Music management is a complex and challenging business. It requires a diverse range of skills and a high level of competency in multiple areas. Here are some key activities and the stages at which they may occur:

Stage 1 – Artist Development and Set Up

  1. A&R – scouting & development of an artist

  2. Plot – building initial ‘plot’ around recordings, live performances or ‘releases’

  3. Teambuilding – assemble a team e.g. legal, agent, PR’s

  4. Deals (Internal) – negotiate a management deal with the artist

  5. Admin – set up financial systems e.g. banking / VAT, details song writing splits, partnership agreements, register with collection societies e.g. PRS

These are the preliminary stages in an artist’s development and as you can there has already been a significant amount of activity. Don’t ignore the organisation and administration aspects of management. This may not be the most exciting thing to deal with but it will be expected.

Stage 2 – Business Development

  1. Industry Awareness – record companies, publishers, media, PR’s

  2. Consumer Awareness – building fanbase, preliminary sales and distribution (DIY)

  3. Negotiate Partnerships (External) – record labels, distributors, publishers, investors

  4. Financials – set up financial systems after ‘deals’ e.g. invoicing , commission

At this stage a manager will be connecting the artist to the industry, media and consumers. They will be talking to third parties and doing ‘deals’ with them to further the artist’s career. Even if there is no label as such and it a DIY route there will be negotiations with service companies e.g. distribution and marketing companies.

Stage 3 – Product to Market

  1. Partnership A&R – creative decision making with partners e.g. recordings

  2. Strategic Marketing – plan for ‘full’ release with label, distributor or publisher

  3. Campaign Management – oversee each part of the marketing activity

  4. Promotion Activity – touring and live (a big job in itself), PR

  5. Business Development – other revenue e.g. syncs / licensing, international

In this stage the manager should oversee the ‘full’ release of product (possibly in multiple territories) with partners and be co-ordinating promo activity e.g. gigs.

There is potentially more than this and this is one possible scenario and development path. All we are trying to do here is illustrate the breadth of activity a manager will be involved in. If you are an aspiring manager be prepared and if you are an artist choose wisely.

Contact: Music Managers Forum (MMF) -

For more read:
  1. The Music Management Bible – MMF (SMT Publication) 2003

  2. Star makers and Svengalis: The History of British Pop Management (A Queen Anne Press book) – Johnny Rogan 1998