Established in 2013, SmartistU is a global educational media platform for music industry professionals, primarily artist managers and professionally self-managed artists.
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What to Look For In Artists You Want to Manage

how to get a manager

What To Look For In Artists You Want to Manage

As managers, we invest a lot of time into our clients, so we want to make sure we’re investing in the right people. Our talent selection also reflects our reputation. When we rep great talent, we gain a reputation in the industry as someone who’s taste in talent can be trusted. Careful selection of which talent we represent can also help to avoid signing flaky and unreliable clients, which is a big issue for a lot of managers.

So how do we as managers carefully select clients, then? We look for certain qualities in them, such as the following:

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1. Originality/Uniqueness

Managers (and fans) want to see acts that will lead instead of follow, and think outside the box.

2. Talent

As they say, it has to be fucking great! The songs, songwriting, vocals, stage presence, how you carry yourself, and your level of professionalism. Managers want a full-package that will grab people’s attention.

3. Love Factor

Your manager also, especially, needs to LOVE your music. If they’re not in love with you or your music, they simply will not want to manage you and you simply should not want them managing you.

3. Hard Work & Determination

Managers want to manage artists who work just as hard, if not harder than their management. Even after an artist gets a manager, they still need to put in the hours to continue improving their art and building their business WITH their management team. Their work doesn’t stop after they get a manager, it’s very much the opposite. In order to make music a long term career yourself, they need more determination than the average artist.

4. Patience

Understand that this is a long term business and everything you think will happen in 1 year, might happen in 5 years. There’s a small small small chance you may see some great success quickly, but there’s a way stronger chance that everything you want to happen will take way longer than you think, if ever.

5. Perseverance

Ideally your artist has already been doing this for a while and has the ability to keep going despite difficulty or delay. Sometime’s we start working with new artists who are brand new, but ideally we work with clients who have already proven they can tough it out over the years.

6. Enthusiasm

You don’t want to manage someone who isn’t enthused about their own work! It’s pretty simple!

7. Trustworthiness

Not only does the artist have to trust the manager, but the manager has to trust the artist too. It’s a two-way street. Artists need to trust that their manager is going to work hard 24/7 to get them to where they want to go, and you as a manager need to trust your artist is going to continue to drive the bus with you.

8. Communication

You’ll hear it again and again – this is a marriage. It’s extremely important to find an artist that you can communicate with, and vise versa. You’ll both need to be very honest with each other, and have some tough conversations sometimes.

9. Reputation

You want an artist that has a good reputation. Both with industry and with their fans. Ask around and find out before you start working with them.

10. Existing Success

Something has to make the artist attractive, and not their looks. Although, depending on the style of music that can definitely help sometimes. What I’m talking about is if there’s something already clearly working, their business growing, they’ve already gained a bit of a fan base, or they’ve achieved some sort of success. It also helps if they’re already making some money.

11. Aligned Vision

The managers and artists’ definitions of success both need to be the same. Managers make sure you spend time finding out what exactly it is the artist wants, and then make you can truly deliver and get them to where they need to go.

12. Professionalism

The more professional your clients are the better. Even though the manager is the one dealing with the industry most of the time, you don’t want to hear that your artist played a venue and was very unprofessional or inappropriate with the staff. Professionalism is what separates winners from amateurs.

13. Nice Personality/Humility

You definitely don’t want to be working with someone who’s an asshole and treats you or anyone else like crap. At least I know I don’t! Look out for the ones who are nice people. Or decide what kind of crap you’re willing to take from your own clients.

Above all, if you’re an artist, just make sure you’re constantly developing your craft and your business in all areas. Work on your songs, songwriting, live performance, and brand. Always be doing everything you can to build your fan base (including music industry personnel) and your business first before concerning yourself with finding a manager.

Now I have a bit of a challenge for you!

Take a look at the clients you already have, if you’re currently managing — or if you’re currently managing yourself — take a look at yourself.

  • Which qualities do your clients have? Which qualities do you have?
  • What can they work on? What can you work on?
  • Should you talk to them about it? How can you put yourself out there to find a good manager who is looking for these qualities?

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