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Band Managers: Heroes or Villains?



In the chaotic world of the music industry, managers often emerge as both a beacon of hope and a source of controversy for aspiring artists. As Sheena Metal of Music Highway Radio aptly puts it, "Can't live with them... but can you live without them?" Let's dive into the tumultuous relationship between artists and their managers and explore the nuances of this vital partnership.

The ubiquitous presence of managers in the music scene is undeniable. Like moths drawn to a flame, they flock to musicians with promises of fame, fortune, and everything in between. Yet, behind the glitz and glamour lies a sobering reality: not all managers are created equal. The burning question on every artist's mind is not just whether they have a manager, but rather, do they have a good manager?

It's a tricky distinction to make, akin to navigating a minefield in stilettos. While having any manager may seem like a step in the right direction, the truth is far more nuanced. As Sheena Metal eloquently puts it, "bad representation is far worse than a lack of representation." A manager who lacks vision, integrity, or genuine concern for their artists' well-being can derail a promising career faster than you can say "one-hit wonder."

So, what are the telltale signs of a manager worth their weight in gold versus one better left in the bargain bin? Let's break it down:


  1. The Drummer's Girlfriend Is Not A Manager: While well-intentioned friends and family may offer to lend a helping hand, they often lack the expertise and industry connections required to propel an artist to stardom. It's essential to distinguish between enthusiastic supporters and bona fide managers who possess the skills and experience to navigate the treacherous waters of the music business.

  2. Treasure Your Fans But Don't Let Them Manage You: While it's tempting to enlist devoted fans as honorary members of your entourage, crossing the line from fan to manager can lead to a host of complications. Boundary-setting is key, as allowing fans too close can compromise the integrity and professionalism of the artist-manager relationship.

  3. Don't Sign A Contract Unless It's Worth It: The allure of a management contract can be intoxicating, but artists should proceed with caution. Just as in marriage, entering into a contractual agreement with a manager requires careful consideration and a clear understanding of the terms and conditions. Ensure that the contract aligns with your long-term goals and affords you the flexibility to pursue opportunities as they arise.

  4. Sometimes Bigger Is Not Better: While the prestige of working with a top-tier management firm may seem enticing, smaller agencies or independent managers can offer a more personalized approach tailored to the needs of emerging artists. Don't be swayed by flashy credentials; prioritize a manager who prioritizes you.

Ultimately, the decision to enlist the services of a manager is not one to be taken lightly. As Sheena Metal sagely advises, "Having a manager is great but only if they provide more benefit to the band than the sum total of your band members and band helpers can do for yourselves." It's a delicate balance that requires careful consideration, but with the right manager by your side, the possibilities are limitless. So, choose wisely, dear artists, and may the music gods smile upon your journey to greatness.


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