Guest post by Sari Delmar, founder and CEO of Audio Blood.
Choosing a manager will be one of the most important decisions you make as an artist. Who you let represent you to the outside world is a direct reflection of how you handle your business, and a great manager can do magical things for your career. But more often than not, you're unfortunately going to come across a not-so-great manager who is slowly putting your band’s career in a dank, dark corner one email at a time. The wrong fit can quite literally sink you. Here are five common manager archetypes we recommend steering clear of if you’re looking to grow a long and steady career in the music biz.
1. The Too-Busy-To-Call-You-Back-Ager Beware the chronically busy and "important" manager. Being a busy manager is usually a good thing, but not taking time to hear their artists’ needs, cater to them, and collaborate with them will often cause fractures in the relationship. As the artist, you need to be able to reach your manager at any time for advice and late night strategizing. A constant dialogue is essential – after all, your manager is out on the industry front lines hustling for your career. When the manager is too busy to prioritize communication with the artist, it can lead to career decisions that the artist doesn’t support being made on their behalf. More importantly, what other calls is the manager not keeping up with? Opportunities are likely being missed if the manager is too disorganized to see them. Sometimes this type of manager is closely related to the my-career-is-more-important-than-yours-ager… which I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on.
2. The RagerThe rager manager is usually the first one to crack open that bottle of JD from the rider backstage. It’s nice that they can get loose and have some fun, but how many times can you get so slammed you forget to settle the show and then sleep through three calls from the Australian agent before it crosses the line? There needs to be a balance and seriousness around your business dealings. If the manager thinks his job is about getting wasted and hanging out with bands, he's going to be left in the dust when the band’s career hasn’t progressed beyond playing the local haunt every Thursday night.
3. The Name-dropper Don’t mistake the name-dropping manager for a great schmoozer. Schmoozing is an art that very rarely requires obnoxious name-dropping in order to be done well. Any industry veteran will see through the namedropper in a second. Sure, the age old adage is “it’s all about who you know," but anyone who’s really seen some success in this industry knows it’s more about what you do with those connections strategically than anything else. If you are looking for a manager who can list out the names of top A&R execs rather than actually get them in front of your band’s set, then you’ve found the right guy. If you’re looking for someone who can get them to the show and has genuine relationships with key industry players, they likely aren’t dropping names all over town and are bit more humble in their approach.
4. The Drama Llama We all know the type: instead of spending their days putting out fires and making the band look good, the drama llama manager can usually be found stirring the pot into a frothy boil. Being easy to work with in this industry will go a long way for managers and their artists. It doesn’t take long for a shit disturber to be rejected from key relationships or conversations. You don’t have time for this drama, and neither does the industry. Drama llamas can come in handy in other professions such as PR or music journalism, but managers need to be diplomatic and honest in order to do their jobs well. It’s okay, though – they’ll most likely find their way to the gossiping masses soon enough once they realize that management was just a detour. (Credit to Jeremy von Hollen who brilliantly coined the term drama llama.)
5. The Dad or Mom-ager Last, but certainly not least, under no circumstances (and I repeat, NO circumstances) should it be okay to let your parents manage your creative career. There are some rare cases in history where this has worked, but you will not be one of them. You need to pave your way as an independent adult and brand yourself within the industry. The Dad or Mom-ager instantly puts you at a different level in the mind of the industry: No matter how good your band is, you will always be seen as an amateur. Dear parents: I know you love your kids and would do anything for them. I know you used to be in a band and have some contacts from way back when, but trust me when I say your good intentions will work against your talented child’s potential. You need to stand by and be a cheerleader in their career, and support them with enthusiasm at every turn. You DO NOT need to be the one handling their money, stressful label rejection letters, begging journalists to review their album, and managing promoter relationships. Your relationship with your child will suffer, and his or her career will fall flat. Trust that the right manager will find your child at the right time, and that the industry will respond to his or her talents in due course.
I always like to think that the right manager will somehow find the right band and vice versa. The magical, musical gravity usually has a way of bringing the right people together. Until then, work hard, keep your head down, and don’t be lured by any of the sneaky managers above just because you’re feeling desperate. No great business decision has ever been made out of desperation, and this decision needs to be great.
