A&R and Manager Advice

Famous Country Music Managers

Famous Country Music Managers

Country music has had its share of iconic artists and songs over the years. But behind every successful artist is a stellar music manager who nurtures talent, navigates the industry, and often, goes above and beyond to ensure their client’s success. In this article, we’ll shine the spotlight on some of the famous Country Music Managers who have helped shape the genre's history.

Who are Music Managers and what do they do

Music Managers: The Architects behind the Scenes

A music manager can be seen as the guiding hand behind a musician's career. Their key responsibilities include negotiating contracts, securing gigs and tours, managing finances, and taking strategic decisions to ensure the artist's growth. They also play a critical role in artist development, branding, and publicity.

Susanne Savage: The Powerhouse behind Billy Ray Cyrus

Perhaps best known for managing Billy Ray Cyrus' career, Susanne Savage was at the centre of the “Achy Breaky Heart” phenomenon in the 90s. While Cyrus was her best-known client, Savage also managed other successful country artists such as Dolly Parton and Tanya Tucker.

Ken Levitan: The Man behind Kings of Leon and Hank Williams Jr.

Levitan is a music industry stalwart with more than 30 years of experience under his belt. Co-founding Vector Management in the late 80s, he represents a broad roster spanning country, rock, and pop, including acts like Kings of Leon, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr., and Trisha Yearwood.

Jason Owen: Driving Force of Successful Country Acts

Owen is the founder of Sandbox Management, which represents bigwigs like Little Big Town, Faith Hill, and Kacey Musgraves. Known for his strategic savvy and knack for spotting talent, he’s been "Billboard’s Manager of the Year" twice.

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Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

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Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

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Missi Gallimore: Developing Talents into Stars

As VP of A&R at Warner Bros. Nashville, Gallimore worked with a cornucopia of artists including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Recognized for her ability to nurture raw talent into chart-topping acts, she has been instrumental in shaping modern country music.

Famous Country Music Managers Example:

Consider the journey of Kacey Musgraves, managed by Jason Owen. Owen recognized Musgraves’ potential early and worked closely with her on her branding and image. Through Owen’s strategic planning, Kacey’s bold songwriting and unique sound found a mainstream audience, earned her GRAMMYs, and solidified her place in Country Music's modern echelon.

In summary, these famed Country Music Managers have left their lasting imprint behind the scenes, shaping the careers of their clients and the narrative of the genre. Their strategic thinking, business acumen, and deep understanding of music have allowed them to navigate successful paths for their clients in an ever-evolving industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is considered one of the most successful country music managers of all time?

The title of most successful country music manager is often attributed to Colonel Tom Parker, who famously managed Elvis Presley. However, in more recent times, managers like Scott Borchetta and Clarence Spalding have made significant impacts on their artists' careers and the country music industry as a whole.

What does a country music manager do?

A country music manager oversees the career of an artist. This can include negotiating contracts, organizing tours, orchestrating marketing campaigns, managing public relations, and advising on creative directions and personal branding. In essence, the manager acts as the artist's professional guide and helps to cultivate their public and industry presence.

How does one become a country music manager?

Becoming a country music manager typically involves a mix of education in music business and hands-on experience in the industry. Many managers start off in related fields like promotions, booking, or working for record labels, and build connections that can transition into management roles. Passion for the music, business savvy, and exceptional networking skills are crucial.

Can a country music manager work with multiple artists at once?

Yes, country music managers often work with multiple artists simultaneously. Balancing these responsibilities requires a high level of organization and communication skills. The manager must ensure that each artist receives the necessary attention to further their career while maintaining a harmonious overall schedule.

What are some of the challenges a country music manager might face?

A country music manager may face several challenges, including conflicts of interest between artists, scheduling issues, and the pressure to consistently deliver successful projects. Managers must also stay abreast of industry trends and digital advancements in music distribution and marketing.

How important is a manager in the success of a country music artist?

A manager can be pivotal in the success of a country music artist. They provide the infrastructure and guidance necessary for the artist to focus on their creativity, while ensuring that the business side of their career is progressing. A good manager can open doors to opportunities that an artist might not have access to on their own.

