This episode covers
- Characteristics of a good music manager
- UK business structures for a music management company
- Engaging Artists
In order to identify the areas in which you are strong and the areas you need to work on you can start with the key characteristics of a good manager
Leadership: managers need to be project leaders, team builders and co-ordinators
Good at building relationships: managers need the ability to vary the approach depending on the audience
Creativity: this is necessary to develop creative strategies to raise an artists profile and promote music
Industry knowledge: important to know terminology and the better you understand how things work the better you can identify the opportunities for artist development too
Entrepreneurial spirit: as an independent managers need to be self motivated, organised and business minded
e.g. lack of industry knowledge. Action to take = enrol in a course
There is a whole spectrum of types of manager. Most people are not one or the other but lie somewhere in between perhaps leaning more heavily to one side. By identifying your strengths and the type of manager you are you can determine how you will position yourself as an independent music manager and be very clear about what you bring to a working relationship
creative managers typically can contribute to technical input, identify collaborators, they could be musicians themselves, musically trained and/or in music production
business manager are organised, tend to focus on the operational side of work, have strong project management and admin skills and will have a strong focus on exploiting income streams
questions to help you determine which business structure is best for you
- How much money are you earning?
- How prepared are you to undertake administrative tasks?
- Are you taking on financially risky projects?
There are two types of viable UK business structures for a music manager. The right structure for you will depend on your long and short term goals, your income and level of administration you are ready to take on
- One director owns the company
- No company set-up costs
- No formation fee
- Low price accountancy fee (from £200 a year)
- Low level of admin – only tax return
- Personal liability for debts
- Business name not protected
- Good if revenue is low and for bootstrapping
- Good if you do not need a level of credibility from your business structure
Private limited company
- Possibility for multiple ownership
- Entity on its own
- More vigorous monitoring
- Adds credibility
- No personal liability for business debts
- Facilitates credit and bank account applications
- Lower tax rate (corporation tax)
- Good if revenue is £20,000 plus and expenses are low
- Secures company name
- Accountant fees more expensive than sole trader (from about £550 a year)
- Good if working on financially risky projects because of the separation between the owner and the business
Other set up options include going through a formation company which is a third party agent that registers your business with Companies House for you. They also provide additional services that support businesses at this early stage too.
For the different types of insurance speak to a broker they act as a middle person between you and the insurance companies but can prove very useful for niche cover such as the type needed by music managers, artists and music management companies.
Points to consider in your cover:
- Public liability: cover against claims made by the public
- Professional indemnity: covers legal costs and expenses in defending a claim as well as compensation
- Employer public liability: legal requirement if you have staff and cover legal claims made by employees
- Travel insurance: covers claims associated with travel
- Cover for cancellation: cover your lost of income or costs from gigs or tours
There’s a lot of places to get support as an independent music manager or new music management business some places include:
- Music college and university courses
- Short courses – Music Managers Forum (MMF) https://themmf.net
- Thirty Plus One https://themmf.net
- Networking apps
When engaging new artists its a good idea to assess where they are in their careers, what support they need and where they want to be to see if it’s aligned with your own vision and what you can offer.
Places to find artists
- Musicians Union https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk
- Through friends
- Social media platforms
- Unsigned stages at festivals
Assess where your artist is in their development – questions to ask
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to be?
- Whose career do you admire?
Use some filters to measure compatibility and to see whether there is enough work for you.
Artist development plan topics
These plans set out your strategy and actions linked to your goals
- Fan engagement
- Music production
- Income streams
- Achievements and milestones
There is much debate about management contracts but whichever format you decide to take it is essential to be clear about the parameters of your relationship with an artist, what the expectation are and how you will be paid.
- Management contracts are usually prepared by an artist manager
- Both manager and artist should have legal advice
- Things to include in the contract: fees/financial compensation, work responsibilities, duration of the contract, post contact arrangements, scope of work, territories
- Good template from the MMF and MU (available for members)
- Fess – 20% is the standard but need to agree of which income streams (CD sales/streaming, publishing, synchronization and licensing, touring and performance, merchandise and sponsorship
- The Music Managers Bible is a good resource
links and extras
Setting up a sole trader https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader
Setting up a private limited company https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation
Engaging an artist Advice for engaging new artists