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Songwriting Guides > Management > Finding a manager
Songwriting Guides
Management
Finding a manager

Once you have decided how you want a manager to fit into your work life and musical career, it is easier to put the right questions to a prospective manager.

The best time to start looking for a manager is when managers begin to approach you. However, this doesn't mean you should simply go with the first offer that appears credible.

When looking for a manager, or when you have been approached by someone who wants to represent you, remember these two things: trust, and independent legal advice.

Trust

You have to trust that your manager will work in your best interests. If you do not trust your manager then your relationship will not survive. Why do we trust anyone? Often it is a gut reaction, so use your instinct. However, if you are inexperienced in the music business then your instincts may be based on beliefs learnt only at home or school. These are valid and often useful, but could lead you astray in a business world.

Remember these two things: trust and independent legal advice.

As well as instinct, you need information. So first of all, do the same kind of research you would need to do in finding a publisher or a record company:
  • Talk to musician friends
  • Read any relevant publications or interviews with artists
  • Check record sleeves. Artists often print their representative's contact details on them.
  • If you have one, speak to your solicitor, accountant, agent - these people may well be doing business with other bands' managers.
  • If you know any people working in record companies and publishing companies, ask for recommendations.
  • " Have a look through a music directory and check out the names of some companies. Try to find out more about them: what acts do they already represent? who should you approach there?
" Draw up a list of names after you have done all of this. Whether it is a short or long list at this stage does not matter.
Independent legal advice

Some managers are friends and the whole relationship is based on trust and a verbal commitment and agreement about getting paid and stuff like that. However, if an experienced professional manager is interested in working with you, you will more than likely be looking at signing a contract. The Music Managers Forum is a trade organisation that works to support and trade music managers. They cannot help you find a manager but they have a list of managers and also have standard contracts that are useful as a basis of a deal. However in the end you will need to take legal advice about drawing up a contract that suits you and your manager.
  • Any contract must be looked at by a music lawyer independent from the other party - i.e., don't ask you manager's lawyer to give advice on whether it is good for you or not.
  • Consider running over the figures with an accountant to make sure what looks good on paper is also good in practice.
  • Have more than one person to approach. A manager may recommend a lawyer to you in which case get someone else's opinion about that person before committing to them.
  • Make sure any lawyer you employ has experience of working with artists. Record companies and managers can recommend lawyers but make sure they are able to work in your interests as an artist. This is not to say that when these people recommend someone they are trying to rip you off it is simply that these may be the only people they know.
  • Talk to other performers and songwriters and get recommendations from them too.

Send us your views or read other peoples'
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Laura, Peterborough
I am a 15 year old girl, who is trying to write her own music and can sing. I need to find a manager because I want to make it to the big top! I want to sell records and be well known, do you have any advice?

Janine From London
Very helpful advice

Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Performing Working with Other Writers In the Studio Publishers Record Companies Management What Does a Manager Do? Do You Need a Manager? What do you want your manager to do? Finding a Manager A Brief Look at Contracts Ending the Relationship Staying on Track
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