Artist Management Dynamics; A Need-Know For A Successful Music Career.


By Innocent Kawooya | Mohamed Kimbugwe | Editor: Consolate Kyarikunda

Professional management is an integral part of any professional music career. However, it is also important to note that not every artist is ready for fully fledged management, unless they too have embraced fully fledged professionalism.

If an artist is still unprofessional and ignorant about the right practices of a professional music career, they will most definitely not understand the role of management and neither will they fully benefit from management.

There are basically six types of professionals managers and much as an average Ugandan artist will deal with one or two types in their lifetime, it is important that they get to know all the other types, just in case need arises.

It is also important to note that an artist get to need more of the managers we are going to look at, depending on their level of progress and professionalism. The higher you go as an artist in your career, the more of these managers you may need.

The most common type of manager is the Music Manager, also known as the Artist Manager/Talent manager/band or personal manager. These ones are involved in counselling and advising artists in all matters relating to and with their music careers. They have over the years evolved beyond shopping for deals, to assisting the artists in running their recording, distribution and performances.

This manager is therefore the most basic and is suitable for all types of artists, including those that are still at basic level in the trade. Basic level here means that an artist has grasped the basics of a professional trade and is no longer raw.

Business Managers are the second type that an artist may need and these are usually accountants by profession. They manage income and expenses of an artist and usually take care of all sorts of payments on behalf of the artist.

The business manager may for example pay backup vocalists, the band and any other kind of professional expenses that the artist incurs. They may also be tasked with advising the artist on business related matters, including income and expenditure good practices.

This therefore means that for an artist to have a business manager, they must be at that level in their career where they are already dealing with reasonable sums of money, including income and payments. You can’t have a business manager to deal with the money that you don’t have.

The Road Manager is the third type of manager. This one takes care of logistics while the artist is on tour. The road manager also ensures that all contracts are paid on time and everything on tour is taken care of.

An artist therefore, should not even bother to hire a road manager when they are not yet at that level in their career where they do tours. These are suitable for “grown” artists who have embarked on tours that cover large areas and last lengthy periods.

It is important to note that much the nature of your management team reflects your level of professionalism; it must also be equal to your level of income. There is simply a stage in your career when you can’t afford all sorts of managers.

We then move to Tour Managers, whose job is to coordinate all the road managers and pay attention to detail to ensure tour success. This kind of manager too is not for the average Ugandan artist, given that the culture of tours here is hard to come by.

The Production Manager on the other hand works closely with tour managers, paying particular attention to the production of the show like renting sound, video and lighting equipment among several others.

This therefore means that you may not need a production manager if you still hold basic performances! These ones are suitable for artists that hold complex performances, whose dynamics require the attention of a fully-fledged professional manager.

Finally, we take a look at the Technical Manager. This one is usually in charge of set design, construction and control during performances. They work closely with production managers to ensure the success of performances.

Yet again, if you are still the type of artist that holds basic performances, you may not need a technical manager on your payroll. You either can’t afford one or practically don’t need one. This kind of manager is suited for big and professional performances.

At this point, it is evidently clear that much as not every artist is ready for fully-fledged management, it is also clear that not every artist is ready for each and every one of the managers we have looked at.

You must therefore assess the level at which your career currently stands, evaluate your financial muscle and decide what kind of manager you need at that given stage! That way, you will not end up spending on what you don’t need.