How to Be a Music Manager

A great manager can turn a struggling band into a world-touring act.
A great manager can turn a struggling band into a world-touring act. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Many bands have a “do-it-yourself” attitude when it comes to booking shows, promoting their music, recording albums and touring. However, having a manager who "clicks" with the band members and understands their needs can be an invaluable asset to an emerging act. Music managers handle all the grunt work that musicians often overlook, mainly administrative and marketing duties. This job is ideal for a music fanatic with strong networking skills and a penchant for organizational tasks. A music manager is the same as a band manager.


Start preparing to be a music manager while you're still in high school. Get involved with bands and concert promotion in your region. Get to know the popular bands and music venues in your city and start networking with people in the business. If you have any musical talent, start your own bands or join established bands. Stay up to date on the latest trends in the music business by reading magazines and Internet resources, attending concerts, purchasing records and talking to bands.

Research college degree options and choose a school based on criteria important to you. Many performing arts and music schools offer associate's or bachelor’s degree programs in talent management, which teach business skills specifically directed toward the entertainment industry. Consider the cost of the program, the distance from home, living costs, campus life, career services and other factors. Look for a school that has a recording studio, a college radio station and a concert production board.

Obtain a college degree, taking relevant courses to boost your skills. Recommended classes include copyright law, modern media, music history, music theory, studio recording and audio production, marketing psychology, foreign languages and music law. Consider doing an internship at a record label, music magazine, talent agency, concert venue or other such place.

Approach bands that you think need professional management. Not all bands are going to jump at the chance to have an inexperienced manager handling their accounts and promotional activities. Chances are, however, that you’ll eventually find a band that you click with you wants to pay you to help them sell T-shirts, book shows, make hotel reservations and perform other tasks they would rather avoid. Don’t take these early jobs lightly, as they can lead to greater opportunities with the same band or other bands.

Continue to pick up professional skills along the way. Even music managers who hold college degrees learn a great deal of their skills on the job. The music industry sometimes works in mysterious ways; and managers, just like musicians, sound technicians, producers and other members of the industry, need to learn the ropes. Stay focused, work hard and treat your musicians and other contacts with respect at all times.

Tips & Warnings

  • Learn an instrument and create your own music, even if you have little raw talent. Oftentimes the best managers are musicians themselves.

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