While revising the site’s “About” page, I realized that it’s been a while since I wrote about one of the most important skills for a music manager to develop: the ability to rally and display support.
Bands often get stuck on bookings because talent buyers hate to coordinate shows directly with artists. It doesn’t help much that generations of musicians have cultivated a stereotype of being flaky, unreliable, unaware of how business works, or flat-out disconnected to economic reality. (I’m sure you’re not like that.)
That’s why it’s nearly impossible these days to find a talent buyer willing to answer the phone when you call them.
However, if you’ve got a booking agent, it’s a different story.
The presence of a booking agent on your success team means that someone believes enough in your project to invest their own time in developing your business, in exchange for 10-15% of what should hopefully be a well-negotiated deal.
For music managers, securing a booking agent is one of the most important first steps of developing a new artist’s career. It triangulates interest in an artist, signaling that more than one professional has jumped on the bandwagon. More importantly, it tells other people in the community that the artist has enough audience support to sustain the revenue necessary to pay monthly commissions.
Other success team members can be hired on as freelancers: publicists, assistants, street team leaders. But managers and booking agents send strong signals to the music establishment that an artist has become serious about developing their career.
The more influencers a manager can turn into fans of a project, the faster an artist can achieve their goals. That’s where music managers have to become powerful negotiators. In a business where lots of folks have “very good” projects, the ability to persuade folks to hop on the bandwagon makes a huge difference.
That’s why “connections” aren’t as important in today’s music business. Everybody is one degree away from Clive Davis. But if you got a talent buyer or a radio program director alone in an elevator, could you intrigue them enough to get another meeting? Could you get a commitment to review a track or to provide a promotional blurb?
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