Most musicians whom I have met, deplore working the business aspects of their careers, only doing so as a necessary evil and, usually, as a means to an end. This is, primarily and naturally, due to their desires to focus exclusively on being an artist. However, like it or not, at some point (and, mainly, in the beginning of their careers), most are relegated to serving as a booking agent, manager, promoter, secretary, treasurer and several other business-oriented positions.
Today’s tip, however, focuses on the overall execution of their career known as “management.” Since it is an inevitable aspect that must be dealt with by most artists, it is best done in an organized fashion, as opposed to a harried process experienced by most.
And, I would like to reference it as “mini-management” as its list will be limited in comparison to what a full-time music manager’s duties entail. In fact, if it is done in an organized manner, you will likely find that it is not so troubling a deed as you might previously have imagined.
Management can probably be equated to an organized storage facility versus a messy one. With a neat and organized one, your belongings tend to be easily and quickly located. However, with a messy storage, a nightmare can quickly develop, particularly, if you are searching for a very small item.
Management involves daily duties that are absolutely critical to the survival and success of your career. This applies to artists ranging from 1-man bands, to full blown orchestras. And, at the beginning stage of a new band, the manager is also likely to serve as the “booking agent” for the act as well.
But, let’s say that, for whatever reason, such as your act is new, you have not attracted a manager who is interested in your career. How are you going to keep your act progressing until you can interest a manager?
1. Internal Manager Selection:
Select the most appropriate member of your band and, preferably, the most business astute of all members, to manage it.
This does not necessarily mean that because you formed or co-formed the band, that you should also run and control every aspect of it. The selection of this position should be delicately done, and not only democratically decided but should also be a member who all can honestly agree is the best source.
After all, the goal is to operate the business mechanics of your act as smoothly as possible for the success of all, and this is no time for egos to get in the way.
Also, once the internal manager has been decided, all members should give him or her the respect, room and time for fulfilling the obligations of the managerial position.
2. Duties For Progression and Success:
If you have become the internal mini-manager for your band that makes the bulk of its income through gigs and performances, commit to doing the following daily tasks:
Use the Local Media: Contact one “new” potential media source for gigs. This will mean keeping your proverbial antennas up for any and all entertainment possibilities.
Your area newspaper is a good source, to begin with, as are your local cable channels that have bulletin boards, or your local radio or television stations that air notices of upcoming functions that a number of businesses or organizations are holding…all potential entertainment jobs.
With your newspaper, simply develop a routine of picking it up at a certain time each day or, better yet, subscribing to it so that this cuts your pick-up time, as most papers are delivered early mornings.
Learn where the entertainment prospects are, i.e., new business development sections, classified sections, etc. And, learn to scan these sections as quickly as possible in order to move on to your next task within a certain time frame.
In respect to cable, radio, and television, most news, unless it is of a “breaking” nature, tends to be repeated throughout the day. Learn when the earliest broadcasts are and be sure to tune in, in the interest of completing another marketing chore.
3. Direct Contact:
Aside from any contact you are fortunate in making through your daily media leads, also get in the habit of making one “cold call” to a venue that can, potentially, serve as a paying performance for you. This can easily be done through your yellow pages.
And, through them, you can contact food caterers in an effort to leave your band’s business card or any promotional material, night clubs, bridal shops, schools, etc. The great thing about caterers and bridal shops is that they can dramatically increase your possibility of getting gigs, based on the amount of niche target traffic they get.
4. For Bands with CDs:
In addition to executing, at least, one source within the above sections, if your band has a release, make direct contact with one appropriate area radio station, television station and print publication for possible media coverage.
Since you now have several different areas that you are working, as your band’s internal manager, you should probably limit each area to only one type of contact per day.
Additionally, you should also create a computer file or record, either in a database program or spreadsheet that allows you to recall the status of each source at any given time.
Some, if not most of these contacts, are likely to be unavailable during your initial contact. As such, be prepared with a brief speech for their voice mail that states, to the point, your purpose for your call.
Nightclub voice mail message:
“Mr. Baker, my name is Kenny Love, and I am the manager for the “Little Driveling Fools” band. I am calling to learn if I may submit a press kit for your review and consideration of having our band perform at your venue. My number is 927-555-1348, and I would greatly appreciate your response. Thank you.”
“Ms. Thomas, I am manager of the band, Lurch and Popeye, and was wondering to whom I might speak within your company that coordinates entertainment for your company functions.”
If you structure this right and get your daily rhythm down, you can get what is, possibly, now a daily chaotic fight for exposure, down to an organized science that can be executed within a 3-hour time period, or less.
And, when your resources have been depleted for contacting in your area, simply duplicate the process and spread it out wider, geographically.
Kenny Love has an extensive background in both the Music and Writing industries. Learn about the new services that he is providing to unsigned and independent recording artists in response to today’s shaken and fractionalized Music industry by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.