When a band is at their best, there's an aura of positive vibes emanating. They're working together in sync and letting their ambitions get them to a higher place. It's a major characteristic I've seen in bands that grow from small-town to national to global. They fight to maintain positivity, and it isn't always easy.
So what keeps other bands struggling and stuck in the opposite groove? Negativity. Let's face it – everyone’s guilty of succumbing to negativity every once in a while. Whether it's letting someone else's negativity bring you down, or your own bad attitude keeping your band from finishing a song, it's safe to say that negativity can keep you from reaching your full potential. Negativity is your fear getting to you, and it can act as a creative block if you allow it to.
You may not notice it, but negativity could be holding your band back right now. You could have fallen into a funk in which many before you have found themselves trapped without even noticing.
Answer "yes" or "no" to the following statements to determine whether or not you're in a rut:
If you really want to make it in the music world (or any creative field), it means trying to see every problem as solvable, looking at an issue in a different light, ignoring those who might be bringing you down, and taking full advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
Here's some advice to get ahead of those adverse feelings.
1. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try againToo many artists quit when the going gets tough. Just because you've hit a bump in the road, or heard "no" one too many times, doesn't mean it's time to give up. Use any failed starts, bad experiences, or mistakes in your career as learning opportunities. Be sure to continue to grow both as an artist and as a business professional (because after all, music is your business) and see the potential in everything you do. And remember, your past is not indicative of your future. Just because your first band broke up, or your last album wasn’t a hit, doesn’t mean that this time is going to be the same. Don’t keep a tally of your failures as a record of self-defeat. Let it go. Make note of where you can improve and take the steps necessary to do so. Seek professional advice when you can't find it on your own, and never give up if this is something that you're passionate and serious about.
2. Stop caring about what people thinkThis is a tough one. It's probably one of the hardest things to get over in any industry, but it needs to be done. Don't let Negative Nancy and Norm get you down. Make the distinction between haters and constructive critics. A good way to tell the difference is by looking at where these critics are coming from – are they a reputable source? Are they people you know and respect or just anonymous commenters online? Have they been there since the beginning, or are they jumping in only to tear you down?
Try to separate comments from people who are just being rude and those who want to help you succeed. Make sure you acknowledge positive and constructive feedback, and make a point to really take their notes to heart. Always remember to pick your battles, and have the strength to know when to walk away. Some people are simply trying to bring you down. Determine if their comments are worth your time, and if they're not, just brush them off. Not everyone will want to see you succeed. Value those who do, and ignore those who don’t.
3. Ditch the "…someday""I don't have time," "I can't right now," "I won't ever succeed." Excuses, excuses, excuses. It's easy to shift the blame on outside circumstances and think your time will never come. An important thing to remember is that busyness is a state of mind. Take full ownership that making up excuses is a negative approach that'll stop you from actually going anywhere.
Don't think that someday your time will come. Your someday is today! It's your job to make the time needed to succeed. If this is what you want in life, and I mean, really want it, then why make excuses? If you can complete a task in five minutes or less – like sending an email to a booker or getting a schedule ready for next week – do it now. And on the opposite end, if you're unsure of something and have spent all your time obsessing over it – whether it's how a song is progressing or where to go next – leave it alone for a day and come back to it with fresh eyes and ears. The more you think about the future as unattainable, the less you'll get done today.
4. Band togetherIf you're looking to make music your full-time career, you're going to be spending a lot of your time with your bandmates. Which means you'll inevitably have lots of highs and lots of lows. On tour, you'll be in cramped vans and playing in small venues with five people watching you. Things will get rough. But know that pretty much every band goes through the same trials, and the point is to not buckle under pressure.
But if someone in your band is making decisions that are affecting the group negatively or making everyone else feel terrible about the show the night before, you need to take a moment for a breather. Make sure there's open communication, and people can really vent their frustrations. And don't bottle up things that are keeping you down. Resentment will build up; the band will implode. You can always turn negative circumstances around into a new approach.
