My recent work on a management deal contract for a local DJ artist brought back to mind a number of things every musician, singer and band ought to think seriously about when looking for a personal manager.
Right off the bat, it’s important to know just what it is that a personal manager (a.k.a., “artist manager”) does, how they work and expect to be compensated for it, and what they will be expecting of you. Perhaps you aren’t even ready yet for a manager. From my experience, a lot of artists don’t have a really good handle on this, which can lead to undue expectations, misunderstandings and disappointment. That’s a recipe for a failed relationship and bad experience.
It’s also critical to know what to look for in an individual who is going to be representing you in this role. Is his/her manner of approaching people in the industry going to reflect well on you, or even be effective in achieving the results you want? Are they reliable? Will they be easy and readily available for you to communicate with? Are they well organized? Do they have connections that have the potential to bear fruit? Are they going to be able to make the kind of commitment in time and effort to your career that you want of someone in this role? Do they really relate to your music and have a vision for you? All these questions and more should be going through your head when you are considering any candidate.
The other major consideration that comes into play is the management contract itself. This document is critically important, because it not only spells out each party’s rights and obligations, if properly constructed it will be designed to best protect each party’s interests and help each hold the other’s feet to the fire. Thus, all types of scenarios that could possibly occur during the relationship have to be broached before the deal is sealed. The ramifications of not looking carefully at every aspect of the contract and every element of the relationship that it is intended to define are potentially huge.
Relationships evolve as time goes on. People’s agendas can diverge and interests conflict. This is why it is crucial to understand what it is you are getting into when you bring an industry member as important as a manager on board and to have a carefully crafted agreement with them in place.