How to Find a Skilled, Professional Music Manager to Guide Your Career

The Road Ahead: How to Secure a Great Music Manager
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As a music producer and former artist, I can honestly attest to the fact that having a bad music manager can sink your dreamboat faster than a torpedo. Here’s a guide on how to find a good music manager that can propel your career forward.

The following guest post comes from Sahpreem A. King, a multi-platinum music producer, DJ, and author of several industry books. Here, he discusses the ins-and-outs on how to find a music manager.

Allow me to begin by saying that as an independent artist, you should never feel as if you weren’t good enough to be signed by a label. Instead, you were smart enough not to be raped and robbed by one!

In my 20-plus year relationship with the music business, I have seen a lot of artists damage their careers by staying ignorant to how the music business operates.  In my expert opinion, what you don’t know (or refuse to learn) can make the difference between success and failure.

And ultimately, spell the difference between wealth and poverty.

As a music producer and former artist, I can honestly attest to the fact that having a bad music manager or major funding problem can sink your dreamboat faster than a torpedo.  By the way, this commentary stems from my personal experiences.

Having the right manager or management team is critical to the success of every artist. No single person, outside of the artist of course, is responsible for making dreams of success turn into reality, building a brand, and business around the artist than a manager.  What’s more, a manager should be the most trusted person or persons within your camp.  In some way, they are the CEO of the brand, which is YOU!

Everybody, regardless of who they are in the music business, needs proper representation.  Most artists are too engulfed in the creative aspects of their careers to mind the store.

Furthermore, I think it is foolish to represent yourself, regardless of your experience or education level.  The reason is simple: when it comes to themselves, most people are unable to be objective.

Even if you have a puppet manager and your hand up someone’s a$$ making their lips say your words, the illusion of having external business leadership is essential to your music career.  It’s far better than representing yourself.

For the new artist, it’s difficult to know if you are in a bad management situation until it’s too late.  If all you know is abuse and shady dealings, how will you know good business when you see it?  More often than not, new artists fall victim to the appearance of success.  Which is a crafty illusion propagated by con artists, thieves, and swindlers.  If you have bankable talent, then these people are waiting in the alleys to sign you to some of the most horrific management contracts the music industry has ever known.

Nevertheless, if you don’t know, you don’t know.  Gaining music industry experience without going to school, picking up a music business book, or being mentored by a music industry professional, leaves you with one option for learning; trial and error.  Unfortunately, you don’t have valuable time to waste on experimentation, now do you?  In hindsight, I wished I had read a book that told the unadulterated truth about bad management, but there were none available at the time… so I wrote my own.

Hopefully, at this point in your music career you understand what a manager does.  You understand his roll within your organization.  But if not, here’s a refresher.

The Duties of an Artist Manager

The official definition of a manager is someone who handles the business aspect of your musical career, whether you are a solo artist, DJ, band, or producer. Artist managers serve as intermediaries between the artist and the music industry. In many cases, managers are responsible for procuring artist’s record and publishing deals, songs to record, shows, producers to work with, and other career advancing opportunities.

Furthermore, managers are supposed to guide your music career based on their vast expertise in their field; however, if you have an inexperienced manager who is too lazy to learn the music business, don’t expect much.

On the flipside, not all managers are bad, although acts like TLC would beg to differ; there are a few managers out there like Jennifer Lopez’s (and others) manager, Benny Medina, who really know what they’re doing.

Getting a top-shelf manager isn’t easy, but in order to get the best you have to do your due diligence. Finding a good manager is difficult because there are far too many bad managers that will steal, lie, and cheat you out of your hard earned royalties, publishing, and music career.

Despite the fact that some managers are bloodsucking leeches with no morals, ethics, or scruples, managers are unavoidable and certainly a necessary evil; like I said before, you cannot represent yourself.  When seeking a manager to guide your music career, you must do your homework.  Think of yourself as part of a CSI unit investigating a murder and leave no stone unturned!  Dare to do the opposite and the murder investigation will be the murdering of your music career.

How to Spot Bad Managers A Mile Away

If your potential manager…

    • wears a doo-rag and has one gold tooth with a Playboy bunny cut out, claims to be a legitimate business man, but can only meet you late nights at Denny’s, then this is probably not the manager for you.
    • has a Red Bull and coffee addiction, doesn’t understand Facebook, drives a soccer mom van, and is an ex-high school cheerleader whose dreams of becoming the next Madonna were crushed by an unwanted teen pregnancy, then she’s not the one you want managing your music career either.
    • is a 75-year-old disbarred lawyer, who claims to have worked with all of the greats, yet has never earned one red cent in the music industry, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for a manager.

