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Advice for aspiring music managers

Gold records

For a lot of people, it’s simply a given that they’ll have a career in music. If you’ve been obsessed with music for a long time now, and you’ve hit a point where you’ve accepted that you’re probably not going to be a professional artist, you can still have a fulfilling and exciting career as a music manager. If you’ve got your heart set on this career path, here are some valuable tips we’ve brought together.

Know what you’re getting into

Although all good managers should have a passion for music, a passion for music does not automatically qualify you to be a good manager. Before you make any serious moves into the music industry, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Yes, you’ll get to meet a lot of great artists, have an important role in their success, and even travel to a range of exciting locations. However, this career isn’t without its drawbacks. You’ll need to be on call pretty much 24/7, have to deal with some big egos, and ultimately, you’ll need to be a businessperson, who only gets paid if their bands or artists do.

Go where the music is

Seen as you’re reading this, I’m sure that you go to a lot of gigs as it is. However, if you really want to get the best start in your career as a music manager, you may need to broaden your horizons somewhat. If you’re into pop and R&B, start going to a rock and metal gig now and then. If you’re into hip hop, start frequenting a jazz venue. You may have to grit your teeth through some of the tracks you really don’t like, but if you’re put together the right way, you’ll start to get a feel for which artists are marketable and which aren’t.

Get an education

While it isn’t strictly necessary to have a degree to become a successful music manager, various colleges such as NYU do have degrees specifically on music management. Something in law, communications and business can also help. Whatever your plans are with formal education, it’s essential to educate yourself on the music industry, and specifically the role of managers. Study the careers of success stories like Coran Capshaw, and network with established managers to ask about any common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Consider working for a firm

While the most successful managers out there are completely independent business entities, there are many who started their careers working for larger music management firms. Getting started like this will give you a lot of valuable experience in the industry, and protect you from any big financial failure which could leave you totally discouraged. True, it will take a little longer to get to the stage you want to achieve, but starting out at a firm is one of the best ways to step onto the learning curve.

If you’re set on a career in music management, I hope these tips set you on the right track!

Photograph by Pinnacle College

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