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Does your band have a manager?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by submelodic, Nov 14, 2003.


  1. submelodic

    submelodic

    Feb 7, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    If your band has good, effective management (professional or amateur), I'd be interested in hearing how the relationship started.

    If your manager approached you, how did that situation develop? Advice? Suggestions?
     
  2. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Simply put, any band can do what a manager supposedly does.

    All it takes is a little legwork in contacting the right people, putting together a good demo and promo pack and making sure it gets to the right people.

    IME you only NEED a manager if you don't have the time or the inclination to do the promo work yourselves.

    Sorry, I know that doesn't really answer your question, per se, but I felt the need to weigh in. :)
     
  3. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    True, but time and ability are issues. Management takes on many forms. You can have a "Manager" that is involved in all your daily business as a band from image, material, promotion, and so on. Some bands have a business manager that takes care of money and details for things such as taxes, expenses, compensation, etc. Others have a stage manager that helps with equipment, stage setup, and tour destinations. A manager is basically someone who helps a band do something that they cannot or will not do.

    My band uses a couple of booking agents, and it works out well for us. We don't have to worry much about looking for work, so we can concentrate on other things. It doesn't mean we can't book our own gigs, because we do. It's nice ot have another set of eyes,ears, and legs to work with us. We take care of all the other stuff, in terms of promotion, material, etc. The booking agent helps out, but it's not his responsibility. It's in his best interest to promote, so he does.

    So having a "manager" is not a bad thing if you look at it as having a helper. Sometimes the helpers are volunteers, other times they are profiteers. It's up to you to decide what it's worth.

    As far as how the relationship started, our Drummer contacted them and gave em a spiel and promo materials, and then it was just a matter of performing.
     
  4. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    If you need a manager [... Frankencow, gone so long only to return with such an inauspicious post.]

    Edited by Smash.
    .
     
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    More likely an adult that has other stuff to do like a day job or a family, or a professional that is working on MUSIC, not the music business.

    Frankencow, before you start saying stuff like that you should spend some time in the music biz. Playing at the local pool in your subdivision in Montgomery county is only a start. For what you are doing, you don't need a manager. But if you want to go further, it may help. Especially considering you aren't old enough to even get into a club to talk to someone who might book you or take you seriously as a bookable band.

    Plenty of bands use management in some form, and most of them are gigging more than you are. I would dare say that almost all successful acts have some type of management, whether it is a professional manager, stage manager, accountant, booking agent, or a friend or family member that helps out with stuff.

    I have a day job, a wife and a house, as well as other responsibilities. So do the rest of the guys in the band. We don't have much time to go to clubs and schmooze owners into booking us there, let alone run to the print shop to get promo material printed or send press releases to the media. I'd rather play gigs than spend the time looking for em. I'd rather deal with music than the music biz. I've been down the total Do-It-Yourself-Band route before, and I found that I used as much time getting and hyping gigs as I did playing them. The biz has many miscellaneous distractions that have nothing to do with making music. If you are into that kind of thing, then cool. If not, then a good booking agent or whatever can be a great tool.

    Like I said earlier, management is supposed to help you. It doesn't necessarily have to take away from you. What it costs you is up to you to decide.
     
  6. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Jive, you're absolutely right about time constraints.

    Many bands probably do hire managers because they don't have the time to do the promo work, but there are plenty of bands out there that think they NEED a manager in order to get anywhere, and this is simply not true.

    Granted it does take a fair amount of work - but it's far from impossible!

    DON'T pay a manager a flat fee up front. If they already have their money, they'll have less incentive to work than they would if the fee depended on the fruits of their labour.

    Jive - can you share a little more about how you went about weeding out the crap managers and finding a good one?
     
  7. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    :rolleyes: This is unnecessary.
     
  8. submelodic

    submelodic

    Feb 7, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    This is exactly why I'm asking. As mentioned, time constraints are the primary reason we need a manager. As nice a guy as our current manager is, he has the same problem, unfortunately.

    Thrash and Jive, thanks for your comments.
     
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    This is not neccessarily so... it's a bit of a generalisation I think.

    There's many reasons bands need managers.

    As you said, time - I personally dont have any desire to spend hours of my life organising rehearsals, gigs, transport, flyers, recordings, etc, etc, etc for a band.
    It's all OK when you're a kid and have fk all to do but go to school, I know I can vaguely remember it :rolleyes: ,but keeping a band of adults, with lives, families and jobs, ticking over is a lot of hard work.

    Getting gigs: I dont know about the states but I do know that here in the UK venues often take you more seriously and you often get a batter response if someone phones up a venue, radio station, etc, on your behalf. It, undeniabley, gives the impression that a band is at least semi-professional.
    Of course you can argue this point, one persons experiences vs another, but in my experience and from others I've spoken to I would say that a band with a manager will tend to get more gigs in the UK.

    Oh no! I'm a big baby :D LOL!

    Actually, none of my bands have managers... but they are managed by the band leaders none of which are me! Thankfully.
    The singer in one of my bands has a no commital developmjent deal tho... watch this space... seriously. I'm hoping to get on top of the pops :)
     
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'll try to be of help. Keep in mind that I am writing out of experience, not expertise. I never had a professional manager, but I have worked with booking agents, promoters and impromptu "managers". I wrote about booking agents in another thread. You can check it out here. It has some helpful tips.

    The most important thing you want in a manager is someone who believes in your product and has the ability to sell it. Basically, a guy who loves your band and can sell condoms to the Pope. A manager works for you, a crap manager is someone who doesn't.

    As far as finding one, you can find em in the phone book under "entertainment". These guys may do weddings and events, bars and clubs, or both. Talk to the guys and be honest about what you have and can do. That way you both can get an idea of whether or not you'll be useful to each other. If you're a heavy metal band, you don't want to waste your time with an agency that specializes in corporate events because they definitely don't want to waste their time with you. Talk to other bands in the area that are playing the gigs you want to play, and ask them if use an agent, and if so who. I am usually happy to provide contact info to someone who asks, and I'm sure I'm not the only guy out there. Also talk to the people at the venues that you would like to play in and ask who they use to book bands there. The bigger club owners/managers usually don't want to hassle with booking bands, so they'll use a booking agent. They can put you in touch with someone, or at least give you the name of an agency you can look up. The good thing about using the above methods is that you know these guys are working for someone, and they are less likely to be some fly-by-night operation or wanna-be. The issue is getting them to work for you, since they are probably in demand and get tons of demo CDs and promotional what-not regularly.

    If the guy has all the contacts and schmooze but doesn't book you gigs then his/her talents aren't being used for you. In that case you are better off getting one of your friends who has business and people skills to help out, or DIY. The thread on booking agents has some tips. The reality is that you need to work with the agent. The best way to work with them is to have a rock solid product (music, image, show) that they can sell to make the most of their 15% commission. Having solid promotion materials to provide them is essential. Making a good first impression is critical.

    The guy you want to be weary of is the person who approaches you at a gig. From my experiences, 99 out of 100 will never do an ounce of work for you. These are typically the guys who are talking out of their drunken @ss and have no knowledge of the music business or have any contacts. The questions to ask are "What bands are you currently working with?" and "What venues are you working with?". If they cannot provide an answer then move on. There is a chance you might get the 1 in 1000 that might work their a$$ off for you and take you to the top. The thing to assess here is, does this guy like my band and have the ability to sell it? That's for you to decide based on the risks and potential BS.

    I hope this helps