Choosing an Artist Manager

No matter what genre of music or career path chosen by an artist, bad management can really do irreparable damage to one’s career.  To be blunt, bad management can really F’up your chances of ever succeeding in the music industry.

Forget everything you think you know about artist management.  Contrary to the popular myth, you don’t work for your manager.  Unlike the working relationship between the second shift manager at Taco Bell and the person working the drink dispenser, in the relationship between an artist and manager, the manager is actually in the subordinate role.

Let’s be clear, your manager works for you… you don’t work for them!

In the music or entertainment industries, the term manager refers to a person that assists artists in all matters of their music careers.  Therefore, as a manager’s employer, you are entitled to all of the rights, benefits, and privileges associated with the employer-employee relationship.

More specifically, an artist manager’s job is to guide and counsel an artist’s music or entertainment career for the benefit of building their brand.  In addition, an artist manager assists artists in the administrative tasks associated with the business of music, and advises them on important business decisions.

How Much is Their Contribution Worth?

On average, artist management compensation is about 20%, of the net revenue of income derived from all aspects of an artist’s music career. However, compensation can range from as low as 5% (sweet deal) up to as high as 30% (you’re getting screwed).

Power of Attorney

When an artist transfers total legal control of his or her music career or personal affairs over to a manager or management group, this is known as giving someone the power of attorney.  The bottom line is that the person who has power of attorney can sign contracts in your name, contracts that carry the full weight of law.  This is no joke.

Granting power of attorney allows your management to make financial and career-altering decisions that may or may not screw your life up beyond restoration.  When you sign away your decision-making rights, business transactions can be conducted on your behalf without your consent or knowledge.  In addition, an artist manager who has power of attorney over you.  That means they can sign you to a record deal that makes you a virtual slave.  And, you are legally obligated to honor that agreement or get your a$$ sued.

Granting power of attorney to a bad manager is like being blindfolded in a dark room while being poked by sharp sticks until you bleed to death.  In the dark, there is a looming threat from every direction.  But you can’t see it coming and you are unable to defend yourself.  It’s not a matter of whether you will be stuck or not, it’s a matter of when you will be stuck and roasted like a pig.  Some wounds can be lethal, and the emotional scars of bad management can cripple music careers.

Beware, there are a-million-and-one horror stories about bad management, don’t let your story be the one millionth and second.

Signs of a Good Artist Manager

Here is what you should be looking for.  Your potential manager:

  • should have a degree in music business, an MBA, or years of experience as a former music executive or successful artist.

  • should have an office wall lined with platinum awards of the current or recent artists he or she has represented.

  • must have an intricate understanding of the music industry. Especially contract and intellectual property law, deal making, publishing, royalties, booking, touring, accounting, and marketing and business planning.

  • must at least have a business card (I kid you not), a legal business address, a client list (verifiable of course), and a detailed plan as to how they are going to take you from zero to “Guitar Hero” in a reasonable amount of time.

When You Can’t Find a Good Manager, Hire a Family Member

It may not be completely necessary to have someone outside of your circle manage your music career. In fact, plenty of famous artists have found great managers right within their own gene pools. Artists such as Usher, Ashanti, and Jessica and Ashley Simpson are all managed by their parents.  (Or, they were at some point in their careers).  Nevertheless, having a family member manage you depends on the type of relationship you have with your family.  Bad family relationships lead to even worst business arrangements.  Dysfunction breeds dysfunction.

Consider that Joe Jackson is said to be responsible for making Michael Jackson a star.  Now I’m not qualified to confirm or deny the child abuse associated with MJ’s early life.  But if a good a$$ whooping can make you a mega star, then leave no a$$ un-whooped.

No, seriously, it is important to exhaust your nearest resources before you go out in the world in search of a good manager.  What you’ve been in search of might have been looking at you from across the dinner table all of your life.  Some families are really that tight knit and not as dysfunctional as they appear.

Ozzy Osbourne is (or was) managed by his wife Sharon Osbourne.  Ray J and Brandy are (or were) managed by their mom Sonia Norwood.  In addition, Jay-Z manages his wife Beyonce’s career.  And I’m sure Diggy Simmons gets a little help from his dad Joseph “Run” Simmons and his uncle Russell Simmons.  Every now and then it’s best to keep it all in the family.

