This article was written by Patrice K. Cokley.
The industry is extremely saturated with artists. No matter where you turn, no matter where you go, there seems to be an artist in every market that is looking to break into the industry.
This phenomenon creates an illusion that if an artist had a manager, their career would instantly take off. Although this is not the case, a manager can help bring order and structure to your operation so that you can focus on creating.
To avoid falling victim to being represented by someone who could potentially harm your career, consider these 5 characteristics when making your decision.
Work with a manager that you naturally get along with
Communication is extremely important in this industry. Your manager is your right hand person. This is the person that will represent you at all times whether you’re in trouble, sick, depressed, or even when things are going well.
This manager could potentially become your best friend. As a result, you want to make sure that you bring somebody on board that you truly get along with and that you can easily communicate with, because you will be working side-by-side for a long time.
Consider a manager that has a small roster
You want to make sure that this person has time for you. If they’re managing a lot of artists for ego purposes, run. Be cautious of people who are more excited about being a “manager” as oppose to being excited for your career and working with YOU.
As a result, always consider someone with a small roster when starting out (no more than 3 artists). This means that this person has time for you. They won’t spread themselves to thin. You may not get all of their time, which wouldn’t be reasonable, but you would get a very substantial amount of it.
Connections are good, but ambition is better
It’s always good to hire a manager that has connections. But we have to keep in mind that there are a lot of experienced and well-connected managers out here who may have their hands full. They may not be looking for an artist at that moment, or they may not be looking for an artist who isn’t earning a certain amount of revenue every month.
Let’s be real. It is going to be very hard to bring on a manager that has high-level connections unless you’re a high-earning artist. As oppose to connections, consider a manager who is very proactive and ambitious.
Meaning, they are willing to go the extra mile, they will do whatever it takes to get you on and to work on your behalf. It is always good to grow and build with that person because after a while, once you have established a relationship, you will see that they are there for you; they’re loyal.
Make sure your manager has some industry knowledge
Even though your potential manager has no experience, if they show that they have some knowledge about the industry and is willing to learn as they go along, then they may be worth bringing on.
As an artist, it’s important that you remember that this is a business. And as a business, you are the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and your manager is the COO (Chief Operating Officer). Before you start any business, no matter what industry you’re in, you should always do your research and have some knowledge on the industry.
Definitely, make sure that the manager you bring on has some industry knowledge to help you along the way.
Professionalism is highly important
A manager represents you at all times. Whether they’re in your presence or not, they’re a representation of you at any given moment. It is extremely important that these people are professional with a good reputation.
You don’t want to bring someone on board that is extremely rude or unruly. Meaning that they are unprofessional, don’t know how to form complete sentences, how to effectively communicate, and how to negotiate or conduct business.
You certainly don’t want to hire a manager that party every weekend; turning up, drinking, smoking, etc. It is very important to bring someone on that can be professional and represent you accordingly. Despite what you see on social media, the music BUSINESS is more corporate than you think.
Before you add a manager to your team, consider all 5 traits and make sure you establish a rapport with them.
Establish a relationship with them just to make sure you two are meshing well and all of the things above have been considered. Then you can formulate a plan to build the business and rock it out together.
Patrice K. Cokley is a Talent Manager, Brand Strategist, Marketing Consultant, and Founder/Owner of The Bassline Group; an artist development and consulting company where she helps artists and music-related brands level up in their business.
Holding both a BS and MBA in Marketing, she is widely known for her work with Beyoncé & Solange’s dad/former manager Dr. Mathew Knowles.
Her work has been seen on major media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Billboard, Ebony, The Wendy Williams Show and more; and she has spoken on panels at Soho House Chicago, Social Media Week Chicago, LakeFX Chicago and others. You can also find Patrice online at www.patricekcokley.com.