As an emerging artist, you tend to start your career as a solo mission. However, as you gain traction you may find yourself needing help and wanting to build a team or you may find yourself with a handful of people offering up their services and wanting take part on your journey. How do you know who will be an asset to you? When is it a good time to start a team? Well, here is the answer to your prayers! Here is a breakdown of the different roles you may encounter at the beginning stages of your career and, when and why they are important.
Moreover, if you feel like you may need to find some team members when reading this article, don’t hesitate to send your music to current music industry professionals on Groover! There are hundreds of curators & pros on your account that will help you promote your music and aid you in your career … who knows, maybe you could find incredible future partners!
One of the most common intermediaries that may show up early on in your career is an Artist Manager. Traditionally, an artist manager is a representative of the artist that helps build, promote, and direct the artist’s business affairs. The job description of a manager is quite malleable because they essentially adapt to the artist’s needs. They can negotiate contracts and fees, confirm performance or studio opportunities, create business plans, provide feedback on music, control an artist’s social media, coordinate all team members involved, promote their music or events, and more! The manager is essentially the artist’s go-to person; whatever the artist needs, the manager will figure out how to provide. This usually means that managers are working 24/7 and cultivate one of the strongest bonds with the artist along their journey.
The question is, do YOU need a manger? And if you do, how do you choose the RIGHT one? It is completely logical to think that maybe you don’t need a manager. There are a lot of self-managed artists out there however, managers allow for artists to focus on their music. By having them focus on all of the business side of things, you are allowing the artist to have all of the creative freedom and space to create; at the end of the day, who needs a manager if you don’t have music? So, maybe you want to partner up with a manager to focus on your craft and not on crunching numbers. However, the most important thing that a manager must provide are contacts.
If someone is offering to be your manager, ask them who they know and who they’d introduce you to. A manager, just like all other roles within your team, needs to help accelerate your career and not just take a cut of your total earnings.
All in all, I believe, that out of all team members mentioned, a manager is the most important role to seek out first. Especially at the beginning stages of your career where a manager can fulfill multiple roles at once. A person who loves your music, is willing to fully commit to the growth of your career, and has a good network of contacts (or if they don’t, is willing to go find them), will most likely be a great manager to help accelerate your career and be a great asset to your team.
An essential part of being an emerging artist is gigging. What is an easy way to find gigs? An agent or booking agent. Essentially, an agent negotiates and confirms live performance opportunities. Along with this, they will plan tour dates and routes, take care of all aspects of the tour’s contracts (fees, rider, sponsorships, etc) and will find supporting acts for your headlining tour (if necessary).
Contrary to popular belief, there is no right time to find an agent. Though it may be strange to hear, agents should come looking for you! A vital part of being a successful agent is loving the band and more importantly, the music. Therefore, wait until an agent knocks on your door wanting to represent you or your group. This is an easy way to guarantee that the agent is passionate about your career and getting your music heard by people.
On average, agents take about a 10-15% cut from the gross revenue made on live shows. Though it may seem like a daunting figure to you now, agents provide huge profits in return and can be well worth that percentage. However, it is very important that they are well connected and have active relationships with venues, festivals, promoters, other agents, and other management teams. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask around about an agent (or any other role for that matter) before officially signing with them. Reputation is everything in the music industry therefore, make sure that all of your team members have positive existing reputations.
|Check out: How to find a booker?
Nowadays, an active and positive social presence is a very important aspect of an artist’s career. Typically, when starting out, artists are in charge of their own socials and media presence. However, as things begin to grow, you may have to delegate this responsibility onto other people (hopefully, people who are well versed in this marketing space and can do a better job than what you could do). Within the marketing and promotion world of an artist you may have: a publicist, a promoter, and a social media manager.
A promoter or music promoter will broadcast and promote an artist’s live performances. Their main goal is to bring as many people to your shows as possible. Typically, promoters will negotiate directly with an agent or a venue. Therefore, in my opinion, a promoter is not an essential team-member especially not for an emerging artist. However, they are a big and common intermediary in the life of any artist so, it is important to know what they do and why they are helpful.
A publicist represents the artist in media and finds new media opportunities for the artist. Anything that could be covered by the media, a publicist will be in charge of setting it up and carrying it through. Therefore, it is essential for a good publicist to have great media connections. Usually, publicists are not full-time team members and will have a fixed-term contract surrounding a specific release (album, single, tour dates, etc). As an emerging artist, it may not be necessary to have a publicist on your team however, it is necessary to build those relationships with the media. Cultivate personal relationships with writers, bloggers, radios, other media curators and pros: Groover is a great tool to do so! When building your campaign, filter and select all types of promotional curators; start building these relationships now!
Last but not least, a social media manager. A social media manager will aid the artist in creating an overall social media strategy and will give guidance on content creation. They focus on when and where to post content, finding and implementing a voice and tone throughout channels, analyze metrics and change strategies accordingly, etc. Keep in mind that it is also quite common to hire this social media expert in a more of a consultancy role depending on how developed an artist’s social media presence is. Don’t be afraid to test the waters and create your own presence before reaching out to this expert. There’s nothing that an audience loves more than someone being their authentic selves. My personal advice would be to hold out on finding a social media manager or consultant until you have enough of a following for their job to not only be necessary but, will further elevate and accelerate your career.
