In today’s independent music environment the onus for success is totally on the artist. It’s basically up to them to do it all. This includes the music marketing, the music media relations, music promotion, and CD distribution, you name it. As an independent artist you find yourself completely on your own to do it all yourself.
Although it’s a very good idea to be an active partner in the business end of your music promotion and music career, which after all – is your business, many obstacles could come between you and your success. These barriers are pretty obvious.
Your time could be far better spent on the creative end of your music career as a performing and recording artist. You may lack the necessary connections and music publicity contacts you must have in order to properly advance your music career by yourself. Or it can simply come down to the fact that you’re overwhelmed by it all and just have no clue where to even begin. If you have attempted to gain the attention of a well connected artist management firm or band manager that often time provides these services or connects you with them, then you may found yourself running into a brick wall.
There was a time in the music business – and I’m going back many years, when it was not as difficult to gain representation from a reputable well connected artist management firm where the typical 20% commission off the top end was standard remuneration for their management services. Even in some cases when the artist was not actually bringing in a lot in the way of commission income, some reputable artist management firms as did some major record labels, put faith in the idea that if the artist truly had major potential, and they believed in them, they were more willing to spend their time and own money further developing and promoting an artist or a band. This of course essentially boils down to speculating. Something a financial investor might do. Let me be clear – Artist Management Companies are not investors!
In today’s music world with literally hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of independent artists attempting to gain exposure and accelerate their career, all in the same way, at similar talent levels, I would ask you to imagine the enormous kind of competition you are up against as an independent artist. Speculating with those kinds of odds is just not something a creditable management firm or even a smaller independent record label is willing to do any longer.
Before a major or high level independent record label will even consider signing a new artist to any kind of record deal or recording contract they will look for and expect nothing less than a fully developed act. The artist must already have a huge fan base, major tour history, a major media buzz and story, and significant proof of independent record sales. The same goes for a reputable artist management firm where a commission based roster signing applies. Now of course there’s always your good friend Johnny or Alisa, or your Mom or Dad who follows the band and loves you dearly and is willing to be your manager — but we should be realistic here. Just how far will Johnny, Alisa, or Mom and Dad be able to get you? You might as well do it yourself. If you are truly serious about accelerating your music career, and for many of the reasons stated in this article, you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, then you need some semblance professional representation or guidance. This is where a short term interim artist management-consultant may be able to provide the promotional services that you need to get ahead.
Engaging a short term management-consultant can fill the gap and play a major role. If you manage to find a consultant that is actually an artist manager with high degree of music business creditability, connections, and experience that will professionally advise and represent you in all aspects of your music career with no contractual commitment, it could be a very smart move.
Artist Management-Consultants are becoming an extremely popular avenue for Independent, DIY artists and musicians in order to gain all the benefits of a well connected manager while they are still a bit under developed and not quite ready for roster based management. A lot of music business consultants will work with you on a retainer or hourly basis to advise you and help to accelerate your music career. Once they have helped to propel your career to an acceptable level of buzz – some will even shift the arrangement to a commission based roster scenario at your request. So in the earlier stages of an act’s career, an artist with potential should seriously consider the artist management-consultant path and reap its many benefits.
If you are lucky enough to acquire the services of a reputable well connected roster based artist management firm or band manager on a commission only basis, then by all means you should consider going for it — after of course you have checked them out thoroughly and before entering into a long term contract. However, the harsh reality of this occurring when you may be at a beginning to intermediate stage of development in your music career is unfortunately slim to none. Especially if you or your band has not met at least some or most of the prerequisites I have mentioned above.
By bringing on a reliable professional music management consultant who will work hard on you behalf and get results in the advancement of your music career, the modest retainer or consulting fee you pay them will be well earned. In the long run he or she can help you advance your career to higher levels, eventually opening doors and facilitating the attention of reputable booking agents, professional roster based management firms, record labels, music publishing companies, and music licensing opportunities.
Hiring a short term well connected and experienced artist management or music business consultant to professionally represent, advise, promote, and market your music career in your early to mid stages of development can be a great alternative to the standard commitment of roster based management, which would be next to impossible to get at the early to mid stages of development. One of the benefits of hiring a short term interim consultant is that if you’re not happy with your manager-consultant’s performance, or you can no longer afford them, then you can simply fire him or her at any time. You can’t fire a roster based management firm that has an iron clad contract with you.
The basic idea behind the theory of starting out with an Artist Management Consultant or bringing one on at your mid-level development stage is that he or she should be able to advise, develop, and promote your music career to the point whereby you’ll become more attractive to a reputable roster based management firm and record label. Or you can possibly change the terms of your temporary agreement with your management consultant and enter into a commitment with the consultant (who should be an artist manager and have serious experience and connections in this area) for commission-based roster management.
The beauty of this possibility is that through your previously working relationship with your management consultant you have essentially built the foundation of trust, loyalty, and respect, which is crucial in any artist – manager relationship. Before you sign a 2-4 year management contract (Which is basically like a marriage) you’ll know with peace of mind, exactly how effective your manager will be for you, and the kind of performance you can expect moving forward because it has already been proven.