A&R and Manager Advice

Why Managers in the Music Industry Will Screw You Over

Why Managers in the Music Industry Will Screw You Over

The music industry is notorious for its perceived shady dealings and tales of hard-nosed managers, the snake charmers, who prioritize profit over artistry, turning dreams into nightmares. But is it all darkness or is there a silver lining? In this post, we delve into the reasons some managers in the music industry might appear to screw artists over and how the modern songwriter can navigate such a treacherous relationship.

The Dual Role of a Music Manager

By definition, a music manager wears multiple hats. He or she negotiates contracts, plans tours, mends public relations, and coordinates financial activities - but that's just the surface. Beneath the legal, logistical, and public imagery roles, managers are also the ones to cope with the chaos, insecurities and erratic nature of the artist they’re managing. This balancing act can sometimes result in unsavoury situations for the artist.

Profit over Passion?

Managers, like everyone else, have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Some might prioritize financial stability over the artistic journey of their clients. This can lead to decisions that may seem advantageous for the manager at the cost of the artist. For example, an artist might be pushed into signing poor contracts, forced to work with specific producers, or made to release music that doesn't coincide with their artistic vision.

Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes, artists might feel exploited due to a disconnect between their anticipations and the realities of the music industry. A music career is cross-pollinated with a lot of sacrifices, challenges and bitter pills. A manager acts as the bridge between the artist's romantic views and the gritty realities. This might often come off as the manager 'screwing over' the artist.

Having a well-defined contract outlining all the roles, responsibilities, and expectations is crucial. Both artists and managers must ensure they are on the same page. Remember, understanding the complexities of the music industry will ensure artists are less likely to feel exploited.

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Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Database

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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Why Managers in the Music Industry Will Screw You Over Example:

Let's say you're a new singer-songwriter trying to make a name for yourself. Your manager, who possesses the expertise and connections you lack, ensures you an elusive record deal. However, the terms of this deal might not be in your best interest, pushing you to churn out 'radio-friendly' music rather than focusing on your unique, alternative rock sound. This disparity might make you feel like you're being screwed over.

The music industry is a tough terrain that requires dexterity, perseverance, and wisdom to navigate. While stories of manipulative managers may deter some, keep in mind that most managers are equally passionate about music and wish to see their artists succeed. The key lies in open communication, clear expectations, knowledge, and a strong contractual agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common ways managers may take advantage of artists?

Managers may take advantage of artists by not fully disclosing financial details, steering them into unfavorable contracts, taking high commission rates, or not investing enough effort into the artist's growth because they're managing too many other clients.

How can I tell if my manager is not looking out for my best interests?

Warning signs include lack of transparency, poor communication, little to no career progress, pressuring into decisions that don't seem right, and a general sense that your career is not a priority for them.

What should I look at in a contract with a music manager?

You should scrutinize the duration of the contract, the manager's commission percentage, specific duties outlined, expenses that you will be responsible for, and any clauses related to ending the agreement.

Are all music managers untrustworthy?

No, not all music managers are untrustworthy. Many reputable managers work with integrity and a genuine interest in their clients' careers. It's about finding the right fit and establishing a trustworthy partnership.

Can a manager's connections be a disadvantage to me?

Connections can be a double-edged sword. While valuable, they can also tie you to specific deals or partners that may not be in your best interest if the manager acts based on their relationships rather than your career goals.

What are the signs of a good music manager?

A good music manager communicates effectively, is transparent about finances, has a clear strategy for your career, promotes your interests, and is passionate about your music.

How often should my manager and I review our contract?

Contracts should be reviewed annually or whenever there is a significant change in the career dynamics or goals of the artist.

What is the typical commission rate for music managers?

Typical commission rates range between 15%-20% of the artist's earnings. Nevertheless, these rates can vary on a case-by-case basis.

Should I hire a lawyer when reviewing a management contract?

Yes, hiring a lawyer who specializes in the music industry is highly recommended to ensure that your rights are protected and you understand all terms and conditions.

What can I do if I feel my manager is not performing their duties?

Communicate your concerns directly to your manager. If the issues persist, consult a legal professional to understand your options regarding the contract.

How can I effectively communicate my career goals to my manager?

Have open and honest discussions about your vision and objectives, provide a written outline of your goals, and ensure you both frequently check in on the progress towards those goals.

Is it better to have a manager who works with big-name clients or someone starting out?

It depends on your needs and career stage. Big-name managers have experience and connections, while those starting out may offer more personalized attention. Consider which factors align more with your current career goals.

Can I change managers if I'm unhappy with their service?

Yes, you can change managers, but consider the terms of your contract and any legal obligations you might have before making changes.

What role does a manager play in public relations and image?

Managers often guide an artist's public image and public relations strategy, as it's integral to marketing and positioning in the industry.

Should my manager have a say in the creative process?

Some input can be beneficial regarding marketability, but the extent of their involvement should be mutually agreed upon so that your artistic integrity remains intact.

How can I protect myself financially from management exploitation?

Be knowledgeable about the industry standards, have a clear and fair contractual agreement, involve a financial adviser, and keep detailed records of all financial transactions.

What can I do to ensure that my music career progresses with my manager?

Set clear goals, regularly review performance, maintain open lines of communication, and stay actively involved in your career planning.

Is it common for artists to have multiple managers?

While it is not uncommon, having multiple managers can lead to conflicts of interest and communication issues. It's essential that roles are clearly defined if considering a co-management situation.

How long does a typical artist-manager relationship last?

This varies widely, but successful partnerships can last for the entirety of an artist's career. Regular evaluations of compatibility and success are important.

Is it necessary for a manager to be geographically close to the artist?

While not essential, proximity can be beneficial for regular face-to-face interactions. Today, much of the business can be conducted virtually, although different time zones can present challenges.

What should I do if I feel pressured by my manager to make decisions?

Don't make hasty decisions under pressure. Take your time, seek advice from trusted advisors or mentors, and make decisions based on what's best for you and your career.

Can a manager help me secure a record deal?

Yes, managers often leverage their industry contacts to help secure record deals. However, they should work with your best interest in mind, seeking deals that align with your artistic vision and financial expectations.

Let Lyric Assistant guide you on your artistic journey. Check out our other articles to gain more insights into the music industry or share this article with your fellow musicians. Remember, knowledge is power.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Database

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 Database

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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