5. Don't validate your fears You have to follow your gut. There's so much that could go wrong, so stop being afraid and start thinking about what could go right. The fear to fail can be just as detrimental as failing itself. It can be paralyzing. Express yourself. If you're afraid that something is going to go wrong, talk to your bandmates about it. Perhaps they're feeling the same way, or maybe they're able to reassure you and help you move forward. Think of what's already right. Be thankful. Positivity will fuel your work and can lead to success.
Best of luck, friends!
Courtney Parkes also contributed to this article.
This article originally appeared on the Bandzoogle blog.
Your fans have the attention span of a goldfish (less, actually!). So every time you engage with them, you need to hit 'em with a one-two knockout punch. The best way to do that is through consistent visual content. We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and since graphics evoke emotion, this connects you to your fans more quickly (if you have the right images).
The king of images and videos right now is Instagram. In a previous post we hit you with four tips to make your band's Instagram more engaging. Since then, Instagram has exploded, so here are 25 more ways to make your Instagram (IG) account work for you:
Found some useful info that may shed some light on these topics guys
Writing your own songs and making recordings are two ways that musicians can literally make money while they sleep, that is because payments from licensing can keep automatically appearing in your mailbox whether you are performing or not. Every time your song plays on the radio, at your favorite restaurant, or as part of a commercial, you (as a copyright owner) can get paid licensing fees. Publishers and organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Harry Fox Agency, and SoundExchange all collect license fees and distribute the money to songwriters and bands. Copyright is vital to musicians, and this series of articles will break down everything you need to know about copyright and your band.
What you can copyrightAccording to the U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. copyright protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. So as a songwriter your song lyrics and melodies are protected by copyright, and as a recording artist your recordings are also protected by a separate copyright. Being granted copyright gives you the right to prevent other people from using your lyrics, music and recordings, but more importantly copyright gives you the ability to earn money from your music.
Your (copy) rightsCopyright actually involves a divisible bundle of six rights that allow you to control how other people use your songs. As a copyright owner you have the exclusive right to allow or deny the (1) adaptation, (2) display, (3) performance, (4) distribution, (5) reproduction, and (6) digital transmission of your songs. And since the rights are divisible, you can allow someone to perform your songs but deny them the right to record them: it’s up to you how your song is used. But perhaps more important than control is the fact that copyright ownership gives you the potential to make money every time someone adapts, performs, prints, makes and sells recordings, and broadcasts or digitally transmits your songs.
LimitationsCopyright has its limitations, and although you can copyright your songs it does not protect ideas, the titles of your songs or the name of your band. Because copyright is designed to encourage the creation of new works, allowing people to copyright individual words and short phrases could ultimately prevent creativity; just imagine if greeting card companies were able to copyright the phrase “happy birthday!” But don’t be discouraged, your band’s name may qualify for trademark protection. Trademark law is designed to prevent marketplace confusion and can stop other bands from stealing your fans by copying your name. For more details on how to register a trademark visit the website for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
How to copyright your songsThe good news is that in the U.S. if you have written your song down on paper or made a recording of it, known in legal speak as making a tangible fixation, then the song is already copyrighted. In the U.S. copyright occurs at the moment the song is fixed in some way that allows others to read or hear it without you pulling out your guitar to give a live performance. In the U.S. a song doesn’t need to be published to gain copyright: it’s automatically granted when you fix the song in some tangible form.
It is important to carefully choose who you share your song ideas with before you write them down or record them because the author, for the purposes of copyright, is the person who actually makes the first tangible copy of the song, not necessarily the person who came up with the idea. Keep written and/or audio records of your songs and protect yourself! Affixing notice of copyright and registering your song with the U.S. Copyright office can offer you even more protection.
Notice. One way to make people aware that your songs are copyrighted is to affix them with a notice including ©, or circle p in the case of recordings, followed by the year of publication and your name.
