If you have great organizational skills, are great with people, and have a genuine passion for music, becoming a band manager could be a great career option. Band managers play a very important role in the music business. They are there to steer bands in the right direction and help them make better business decisions. They also have to manage a band’s appointments and make sure that they respect their engagements. While this is one of the most sought-after jobs in the business, it is still very demanding. You also have to know that not everyone can become a band manager. Let’s take a look at what every aspiring band manager needs to know.
The first thing you need to determine is whether you have the skills needed to be a band manager. One of the most important and underrated traits that all band managers need is patience. You will be working with all kinds of personalities and will often be the one responsible for defusing conflicts between band members. Some band members may also have bad tendencies or issues they’re dealing with. They may constantly come late for interviews or shows, and this can be extremely stressful to you as a manager. You’ll need to be able to keep everyone in line but never overreact since you are working for the band, not the other way around.
Another thing you will need to master is contract law. You will have to draft and look over many contracts, and if you don’t know how to read those, then you’ll put yourself and your band in trouble. This is something you can’t learn on your own either, so if you thought you could just start calling yourself a band manager and start working, think again. You will need to get at least a bachelor’s in music management to get started. You’ll learn the basics of contract law, but you will also learn about the business of music in more detail.
Band managers must also be great at communicating and making connections. You will become a sort of salesman for your band and so you need to know how to navigate rooms with music executives. If you’re introverted, you’ll have a very difficult time making it, so think twice if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with people you don’t know.
Even if you have the credentials needed to be a band manager, know that people rarely start in that position right away. You might have to do some grunt work, and it’s not always fun. Lots of band managers started as interns, so you’ll have to be ready for that. You might also have to start working as a roadie. Being a roadie is tough work but it could teach you a lot about the business. While you won’t be involved with a band’s business, you’ll still have a good idea of how a production is set up. You’ll also get a better idea of whether you actually want to be a band manager.
One thing you need to know about this business is that the lines between friendship and business can easily become blurred. You might end up attending social events with your band, get a shout-out during an award speech, or have a heart-to-heart with them at 3 AM in their hotel room, but you should never forget that you’re their employee first and foremost. You never know when someone will drop you, so you can’t get too comfortable. It can hurt when someone you feel you were friends with double-crosses you, but you have to understand that it’s part of the business and be ready to move on.
As a band manager, you also need to build a team around you to help you do your work better. You will need to get an accountant, lawyer, sound engineer, and look for a great studio. Having a regular studio where you can go in whenever you need will be extremely important. This isn’t something your band should be handling, and they will be counting on you to find great studios and have a spot available for them whenever they need to record.
Budgeting may become an issue too. If you’re working with an indie band, then studio time will come out of their pocket, so you’ll have to find ways to cut costs, even if it means relocating. Some cities have cheaper studio time than others, and if you’re in a city where studios are expensive, you might have to relocate. Houston, for instance, is known for having great affordable studios and is a great city for new bands. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line Houston recording studio, check out PIRATE. They have a few self-serve studios in the city that you can book at any time of the day or night. They have everything you need to create professional music and have a laid-back ambiance, which is good for working on projects.
You also have to understand how pivotal the role of band manager is. You’ll be the relay person between venues, booking agents, and the band. If the record company has an issue with the band, you will often be the first person they contact. If you omit to hand down important information to your band and they lose a major gig because of it, they will let you know and you might get fired, or worse. In some cases, omitting to give them information could lead to lawsuits. So, you have to be ready for the responsibilities that come with the title of band manager.
These are all things you need to know before you even start thinking about becoming a band manager. This can be a great fulfilling job, but it’s far from easy, so be ready for the challenges that come with it and know what will be expected of you.