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Songwriting Guides > Management > Do you need a manager?
Songwriting Guides
Do you need a manager?

Whether you need a manager really depends on whether you are simply a songwriter or a performer and writer, and at what stage you are in your career.

The songwriter

If you only write songs and want to place these songs with other artists it is very unlikely you will need management, and certainly not in the early stages. If you have a good team around you - Publisher, Accountant and Lawyer - then this should be enough.

If you are a non-performing writer, your most important contact is your publisher. If you need management, then your publisher - known as the A&R publisher - should able to advise you on this. A good A&R publisher will know managers who handle songwriters, and also whether you really need to spend your hard-earned royalties on hiring one. The business manager plays the role of organising the people around you, and if there are only a few of them, there isn't much to manage. A personal manager will be involved in the day-to-day running of your affairs.

If you are a non-performing writer, your most important contact is your publisher.

More than a manager, a writer needs a good lawyer and a good accountant. There are lawyers who work for record companies, and publishers and lawyers who work on the creative side of the business, i.e. for artists. If a publishing company does recommend their own law firm, be aware this may not be in your interests. If you do work with such a firm, check that the team is experienced in working on contracts for artists, and that there will not be a conflict of interest.
Martin BrammerMartin Brammer
"I don't have a manager, I would say that was not unusual...but not all that many songwriters have managers."
Listen to Martin Audio help

The situation for writers who also perform their material is a different case. An artist who writes and performs will not only be dealing with a lawyer, an accountant and a publisher, but also the record company, tour agent, PR company, stylist and various additional people along the way.

For most people, their reason for appointing a manager is to help them secure a record deal or publishing contract, or both. It often carries much more weight with a record company if you have someone representing you, and the person they're dealing with isn't an artist.

This counts double if your manager is someone who's already established in the business. Then you get a "me too" effect, whereby people think that if this person is involved, they should be getting on board too. That can apply to all sorts of things, from securing support slots with major artists to record and publishing deals.

However, you need to be at the right stage in order to get a manager interested in working with you, and generally you will know when you are at the right stage because a manager will approach you.

In the meantime you will have to do a lot of work for yourself. It takes time and means being business-like, organised and confident, but it also means you have control. You will learn a lot about the music business, instead of it just being this vague stuff that someone else handles. You will also be in a better position to judge which manager is going to be best for you when the offers start coming in.

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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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