Writing your own songs and making recordings are two ways that musicians can literally make money while they sleep. Payments from licensing can keep automatically appearing in your mailbox whether you are performing or not. Every time your song plays on the radio, at your favorite restaurant, or as part of a commercial, you (as a copyright owner) can get paid licensing fees. Publishers and organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Harry Fox Agency, and SoundExchange all collect license fees and distribute the money to songwriters and bands. Copyright is vital to musicians, and this series of articles will break down everything you need to know about copyright and your band. (Part Two)
RegistrationAlthough you don’t need to register your songs with the copyright office, registering offers you much more protection in the event that someone else tries to claim them as their own. In order to sue someone for infringing on your copyright you will first need to register the song. Depending on when you register you might be entitled to legal fees if you win the lawsuit. Upon registration your songs will also be deposited with the Library of Congress, making it harder for plagiarizers to claim that they didn’t know your song existed.
In order to register songs and recordings visit the U.S. Copyright office website for details. Once there you can complete an online copyright registration, which will require a form, fee, and copy of the song you want to register. Currently copyright in the U.S. lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. After copyright expires songs enter the public domain and no longer require permission and/or license fees to be performed. But don’t assume that all Public Domain works are free to use, because newer edited versions of public domain works can gain new copyright protection, making it possible for new editions of works by Mozart to earn licensing fees for their editors.
International copyrightUnfortunately there is no such thing as a universal international copyright registration and laws about copyright vary by country. If you want protection for your songs in another country you will need to follow the procedures set by their government.
Simplifying ownershipAs a singer-songwriter/recording artist you probably work with other musicians and band members to write and record your songs. Copyright ownership can get tricky when multiple people are involved in the creative process, especially since copyright materializes at the moment you put pen to paper or push the record button. When multiple people are involved in the creative process they may gain joint ownership in the songs and recordings, giving them the right to veto certain decisions about what can be done with the songs and recordings in question. Consolidating copyright ownership will make your life easier.
Working with session musiciansIf you hire ringers for a recording, make sure they sign a session release form before you start recording. These forms release the musician’s right to control the fate of the recorded songs, and since copyright ownership can only be transferred in writing, if you fail to get a session release form from a musician they may automatically become a joint owner of the recording copyright. But just because someone isn’t a copyright owner doesn’t mean they can’t share in the economic success of the recording: if musicians are hesitant to sign a session release form you can still offer them a percentage of royalties in exchange for control of the rights.
If you don’t make sure that the band consolidates copyright ownership then licensing and record companies might be wary of making a deal with you. No one wants to chase all over the country trying to get permission from the drummer on track 3 of your demo, and failing to control all of the rights might cause you to be passed over when it comes time to sign the record deal.
Having the talkEveryone hopes that their band has what it takes to endure, but even the most amiable bands may have members that leave to pursue other gigs or interests. When band members leave they may retain joint ownership in the songs and recordings you created together, which means you might owe departed band members money years after they’ve left, and even worse: you may need their written permission to make a record or publishing deal.
Imperfect copyright ownership (when you do not control all of the rights) can scare off publishers and record companies and generally make your life difficult. Consider setting up an LLC or other business entity to be the owner of the copyrights, with written agreements about revenue sharing and what happens when band members leave or join the group. This consolidation of ownership makes it easier to license your recordings, although as a singer-songwriter you may want to keep ownership of your songs and grant your band permission to perform and record them. As with all legal matters, you should consult an attorney specializing in entertainment law to advise you and help you set up a business entity and written agreements. Although you may be reluctant to spend the time and money early on, remember that it’s much easier to come to an agreement while you are all still friends.
SummaryUnderstanding copyright and licensing can help you have a more lucrative musical career. Copyright is automatically created when you fix your songs in a tangible form, making it vital to consolidate copyright ownership through written agreements before undertaking activities such as recording. Consolidating copyright ownership of both your songs and recordings will make it easier for your band to take advantage of new opportunities to spread your music
Stay tuned next time for more on royalties and how to make money from your copyrights through licensing.
DisclaimerThis article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the SonicBids.
© 2013 Jamie Davis-Ponce
Lara Whelan - CEO AND FOUNDER of Bandemoinum
WELL!!!! WE FINALLY DID IT GUYS!!!!!!! finally got this site and blog going.
I just want to say a huge hi to you all and thanks for your patience. Every single one of you guys are amazing and full of talent.
we have some huge things in store for you all so make sure you keep checking in and posting
Love you all