Is it better for a country music artist to sign with a large management company or an individual manager?

This depends on the artist's goals and the level of attention they require. A large management company might have more resources and industry connections, while an individual manager could provide more personalized attention. Each artist must weigh the pros and cons to decide which arrangement works best for their career.

Do country music managers receive a percentage of the artist’s earnings?

Yes, country music managers typically earn a percentage of the artist’s earnings. The industry standard is between 10% to 20% of the artist's gross income, though this can be negotiated based on the manager's level of involvement and the specific needs of the artist.

How do managers discover new country music talent?

Managers find new talent through a variety of means, including live shows, demos, industry referrals, and music platforms. They often scout for talent with a unique sound or image that they believe will resonate with the country music audience. Networking and staying engaged with the music scene are crucial components of talent discovery.

How long does an artist typically work with a country music manager?

The length of the relationship between a country music artist and their manager varies greatly. Some partnerships may last only a few months, while others might continue for the duration of the artist's career. It often depends on the success of their collaborations and the personal dynamic between the manager and artist.

What legal considerations are there when signing a management contract?

When signing a management contract, it is essential to consider the length of the contract, commission percentages, the scope of the manager's responsibilities, termination clauses, and any conflicts of interest. It's often advised for artists to seek the counsel of an entertainment lawyer before finalizing any agreements.

What is the role of a manager regarding an artist's public image?

A manager is integral in shaping an artist's public image. This can involve overseeing the artist's media appearances, coaching on public speaking, facilitating brand partnerships, and managing social media strategy. A consistent and appealing public image is critical to the artist's brand and, subsequently, their success.

How do managers help country artists navigate the music industry?

Managers help artists navigate the often complex music industry by leveraging their experience and contacts to secure record deals, distribution, and collaborations. They also provide guidance regarding the legal and financial aspects of the industry, protecting the artists' interests.

What impact has digital media had on country music management?

Digital media has transformed country music management by introducing new platforms for music distribution, marketing, and fan engagement. Managers must now be well-versed in digital strategies and social media to effectively promote their artists and capitalize on online revenue streams.

Can artists change managers, and what would lead to such a decision?

Yes, artists can change managers. This decision may result from various factors, including unmet career expectations, differing visions for the future, or issues related to communication and personal conflict. It's important for both parties to re-evaluate their partnership regularly to ensure alignment with the artist's goals.

What should an artist look for in a good country music manager?

An artist should look for a manager with a strong track record of success, excellent industry connections, deep understanding of the country music market, solid organizational skills, and a personal style that meshes well with the artist's. Above all, trust and mutual respect are fundamental to a productive manager-artist relationship.

Do successful country music managers have a specific musical background?

While not a strict requirement, many successful country music managers have a background in music. This can come from personal experience as a musician or from formal education in music business. Having a musical background can provide managers with a deeper understanding of an artist's creative process and the intricacies of making and promoting music.

How does the relationship between a country music manager and a record label work?

The relationship between a country music manager and a record label is typically collaborative. The manager's role is to represent the artist's interests while working with the label to coordinate album releases, marketing efforts, and distribution. A strong working relationship can enhance promotional support and expand opportunities for the artist.

Are there any organizations or associations for country music managers to join?

Yes, organizations like the Country Music Association (CMA), Music Managers Forum (MMF), and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) are available for country music managers. These associations offer networking opportunities, industry resources, and professional development to help managers stay at the forefront of the music business.

What's the difference between a tour manager and a country music manager?

A tour manager specifically focuses on the logistical aspects of an artist's performances on the road, such as travel arrangements, accommodations, and scheduling. In contrast, a country music manager oversees all facets of the artist’s career, including but not limited to tour planning.

How can fans tell if a country music artist has a good manager?

Fans can often gauge the effectiveness of a country music manager by observing the artist's career trajectory, consistency in releases, tour success, and public image cohesiveness. Good management typically results in an artist who is well-presented, active in their market, and growing in popularity.

Feel free to explore other blog articles on the Lyric Assistant platform for more insights into the music industry. And if you found this article enlightening, we encourage you to share it with your friends and fellow music enthusiasts!

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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