There are three steps one would undertake to successfully prepare for a career as an artist’s manager. They are to educate yourself, find a mentor, and finally to become active as a fledgling artist manager.
Step one is to become literate in the business of how artists are handled in the entertainment industry. The best approach to this would be to combine voracious reading of both current news sources such as Billboard Magazine, which is available in most local public libraries, as well as online industry news sites such as www.hitsdailydouble.com, and the websites for Variety, Pollstar as well as the entertainment coverage found in major daily newspapers such as the LA and NY Times. This alone is a good bit of reading, but within 90 days of reading these sites’ coverage, you will begin to get a basic overview of how talent is managed.
At the same time, pick up Donald Passman’s All You Need to Know About the Music Business, as well as Moses Avalon’s Confessions of a Record Producer. Although much of the material covered in these two books is similar, the tone and perspective of the two authors is quite different, giving you both a top level corporate point of view as well as a street-smart, down and dirty perspective. Be sure to also check out the many interviews with both artist managers and agency and club bookers found on this web site. Stephen Marcone’s book, Artist Management, is another very good starting point to acquaint you with the various aspects of personal management.
Now that you’ve started to build up your knowledge about how talent is managed, the next step is to find a mentor. The best option would be to secure a position at a talent management or booking firm, in whatever capacity you can wangle. Even working in the proverbial mail room or as a gofer is a good first step. Essentially, you need to look, listen, and start to understand how the actual business of managing talent is done. No amount of reading can give you this knowledge. Instead, the experience of working in a firm that handles talent will allow you to better understand the useful information you have learned educating yourself and see how that knowledge is used on a daily basis. Geography plays a role in finding a mentor, as the major entertainment centers of New York, LA, and Nashville have the highest density of management firms, but there are regional agencies in any major city across the country that can provide the same life experience for you.
After you have become a valued member of the team at your agency firm, you need to start to be on the lookout for young artists that could benefit from your growing knowledge base. Based on the type of work you have been doing at the agency, you may not even have to go outside the agency to find your first client, as the senior agents or managers may ask you to start helping plan tour routing or assist with promotional ideas for a new release, all of which are essential elements in successfully managing talent. At this point, you’re on your way to a career as a talent manager.
Published: Wed, 29/11/2006 - 00:36