• Phil McDonald

Do I need a manager?

This is a question that I get asked fairly regularly. At some point in a music career, the subject of a manager rears its head. Sometimes it's a conversation that needs to be had, a lot of the time it doesn't need to be discussed as it's not the right time. Let's look at this in more detail.

So what exactly does a manager do? In short, a manager looks after the business affairs of the artist and basically is the go-to person for pretty much everything else. The manager is the glue that binds the whole thing together. So this probably sounds like an attractive proposition right? Someone to take care of everything for you in exchange for a cut of your earnings? Where do I sign? Hang on a minute...

Do you need a manager? Depends on where you are with your career but the chances are you probably don't. Even if you are well established and making waves you might not need a manager. It really comes down to whether you can handle the business side of your career along with the creative side. If you've only been playing for a fairly short amount of time you should be able to handle things no problem. If you're a good organiser, a good communicator and can keep on top of things you don't really need a manager. If you've reached a point where things are getting on top of you, things are happening and you feel like you're out of control then you probably do need someone to manage your affairs.

If you are thinking it's time to hire someone, it's worth being aware of a few things. Make sure you get on with any potential manager on a personal basis. It's good practice to work together on an ad hoc basis for a while before signing a contract. Check what acts the manager has previously worked with or is currently working with. It's really important to do this homework as a soured relationship can not only be emotionally draining but financially damaging too. Most management contracts have a sunset clause in them meaning you carry on paying a percentage long after the contract has been terminated.

So if you think you're ready for a manager or management companies are approaching you, then this could be the time to make the leap and shift up a level. A good manager can no doubt open many doors for you. But if you're doing fine as you are, enjoying your career and making progress then don't feel you have to hire a manager as your next step. Some well known professional acts always self manage.

Do what's right for you.

Thanks for reading.

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