Accountants & Attorneys: The Most Important Members of a Successful Artist Team

Everyone is always talking about the artists’ team, the critical support structure that helps spread the music and manage fanbases.

But when it comes to successful artists, the most important and well-paid members are lawyers and accountants – then the webmaster, booking agent, manager, and everyone else.

The Future of Music Coalition recently interviewed thousands of artists about the composition of their team, and this is what a few hundred, high-earning artists said.  These are full-time artists making more than $100,000 a year with over 90% of that coming directly from their music.  And outside of the band members themselves, these were the roles designated most (in terms of the percentage of respondents indicating that these people were members of their team).

13 Responses

    • paul

      These are what the surveyed artists checked off as members of their team. So, imaging a list of let’s say 35 different roles, these were the percentages that checked them off.

  1. Taylor

    Odd that “Manager” isn’t represented on this chart. I would have thought at least some percentage of artists would consider a manager an important member of the team. Unless business manager is considered to be the same thing on this chart, which would be strange since those are very different roles not usually confused.

    • Tyler Weith

      No, the business manager is not the personal managaer. The manager is paid 15%-20% of gross income of the artist. So the category wouldn’t be included because the other jobs are all specific services not percentages of sales, etc. from different revenue streams.

      • Suzanne Lainson

        Since a manager gets a percentage of income, why wouldn’t the position be included on this as a equity partner?

    • benstauffer

      I agree, Taylor. There is something not quite right about the fact that Personal Manager doesn’t appear here, yet Accountant and Biz Mgr (which for many would be the same person/firm) are separately represented.

      • Suzanne Lainson

        And outside of the band members themselves, these were the roles designated most (in terms of the percentage of respondents indicating that these people were members of their team).

        I guess we’ll have to get more info about whether people were given options or if they volunteered them. It is possible that among the responding group few have personal managers, or if they do, they were lumped in together with business managers.

        • Suzanne Lainson

          I found a copy of the survey over at the Future of Music site. Respondents were just given the above list of team members to check off. Personal manager was not an option, though they were asked to write in any other team members not listed.

          So presumably anyone who had a personal manager either checked off “business manager” instead, didn’t write in “personal manager,” or did write it in but doing so didn’t result in enough responses to be included on the list.

          • CL

            Agreed. Because they make enough from what they do, it’s truly reasonable they wouldn’t utilize a manager.

  2. Suzanne Lainson

    I’ve told musicians not to get a manager unless the manager can actually do something for them. I’ve known inexperienced musicians who grab the first person who looks like a manager to have a “manager.” But personally I’d rather deal directly with a musician than with a bad manager. So I don’t find it odd that among these top earning musicians, a manager isn’t the team member at the top of their lists.

  3. @madktc

    I bet 98% of the artists on this list are doing it with management.