What does a manager do for a music artist?

You might be wondering whether you need a manager for your band or solo career. But what does a musician manager do?

Music management is one of those industry roles that everyone is sure they understand – but when it comes down to explaining what the actual role of a manager is a lot of people draw a blank.

Thinking of hiring a music manager? Time to explore whether or not you need one, and if it’ll help your career.


What a music manager does

Let’s start with this handy video:

Managers are a bit like a work parent, looking after you and your music career.

They usually get paid by taking a small percentage of your earnings, and in exchange handle all the aspects of the business that you don’t have time for. Whilst you’re busy writing and recording music, they’ll be overseeing everything from accounting to marketing, booking interviews, networking, and organising your online presence.


What makes a good artist manager?

A good manager will know the music industry inside and out.

Managers should get to know you very well as a person. They’ll talk you down from making bad decisions and talk you up to everyone; they’ll give you tough love when it’s needed, and help settle squabbles between bandmates and between artists and labels.

An open and honest relationship is key. Your manager needs to be someone who you get on with and respect, and who understands your personality – because when you end up in complicated or stressful situations they’ll be right there beside you, motivating you to keep going.

They’ve got to love your music and be totally committed to your vision of your future, whether that’s being a big star, playing the festival circuit, or leaving you to focus on composing original and artistic music.

If an artist manager is just in it for the money, your relationship will go sour very quickly.


Do you need a manager?

Whilst getting a manager might seem like the next step for a musician on the way to success, there’s no rule that says artists have to hire a manager. If you’re business savvy and an organised, driven person, you can do all the jobs a manager does by yourself.

A manager is an extra pair of hands and a shoulder to lean on – they’re not the magic fix for success. Even with a manger, you’ll still need to focus up and keep working hard to make your music the best it can be, whilst navigating the industry in a smart and professional way.

Having no manager is far better than having a bad manager who is interested in their own success above yours. Nowadays independent artists can have incredible success with a DIY approach – certainly at the beginning of your artist journey. That’s the spirit that we love here at RouteNote.

Our unlimited digital music distribution gives you the tools you need to release your music into the world on your own terms. We can get your tracks onto Spotify and other massive platforms for free.

Once your music is online and building momentum, you might realise you’d like someone to help oversee all the moving pieces of your music career. Or – you might fall in love with the independent lifestyle, and decide you don’t need a manager after all.


Want your music on Apple Music, Spotify and all the other major streaming services, as well as across social media like TikTok and Instagram? Head here to find out how RouteNote can get your music heard around the world – for free.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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