Wondering who you need on your side to help your music career take off? In this guide, we round up the 4 essential key players of a successful artist team.
Written by amuse
One of the biggest misconceptions about pursuing an independent music career is that you have to do it alone. As a musician, the team you build around you is just as important as the quality of music you make, and having the right support team is critical to the success of every artist.
As your career develops and grows, you should consider building a team of four key people to help you accelerate your career — a manager, a booking agent, a PR manager, and a lawyer. 💯
A manager is probably the most important person in any artist’s team — they’re the ones with the pre-existing relationships with labels, agencies, publicists, and promoters and the ones who know the industry inside out.
From building your brand to negotiating business deals, managers are your right-hand person and are in charge of spearheading your career. Your manager should be the first person you bring into your team as they’ll help you set the strategy for everything else.
Whether you’ve been approached by a manager or are looking for one yourself, there are a few key qualities you need to look out for. Your manager should have a complete understanding of the music industry, especially contract, and intellectual property law, and experience with negotiating deals, licensing and publishing, booking, touring, finance and accounting, marketing, and business planning.
The role of your booking agent is to make sure you’re playing the right shows, whether it’s festivals, club nights, concerts, or personal appearances. Your booking agent is also responsible for booking your own tours, and liaising with venues, promoters, and potential sponsors.
Your booking agent should have a strong network of industry contacts and a good reputation — getting access to the best venues, stages, or set times often comes down to relationships, so make sure you choose someone with a proven reputation (ask around in the industry if you need some recommendations or references).
Want to premiere your new track on a blog? Keen to set up radio or TV interviews? Your PR Manager is the person handling all your publicity and press needs. Basically, publicists know exactly how and when to generate noise and excitement about you.
When you’re releasing a new song or promoting a tour, your publicist will arrange media interviews, and public appearances and get your name in the news on blogs and radio. Some publicists also offer playlist pitching.
Look for a PR Manager with a large network of media contacts, working knowledge of the current media landscape and proven case studies from their work with other artists (ask for these when you’re interviewing potential candidates).
Publicists generally work on a monthly retainer for a fixed number of hours around key projects (like album releases or tours), so if you’re going to hire one, make sure you do it at least 6 weeks out from your release date. They’ll need as much time as possible to develop your communications strategy, prepare assets and start conversations about you with their contacts.
While your music manager is the most important member of your music team, the most powerful is your lawyer. The role of the entertainment lawyer is to deal on your behalf with all the negotiations and contracts you encounter during your career — whether it’s dealing with publishers or labels, managers or agents. A good music lawyer should have a solid understanding of the music industry, and copyright laws, and have experience writing and reviewing contracts with record labels, booking agents, distributors, and managers.