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Finding A Manager
By Jaci Rae
(more articles from this author)
2000-09-17
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Finding a manager is not an easy feat, but nothing you do on this journey is. If you don't already have a manager, you may not need one. It is our experience that you can only go so far without one. Here are a few questions you should ask a manager to find out if they will be a good fit for your musical career.

What style of music do you represent?
How big do you think for your clients?
Do you consider and pursue corporate sponsorships, etc.?
What territory do you cover?
How are you paid - what is your percentage rate?

Be sure to contact them prior to sending out packets and get permission to send them a packet so your precious commodity does not end up coming back to you unopened if you are lucky, thrown away if you are not. (See Chapter 11 in our book, to learn how to prepare a professional and eye catching press kit, one that will get you noticed.)

If you find that you want recommendations for management, contact the major record labels and ask the staff who they use. That will help you determine whom you should contact for management. Just a word of warning however, most of the managers who are associated with major-labels, will not accept submissions from anyone other than these labels or high profile industry contacts. But that doesn't mean you can't contact the managers the major-labels recommended and try to pitch your music anyway. Someone may say yes! (See Chapter 12, pages 79-87 for names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses when available for the managers that were recommended to us when researching this book by major and minor labels, and by other industry professionals. Most of the managers in our book, accept submissions from artists, but be sure to check first.)''

Most managers will only take a percentage rate of any venues or money they are involved in bringing in for you and your company. Note that I said, money they are INVOLVED in bringing in for you - Not money or gigs they had nothing to do with procuring for you. Below is the standard rate chart per industry professionals we have interviewed:

10-15% for a lesser-known manager.
20% for a well-known manager.

As I just stated, they should only be taking their percentage from projects they are actually involved in. E.g., if they were involved in your CD from the beginning and helped you get the people you needed to do the CD, then they should get a percentage of the sales AFTER you have covered all your expenses from sales and start to make a profit. They should not get ANY percentage from something they had nothing to do with. Example: Let's say you have a gig opening for a famous act that you worked hard to get, and you got it alone, your manager had nothing to do with getting you the opening gig. They should not require you to pay them a percentage of that gig. Make sure you and your lawyer check for any hidden areas in your contract that may state that they get a percentage of any and all monies you earn. There are some pretty sneaky contracts; I have seen them myself. Unless you were looking for that kind of clause, you would not have seen it!

Steer clear of anyone who asks for money up front, or states that they want a percentage of any and all money you earn. Here is the reasoning behind this, and I have spoken with several reputable Mangers and Management firms, some of the largest in the industry, who have confirmed my suspicions. Why should they work for you if they are already getting paid, whether or not they get work for you? There are no legitimate managers that we know of or that any of the industry professionals we spoke with in researching this book, who ask for money up front, or a monthly salary. The ones that do are usually trying to start up their own business and are using you like a bank loan they don't have to pay back. Additionally, they probably do not believe in you enough to take a risk. Let's address the first part of this last sentence. You are starting your own business; can you afford to start someone else's business too? The second part is obvious. Why would you want to work with anyone who does not believe in you? Most likely they would not work hard for you anyway. The biggest point is...they make their money if you make money, so that will motivate them to get you gigs!

Not to be too redundant, but it's too important that I believe the 3rd time is the charm. Never pay a professional management firm, agent, talent agent, casting personnel, or anyone, money up front to find work for you. The likelihood of them doing anything to further your career is very low, and the chance of them taking your money without doing anything is extremely high. Stay away from these types of deals. There are legitimate, hard working managers who will not charge you anything up front. Don't let anyone try to tell you that it is the industry standard to charge up front either. IT ISN'T! Check around, ask other managers, and see what they have to say. They will say the same thing I am.  Don't go there. Once your package is submitted to a manager, give them a few weeks to review it, and then call them up and ask what they thought, and if they are interested in representing you.

With any management firm, you will need to sign a contract. It is essential that you get a lawyer involved at this point. You should never sign any contract that has to do with you and future money, until you let legal counsel who are well versed in these areas to advise you. (Hire a lawyer who specializes in entertainment contracts. This is very important!)  

Also, the same rules apply to booking agencies, as do managers. Never sign a contract until you have had your lawyer look it over and exam it for any clause that states the booking agency gets a percentage from any money you make whether or not they had anything to do with it. NSR's management firm just had a booking agent try to pull that one over on us, of course we new better, but I have spoken with so many Indies that had never heard of anything like this, and would have never thought to look for that hidden clause. The contract we were given to sign and of course didn't, said in hidden legal e's and small print, that the booking agent would also receive 5% extra on any and all money I earned, outside of the 15% that the booking agent would receive for any venues they procured for me. That meant anything I earned, even if it had nothing to do with music. What a scam!

Also, NEVER sign an exclusive contract. If you sign an exclusive booking contract you are stuck if the booking agent doesn't do anything for you as far as procuring gigs for you and your band. There are only a few Major booking agencies that will require you to sign an exclusive contract. One that we know of is William Morris Agency. The name speaks for itself, and you can rest assured that if you sign with an agency like that your chances are very high for getting work. If an unknown booking agency states they require you to sign an exclusive contract, say NO! If you sign an exclusive contract, you will not be able to accept any gigs from outside firms, and any gigs that you may have gotten by yourself, or already had as standing gigs, you will not be allowed to continue with. Exclusive means just that. Indies usually have several booking agencies they are signed with, because as Indies, we are not usually privy to the very large booking agencies that have a lot of contacts. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket or you will end up with nothing at Easter time! Good luck and best wishes in your career.

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Creating a Press Kit That Catches Their Eye (1999-10-05)


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