So you’ve recorded a cd, played some pretty big shows, and are making some noise in your local scene…now what? Do you know how to take your career to the next level? After a certain point, bands need to start looking at putting together a team to help them get further in the industry. This is where the Artist Professional Team comes in. This is your elite team of industry insiders that are diligently working to get your music and your band out to the public…or at least that’s what they should be doing. It’s important to know the role of each member of your professional team so that you can hire the best person for the job.
Probably the most important person working for your band, the personal manager is essentially the quarterback of your band. They’re responsible for coordinating all efforts between the band and your record label, radio promoter, publicist, publisher, booking agent, and business manager and all other music contacts. Your personal manager should be the first member of your team that you choose, and can then help you assemble the rest of your team. The manager will also usually make some business decisions for the band, assist in the creative process, as well as working with your record label. Personal Managers usually take about 15-20% of a band’s gross income.
You may not be able to afford a business manager at first, but the more money you start making, the more likely it is that you’re going to need a business manager. The business manager usually collects royalty checks for the artists, takes care of their bills, and makes sure to properly handle all taxes and investments on behalf of the artist. Business managers are usually CPAs and can either take 5% of the artist’s gross income, or work for an hourly rate or flat fee.
Probably the most powerful member of your music contacts will be your attorney. The attorney deals on your behalf with all the major power brokers you encounter during the course of your career. Your attorney should be heavily involved in negotiations whenever you sign contracts with publishers, labels, managers, and agent. Many of the most prominent entertainment attorneys are based in New York and Los Angeles, but others have been spreading to cities such as Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Attorneys can either take 5% of any deals they negotiate, or can work for an hourly rate or flat fee.
Having the right booking agent can make the difference between playing a good show and playing a great show. Agents are responsible for scheduling live performances for artists for either individual dates, or regional and national tours. You want to find a talented agent that has established relationships with many of the big name venues all throughout the country. Booking agents can sometimes be the most difficult member of your team to secure because you often need to convince them that you are worth their time and effort. Agents usually take 10% of the artist gross for live performances, not including merchandise.
The publicist’s job is to obtain media coverage for clients in print, tv, and electronic media. Their responsibilities usually include securing media coverage, mailing/emailing press kits to music writers, communicating with the manager/agent/record label, and hiring hair and makeup teams for tv and magazine shoots. Publicists can get paid anywhere from $1500-$5000 per month and usually begin work several months before major releases and announcements.
By Ryan J. Colburn