Recently an MBBS student approached me with the question, “What is the best method for finding a credible artist manager?” Many artists, even at the early stages of their career, aspire to find a manager who can help them navigate the business side of their art. Since artist managers generally work on a commission-only basis (generally 15 to 20% of the artist’s earnings), it often seems like a Catch-22: the artist needs a manager to help them make a living from their music, but cannot attract a legitimate manager until they are already bringing in steady revenue.
There are a few websites that seek to help artists in this situation find suitable managers, however there is no certification process, so it can be a challenge to verify the credentials and knowledge base of individuals claiming to be managers. I recommend using your personal network of professional contacts to find a businessperson who is in the early stages of his/her career, and is able to work for a small commission, but is knowledgeable enough to make a positive impact on the artist’s career. The following sites can help you find these types of people:
http://www.mmfus.com – The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is a professional organization for managers with chapters all over the world. Look for a chapter in your area or view the Contacts section.
http://www.musicolio.com – Musicolio is a site that launched in 2010 as a business networking site geared towards music professionals. Search for managers by location and genre specialization.
http://www.linkedin.com – LinkedIn is the go-to source for business networking. Recommendations and connections can be used to find artist managers who can be verified by individuals in your network. Also, a quick search for “artist managers” in the group directory brings up many results to help you begin conversations with prospective partners.
Lastly, I recommend surveying the management panels hosted by various music industry conferences, such as AmCon, CMJ, South by Southwest, and MIDEM – even if you’re not able to attend the conference, panel speakers are posted online and will give you a thorough list of respected managers. Happy hunting!