isn't willing to do anything about them, this isn't something you should put up with.
So, are there any other traits you feel a music manager definitely shouldn't have? If so, let us know in the comments section.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!
I love this guide. These things make so much sense yet, I would’ve never thought of them on my own.
Please write a job on how to find a manager. I live in the DC metropolitan area. Althought I am closer to silver spring maryland.
Hi Carla. I can and will do a guide on finding a manager, but I won’t be able to make it area specific. I get a lot of people visiting this site from all over the world, so I need to make the advice some that will work for most people. But I’m sure it will still be helpful. 🙂
This article has come out at just the right time for me as I am about to sign a deal with a management team. I would definitely be interested in what you have to say about the traits a manager “should” have in hopes these will back up what I’m looking for.
I also think a manager should not be too pushy or overbearing and know that they are not the boss of you but rather, work for you, so you both get paid.
Thx Shaun x
Glad to hear it SunRize. Agreed on them working with you not being your boss, you need someone who you get along with on a professional level. I’ll definitely do a follow up to this guide, I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s out. 🙂
Hey Shaun, great article , yet you should write more as those things you’ve pointed out are sort of too obvious …not that I’m smart , but any manager HAVE to be organized ….in any business….it’s a common sense , no ? I mean if they are not organized they are not managers…period. Or shy….how one can be shy nova days ( especially in entertainment business !!!) …..I mean if you were shy in old good days you still would be having major problem with people being aware about you as you wouldn’t talk about yourself & your music , you wouldn’t be reaching out , you wouldn’t be approaching people , you wouldn’t be communicating with potential fans …. I mean you have to be damn good sales person in this business or just forget about the audience & making it ( regardless the level ) Especially now …in the age of “info overload” where the biggest challenge is to how one can stay above the noise…..
Speaking of sales & sales people : just like in the MI where we have more garbage then real thing there are bad sales peps and good ones …..roughly in the same proportion. And , of course , sales to sales are not the same and you have to be as creative as you are creative in your music …..
Again, not that I’m smart ..and this is my personal opinion and I could be wrong too, right ?:)
Love & Peace to all !
Hi Boris. While this may seem common sense to some, the truth is I see people with these kind of managers quite often. They might hire someone who’s their friend and says they want to be a manager, but then they have to manage their managers to get any work done. Or sometimes people find music managers online who look good on paper, yet don’t always work out quite as well as they’re supposed to.
It’s too easy to stick with a manager who isn’t doing the job if you don’t know any better. Some people have quick tongues, and will convince you that this is how things are done.
Like I said, there are a lot of people who know better than this. But that said, there are also a lot that don’t. So if you knew the info in this guide, fair enough. Hopefully some of the others will fill in areas which you don’t know as much about. 🙂
hi Shaun; thanks a bunch for this info. yes , if it’s not too difficult , please write something about finding managers.
keep it up! thanks
Hi Roy. No it’s not too difficult, I’ve plenty of knowledge on how to find a manger. I’ll be sure to get the guide up in the not too distant future. 🙂
Great guide. Makes a lot of sense. But I realised most people have the ‘fear of abdicating control’., allowing someone else to steer the way for you, and rather preferring to take care of things themselves. How to deal with such a situation would be likewise helpful.
Glad you liked it Anthony! I totally get that fear, and it’s something I’ll address in a future guide. Thanks for the feedback.
This guide was very informative and I would like to read a guide on the traits to look for in a manager as well.
That’s been taken into account TK. 🙂
Shaun you are so on about your comments on managers. I have had those experiences
The frustrating thing is I have a very talented 10 piece band. We do shows on the condo/ country club scene that gets standing ovations. We have been voted as the top 3 band to play the river walk jazz brunch serious in Fort Lauderdale. I get fan mail on my songs from Radio Air play.
But trying to get to the big festivals like Montreal and Clearwater. As manager with connections would be a big help.
Where do you go. At present I manage my band.
This band deserves to be doing the big festivals.
Would love to hear from you http://www.tkbluband.com
Check the video page
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