In today’s independent music environment the onus for success is totally on the artist. It’s basically up to them to do it all. This includes marketing, media relations, promotion, distribution… you name it! As an independent artist you find yourself completely on your own to do it all by yourself.
Although it’s a very good idea to be an active partner in the business end of your music promotion and music career, which after all — is your business, many obstacles could come between you and your success. These barriers are pretty obvious.
Your time could be far better spent on the creative end of your music career as a performing and recording artist. You may lack the necessary connections and music publicity contacts to properly advance your music career further. Or it can simply come down to the fact that you’re overwhelmed by it all and just have no clue where to begin. If you’ve attempted to gain the attention of a well connected artist management firm or band manager that often time provides these services or connects you with them, then you may found yourself running into a brick wall.
There was a time in the music business when it was not as difficult to gain representation from a reputable / well-connected artist management firm, where the typical 20% commission off the top end was standard remuneration for their management services. In some cases, even when the artist was not actually bringing in a lot in the way of commissionable income, some reputable artist management firms (and major record labels), put faith in the idea that if the artist had major potential, and they believed in them, they were more willing to spend their time and own money to further develop and promote them. This of course essentially boils down to risky predictions. Something a financial investor might do. However, Artist Managers are not investors!
In today’s music world, it’s unbelievable to imagine the enormous amount of competition any independent artist would be up against. Speculating with those kinds of odds is just not something a creditable management firm or even a smaller independent record label is willing to do any more. Before even considering signing a new artist to any kind of record deal or recording contract, any label (big or small) will look for and expect nothing less than a fully developed act. The artist must already have a respectable fan base, performance history, social media buzz, a relatable story and significant proof of independent record sales. The same goes for a reputable artist management firm where a commission based roster signing applies. Now of course there’s always your good friend or close relative who believes in you and is willing to be your manager — but let’s be realistic here: Just how far can they take you? You might as well do it yourself. If you are truly serious about accelerating your music career, and for many of the reasons stated above, you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, then you need some professional representation or guidance. This is where a short-term / interim artist management-consultant may be able to provide the promotional services that you need to move ahead.
Engaging a short-term management-consultant at the beginning stages of an independent artists’ career can fulfill an important role. If you manage to find a consultant that is actually an artist manager with a high degree of music business creditability, connections, and experience that will professionally advise and represent you in all aspects of your music career and with no contractual commitment, it could be a very smart move.
Artist Management-Consultants are becoming an extremely popular avenue for Independent / DIY (Do-It-Yourself) artists and musicians. They benefit from all the skills of a well-connected manager while they are still a bit under developed and not quite ready for major representation. Many music business consultants work on a retainer or hourly basis to guide and accelerate your music career. Once they have helped to propel your career to a sustainable level – some arrangements can eventually shift to a commission based roster scenario at your request.
If you are lucky enough to acquire the services of a reputable well connected roster based artist management firm on a commission-only basis, then by all means you should consider going for it — after of course you have checked them out thoroughly and before entering into a long term contract. However, the harsh reality of this occurring when you may be at a beginning to intermediate stage of your development is unfortunately slim to none – specially if you don’t meet at least some or most of the previously mentioned prerequisites (fan base, performance history, social media buzz, independent record sales, etc.).
By bringing on a reliable and professional music management consultant who will work hard on you behalf and get results in the advancement of your music career, their modest retainer or consulting fee will be money well spent. In the long run they can surely help you advance your career to higher levels, eventually opening doors and facilitating the attention of reputable booking agents, professional roster based management firms, record labels, music publishing companies, and music licensing opportunities.
Hiring a short term well connected and experienced artist management or music business consultant to professionally represent, advise, promote, and market your music career can be a great alternative to the standard commitment of roster based management, which would be next to impossible to get at the early to mid stages of development. One of the great benefits of hiring a short-term interim consultant is that if you’re not happy with your manager-consultant’s performance, or you can no longer afford them, then you can simply end your relationship with them at any time. You can’t fire a roster based management firm that would most probably have an iron clad contract in place.
The basic theory behind starting out with an Artist Management Consultant at the beginning stages of your development is that they are able to advise, develop, and promote your music career to the point where you become more attractive to a reputable roster based management firm and record label. And if you’re happy with the results shown by your management-consultant, there’s also the possibility of changing the terms of your temporary agreement and entering into a commitment with them for commission-based roster management.
The beauty of this possibility is that through your previous working relationship you have essentially built the foundation of trust, loyalty, and respect, which is crucial in any artist – manager relationship. Before you sign the standard 2-4 year management contract and give up roughly 20% of your earnings, you’ll know with peace of mind, exactly how effective your manager will be for you, and the kind of performance you can expect moving forward because it has already been demonstrated.