You must be really into the performing arts if you want to be a band manager. You don’t actually need to be a musician in order to manage a band, but you will need a taste for a life on the road and a liking for music, especially the type of music performed by the sort of band you will have to manage. Here in this article, we walk you through the steps you need to go through in order to be a decent band manager, from what sort of education you will need to what you need to do once you get out of school. If you want to be a band manager in the future, or even if you are just curious about what it takes to be one, we believe this article shall tell you all you will ever want to know.
To put it very simply, a band manager represents and promotes musical acts. The responsibilities of a band manager include booking venues for performances, negotiating record deals with music companies, ensuring the timely functioning of the band and the keeping of other commitments, etc. The band manager may also sometimes have to communicate with the press on behalf of the band and give out press releases in their name and maintain an overall desirable image of the artists in public. Along with the responsibilities related to the band itself, they have to deal with duties related to other members of the entourage. The job includes a lot of travel, with managers often being on the road with the band for months at a stretch. There is also the constant pressure of meeting deadlines and ensuring that programs are carried out to the last detail.
Let us get into some of the requirements of being a band manager:
Obviously, someone who wants to be a band manager will need a certain degree of working knowledge about music. Most band managers have at least a Bachelor’s degree in music, music management, or music business, which focuses on both the creative and the business aspects of the music industry, without going too deeply into either. A course in music management will typically include topics such as business management, record company operations, music publishing, product development, legal issues within the music industry, and tour management. Business studies such as accounting, finance, communication, digital marketing, and web design are also included in a course for music management. Students will also have to study some amount of musical theory and the history and evolution of music as well. Some popular schools which offer degrees in music management are — DePaul University, South Dakota State University, Southwestern College, Ferris State University, Winona State University, Florida Atlantic University, University of Washington, and Minnesota State University. In case it is not possible for someone to get a degree in music management, one can also get a Bachelor’s degree in the performing arts and then go for a degree in business management.
A band manager has to do a lot of things on behalf of the band, and the job can be quite stressful. Since they are the official voice of the band for the press and the public, they need to possess excellent communication skills, both written and oral. Furthermore, they will also need to be good negotiators with sharp abilities at persuasion, as they have to negotiate and enter into record deals and tour contracts for the band. Additionally, they will have to manage the band’s social media which will require good technical skills such as website building and digital product management. Sometimes, if the band is big enough, the band manager gets a team to work under them which includes different members in charge of different aspects of the job. They need to stay up to date with the trends in the industry to ensure that their band does not miss out on any good opportunities. They also sometimes need to ensure that their band does not run into problems with the law and that there is no unnecessary conflict within the band, for which they must have competent conflict management and people skills. Rock bands are notorious for being difficult to manage in this respect. Finally, they have to ensure that everything happens on time and that details are spared to ensure that the band gives out as flawless a product as possible to the public, and will thus need to be level-headed and rational in their approach to everything.
Simple education and some skills are not enough to be a good band manager, one needs some solid experience in the industry as well. This is a business after all, and like all other businesses, one needs to understand its nitty-gritty well in order to be a success. A common way of gaining experience in this field for students is to sign up for internships at record labels. Record companies may assign duties such as designing their websites and other online marketing tools, participating in different sales projects, and managing the social media accounts of the label company and the artists they manage, to their interns. They may also be required to work as a part of a band’s street team, which is essentially a group of people to connect physically with the fans and pass out marketing material to them. This may seem like a hectic job, but this also allows interns to work directly with band managers, which in turn enables them to study the role and understand how a band manager goes about their job. after finishing an internship, a student may join a record company as an employee and work their way up to be a band manager with them, or they may set up their own individual brand identity. Unsigned bands generally prefer to work with independent managers as they tend to be cheaper and are free from most of the shackles of corporate red tape. In order to attract bands, a band manager needs to establish a robust presence on social media so that they can attract prospective clients easily and be easily available.
Building the business:
After one has completed their education, polished up their skills, and gained some valuable experience, it is now time to get down to business and one’s own brand. A band manager needs to visit a lot of local gigs such as open mics and band competitions to look for unsigned musical acts. Like all other businesses, one has to start small and begin with small acts. Almost every legendary rock band which we know of today started out with small undiscovered acts at local pubs and other such social places. Every band manager looks for acts that might be the next big thing, and will eventually contact them if something catches their eye. Once they discover a band at a local setting, which has an act they like, the next step is to sit down with them and see if the band is willing to do business. The first discussion determines if there is mutual understanding and a match in values, work ethics, and goals between the members of the band and the manager, and results in the creation of a feasible business plan which outlines the responsibilities of all the parties involved. Once a contract is signed between the manager and the band, the band manager sets to work by creating or polishing up the band’s identity and image, establishing an attractive profile for the group on social media, and even setting them up to record a demo which can be later used to pitch the band’s talent to recording companies. Once this is done, the band manager starts contacting record labels and relevant publications such as newspapers and magazines related to the music industry in order to build up new opportunities for the group in the form of positive media coverage and performance slots in different venues. At the beginning of a band’s career, it is important to get noticed by as many people as possible. Once a band manager has successfully established a band’s career by signing them up with record companies and getting them large gigs across a wide audience, more offers will start pouring in.
Being a band manager is hard work. It basically means being a parent to all the members of the band and ensuring that everything is done right and on time, that the band gets on the bus and shows up for interviews and sound checks, even when the artists do not feel like doing so. They work in both the creative and the business areas of the music industry. A band manager may be employed by a record company and assigned bands as part of their job, or maybe directly employed by one band and managing everything about them. They might be managing multiple bands at one go or dedicating all their time to one particular band. One needs to wear many hats while being a band manager, and if being persistent is not your cup of tea, then we would not recommend this career for you. You would need to set up a lot of contacts within the music industry while working as a band manager, which will help you later on. But if you enjoy a job which requires you to travel a lot and meet and work with new people all the time, then go for it.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I be a band manager with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration?
One needs to know about running a business in order to be a band manager, but be well-versed with music in theory as well. You would need some knowledge and experience that is specific to the music industry, and if you really want to be a band manager then we recommend you sign up for an internship with a record company during or right after your college education.
How often would I need to scout for acts when I am starting out as a band manager?
You will essentially be looking for your next job while scouting for musical acts with potential, so obviously you would have to do it quite frequently until you land at least one job. there are places that hold regular shows for new and upcoming bands, and managers often visit those places to look for newer acts. You would have to do the same.