There comes a time in every successful band’s career when it’s time to ask: is it time to get a manager? The answer is never simple. While a manager can make your lives easier, a bad deal can hold you back and potentially end your career. So before you even start phishing around for a manager, ask yourselves these questions to figure out if you really need one.
Is This Just a Hobby?
No one should be spending money on a manager for their hobby. It’s ok if, for the time being, music is your side gig. Everyone needs to pay the bills and day jobs can leave very little room for personal projects. The thing is, you need to be honest with yourself and figure out if music is something you want to eventually do for a living, or if it’s just a fun hobby you can do on the side. If it’s something you’re just doing for kicks, don’t waste money and time on a manager. That’s just going to be like burning a hole through your wallet.
Are You Just Starting Out?
If so, the easy answer is: no, you should not get a manager. There are several things that you need to work out before bringing a manager into the mix. At the very least, you need to have original material to promote. Even better if you’ve actually played a few gigs and made a name for yourself around town.
Is All Your Time Spent Promoting Your Music?
A big part of your time should go towards promotion and booking venues. However, it should not, by any means, be something that gets in the way of practicing or writing new music. The same is true for doing media outreach. If at some point you’re getting way too many offers or having to spend way too much time dealing with the business side of music, it’s time to get a manager.
Are There Good Enough Alternatives?
In other words, could you get away with a friend? Sometimes you’ll get to know someone that isn’t a professional manager but that’s exactly what they want to be. So, they don’t have the experience, but they have the drive and the incentive. This can be awesome for you and your friend. You get a manager without having to sell a kidney for it, and your friend gets first-hand experience. This is a good arrangement for bands that are starting out but are already struggling to keep all their ducks in a row. Generally the manager will work for a percentage of what the band makes which can also help reduce costs. It really is a win-win situation for bands that don’t have a big budget, and those interested in a career managing bands.
Whatever you do, know that getting a manager is a big decision. This is not something to be taken lightly and everyone in the band should agree. If it’s the right move for you, be sure to research a lot and ask around before agreeing to anything.