Being a musician is fun, but it doesn't mean you have to go at it alone. The key to a thriving music career is having a good team of passionate and motivated people working alongside you.
Below you will find a list of roles that are imperative to building your team in the long run. It is not always realistic to go into your music career with a full team right of the bat. In fact, when you first start out, you may need to take on some of these roles yourself until you're ready to take the next step.
Managers are often the first people to join a musician's team. They know the ins and outs of the music industry and will help guide your growth strategy to ensure that all moving parts are moving smoothly. A good manager will believe in you and your music and understand your vision enough to the point where they can negotiate deals and build your brand on your behalf. They will be your biggest advocate, right-hand-man, bad-cop to your good-cop, and a firm negotiator.
Managers typically have pre-existing relationships with agencies, publicists, writers, lawyers and distributors and are tasked with helping musicians add to their team. A manager will be by your side throughout the entire process and, while you will always have the ability to make the final call, their guidance should be taken seriously. Your role as an artist working with an artist manager is to see the big picture while understanding the steps your manager is taking to get you there.
When to hire a manager: when you think you’ve done enough on your own, and need an extra set of hands to get you to the next level
Payment structure: commission-based compensation with managers generally earning 15% to 20%
Tasks - Manages day-to-day operations - Oversees outside contractors - Helps with career strategy - Coordinates scheduling - Pitches you to other team members - Acts as the middle-man/woman in business transactions - Helps take your career to the next level
A booking agent's job is to pitch and negotiate live show deals on your behalf. So, they definitely know what they're doing when it comes to curating lineups and booking shows.
An agent makes sense once you've got a good grasp of booking in and around your hometown. If you're looking to get a tour or major gig going, a booking agent is the next step. Having an agent might also give you access to bigger acts that you might not have been able to reach on your own. And the best way to attract an agent is to build up your following on your own.
When to hire a booking agent: once you’ve outgrown your DIY booking hustle-- typically when you want to start booking out of state runs and tours.
Payment structure: commission-based compensation with booking agents generally earning 10%-15% of the net revenue from the shows they’ve booked
Tasks - Communicate with promoters and venues on your behalf - Negotiates shows for you on your behalf
- Leverages their relationships with musicians, promoters, and venues to book you shows that would be difficult for you to book on your own
How are people going to learn about your music if they never come across your name? This is where having a publicist will come in handy. Good publicity will help grow your reach and gain new fans.
Typically, publicists are hired for individual campaigns like tours and album releases. They know all about your story and are able to strategize interesting ways to pitch your music to writers and publications. Sometimes, publicists will work with photographers and videographers to create promotional content on your behalf while others offer social media and marketing services to make sure you have a consistent online brand.
At the end of the day, your publicist is responsible for creating a buzz about you, which is sometimes difficult to do on your own. Regardless of how much your publicist takes on in terms of marketing — you and your manager should be ensuring your publicist is 100% on top of their work.
When to hire a Publicist: as soon as you can afford to. If money is tight, at the bare minimum, hire one when you have something newsworthy like an album release or tour
Payment Structure: serviced-based, usually monthly for the duration of a campaign or a flat-rate for the entire project
Tasks - Helps to secure media such as tv and radio interviews, blogs or newspaper press - Acts as a liaison between the musician and the media - Media outreach - Ensuring your brand is consistent in print and online
An entertainment lawyer is imperative if you see music as more than a hobby. When you first start a band, it’s important to cover your bases when it comes to Intellectual Property and to develop a band agreement in the case of your band breaking up or changing members.
An entertainment attorney can help advise in a variety of legal matters, some of which include copyright and trademark consultations, inter-band agreements, business filings, and overseeing any big contracts that come your way. When looking to hire a lawyer, it’s important to hire a lawyer that specializes in entertainment law and has experience working in the music industry.
When to hire a lawyer: When you’re first putting a band together and before signing important contracts or making big decisions
Payment Structure: hourly rate
Tasks - Aids with writing/settling contracts - Counsels you with legal advice - Specializes in entertainment agreements - Copyright and trademark consulting - Drafting band agreements and helping set up business entities
What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to building your team? We would love to hear about it in the comments section!