There are hundreds of tools out there to help with the marketing and promotion of your music. However, you don’t have to look much further: Groover is the perfect tool for what you need. Check out the article below on how to use Groover to promote your music with success.
I think it goes without saying that everyone can benefit from having a lawyer in their corner; as an artist, having an entertainment lawyer can be especially helpful. Entertainment lawyers will create and review contracts with any and all parties, will navigate and negotiate contracts as necessary, help protect your intellectual property, and ensure you collect all of your earnings owed to you which, as an artist, is a key factor. Moreover, if you ever have a weird feeling about anything or anyone, having a lawyer can be quite beneficial. They can take action as necessary or ease any situation.
However, it is impossible to talk about lawyers without mentioning the grave expense that comes along with having a lawyer. Therefore, I suggest reading up on your music rights in addition to having a legal contact that you can rely on whenever you have a doubt. Also, there are many lawyers who will work pro bono or offer special rates if you ever do need a lawyer; do your research and investigate your options because as an artist that is starting out, not only is it important to know your legal implications but, you most likely don’t need a lawyer just yet.
|Check out: Music Rights and how do they work?
First and foremost, if you are a songwriter then you need a publisher or some sort of relationship with a publishing company in order to not only get your music out there but, to get paid. So, the question at hand is not whether or not you need a publisher but, whether or not you need a publishing deal and when the time is right to affiliate yourself with a publishing house?
Music publishing allows for your music to get licensed and for you to get paid for it and, a good music publisher is one with a huge network. This network may allow for your music to be played in a movie, a tv show, advertising, games, etc. … they can even set you up with other artists, producers and songwriters to develop your songs for other artists. One of the biggest roles that they take on is that of royalty administration (mechanical, sync and master licenses). Therefore, when signing a publishing deal you are granting the right for your publisher to administer your songs as if they were their own which, can bring many benefits but, as you can imagine, can also be problematic with the wrong partnership.
All in all, the publishing world is quite an extensive one that can result in big revenue streams therefore, it is important that you are well informed about it before signing any publishing deal or working with a publisher.
Many people could argue that the “fame” associate with being signed to a label has gone away since the boom of the music industry in the early to mid 20th century. Nowadays, you don’t need a label to ‘make it’, let alone a major label; many artists opt-out of signing with majors and choose to associate themselves with independent labels (Adele, Radiohead, Kaytranada, etc) and still reach pinnacles of fame. One of the biggest reasons as to why this is the case, is due to the advancement of technology and the widespread availability of resources (not just big artists, but even people who aren’t artists or aren’t yet … literally available to EVERYONE!).
One of the biggest turnoffs from signing to a major label is the massive cut that they receive; today, labels take an average of 85% of the total revenue made by an artist! However, in exchange for your music and brand, majors will provide an artist with marketing, distribution, production, salaries, and access to connections that would otherwise be incredibly difficult to get. Thus, the reason why labels still carry a lot of clout: being signed to a label as an artist is an asset not only to your career but to your reputation as a whole.
So, the question is do you need a label? No, especially not as an emerging artist. You can do everything that a label can do from the comfort of your own home without owing your soul to them (record, release and distribute music digitally, market yourself through social media, sell your own merch, play live gigs, etc). However, labels can provide funding and access. If you are at the stage in your career where you need both of those things, then I would recommend you start looking into getting signed by label (major or independent).
As mentioned earlier, you have little to no team when you are just starting out as an artist. However, having people on your team is a great asset to you and your career because that means that you can focus way more on your artistry and less so on the business side of things (this does not mean that you shouldn’t know about both aspects!) Therefore, it is very common to have a friend or colleague that wears the hats of a lot (if not all) of the roles mentioned above. In my opinion, this is the best team member to have when you are starting out because you may not have the funds to employ many people at once and this is a great way to guarantee that the person working for you is truly passionate about your career and your music. This is an essential quality in a multifaceted role like this one.
The hard truth of it all is that you will have a solo-mission at first, not because you want to but because you have to. Though after reading this article it may seem overwhelming to do it all yourself, it is important to do things on your own first! It will teach you how to do the role so you can then implement the best person in your team at a later date (you want someone who can do a better job than you ever could). Moreover, you don’t want to make that big of a commitment to someone in the early stages, you want to build your own network and fanbase. You want people to boost and accelerate your career, not build it for you so, do the grunt work at the beginning … trust me, it will pay off!
In conclusion, there are some more essential roles that you can begin to include in your team when the time is right. Though the recommendation is to start out on your own, that does not mean that you are alone; there are hundreds of tools that you can use to help! Not only can Groover be the tool you need but, this blog highlights some outside sources that you can use in addition to, having tips and advice articles that you can always fall back on if you ever have a query.