by Jesse Austin, with thanks to Tearaway.

Music takes a long time to get right. From all the hours spent rehearsing and writing, to recording and gigging, you might not have enough time left over to live your life. If this is the case, you might need a manager.

A manager’s role for a band ends up being very varied and can be quite different based on the situation that the artist is in. A manager may have to wear many hats at different times, so here’s a few tips that will hopefully explain what your typical manager is and what happens when you get one.


Have a contract 

Even if you are an unsigned band making no money, make sure to have a contract (a written agreement). This just needs to state what is expected of the band and the manager, how much the manager will make if money comes in, what situations the manager will receive money in, what happens if the band and manager part ways, and more. Make sure to have your bases covered.

Money, money, money 

A manager usually does not come for free, unlike some of the gigs you may play. When it comes to working out how much to pay your manager, different artists have different schemes in place, however a general fee may be 20% of what you earn. This can all be nutted out in your contract.


If you are not signed to a label, the manager should be booking you gigs, helping to organise practice and/or recording sessions, sending recordings and press releases out to labels/radio stations, helping with social media, and more!


The manager works as the go-between for the label and the artist. They need to make sure that the label is doing their job and representing the artists as best they can. They also need to be the voice of the band to the label, regarding any questions/requests from the band, while also communicating all of the information from the label to the artist.

Having a manager can open up many opportunities for you and your music, and gives you time to focus on your craft. As past Smokefreerockquest contestant Thomston puts it:

“Without a good manager, you’re left in a very vulnerable position. it takes years to pick up on everything from contracts to the subtle nuances of label politics. having someone who can guide you, provide counsel and facilitate your vision is the most important thing.”


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