On the other hand, if you look at the relationship Lindsay Lohan has with her father, you might want to find the first manager who will work with you.

Dude, it’s up to you to make the decision of what artist manager type you want on your team.

We all know that your family can get to you just as fast and dirty as anyone in the streets.  If you are the outcast or black sheep of your family, it may be better to utilize someone from your inner circle who knows you well, loves your music, and understands where you want to take your career.

Whether friend, family, or stranger, someone needs to be your guide and mouthpiece.  In the music industry, you need someone to take the lead and serve as your appointed representative.

Be mindful that the agreement with your manager is a binding contractual document.  It obligates both parties to a standard of performance.  For instance, let’s say in your agreement, the manager promises to get you an audience with a major recording company within an appointed amount of time.  If he fails to deliver on his/her commitment, he is in violation of the agreement.

When this happens, an artist may move to either terminate or extend the contract.  Or both parties may mutually agree to terminate or extend the contract.  If no agreement can be made, both parties can agree to mediation by an uninterested third party.

Yet, there are two sides to this equation. Say the manager does in fact fail to get you and your band an audition with a major recording company.  But by no fault of his own. Let’s say the reason why the manager failed at his mission was that you failed to complete your demo on time.  So the manager wasn’t able to shop your material.

Whose fault is that?  It’s your fault.

How to Fix the Problem of Bad Management (the recap)

To reiterate, you need an artist manager to help guide your music career.  Think of him as the captain of your ship navigating you through the treacherous pirate-invested seas.  In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to hire someone with some of the qualities of Captain Jack Sparrow.  Because, hey, sometimes you need a pirate to help you deal with pirates.

Don’t fool yourself, this is more literal than you can imagine.

Furthermore, the responsibilities of an artist manager vary from deal to deal.  But when it comes to contract negotiation, promotion, coordinating performance dates, promotional appearances, booking recording studio time, publishing deals, and most importantly looking out for the thieves and liars that reside in the offices and cubicles at the record company, you need someone who can walk the walk.

Please heed this warning.  Finding the right manager is like finding a lawyer who tells the truth. It’s nearly impossible, but it can be done.

First thing you should keep in mind is that there are no regulatory commissions, legislation, or licensing boards that make sure artist managers are operating legitimately or ethically.

In other words, anybody, and I do mean anybody, can go to FedEx Kinko’s and print up a business card with the word MANAGER printed on it.  I’ve seen it so many times that I can smell it in the air within a ten-mile radius.  Keep an eye out for a fast-talking, Red Bull-drinking, over-enthusiastic name-dropper who is still bitter that he let the great one (insert artist name here) slip away.  These are the worst people imaginable to deal with.

Remember to always stay focused on the business.  For heaven’s sake, this is your life (music career) we are talking about!

Take-a-ways from this article that you should engrave into your brain.

  • Investigate, follow up, verify, ask for client references

  • Don’t sign anything without having an attorney review it, even if it’s an agreement between you and your Momma!

  • Not all that glitters is gold, the appearance of success and actual success differ greatly once you scratch the surface.

  • The key points of a management agreement are: exclusivity, length of contract, territory, and most importantly compensation. Also, it is paramount that you spell out the duties, responsibilities, obligations, and milestones within the management agreement.  That way, everyone is on the same page.  The last thing you want to do is assume!

  • Never agree verbally or in writing to something that doesn’t feel right, even if a deal is on the table. Your integrity, peace of mind, and ultimately your artistic freedom can be taken with a swipe of a pen.

  • The contract between you and your manager should be a win-win. And remember, your manager works for you, not the other way around.

In conclusion.

I strongly advise artists whether newbies or veterans, become educated about the music business.  If you were a plumber and didn’t know how to use an adjustable pipe wrench, you wouldn’t be much of a plumber would you?  Not!

Devote the same level of passion and determination you had when you learned how to play guitar, rap, sing, DJ, or produce, to learning the music business.  Add your newfound knowledge and skillset to your repertoire of talents.  Now go out there and make great music without being ripped off.

Want to read more on this topic and more on the music industry? Check out my book, Dude, I Can Help You! 18 Mistakes Artists Make and How To Fix Them.”

About the Author

Sahpreem A. King is a multi-platinum music producer and DJ.  He’s the author of Gotta Get Signed: How To Become A Hip Hop Producer.  Additionally, he has authored Surviving the Game: How To Succeed In the Music Business.  He also heads Sewer Ratz Digital Music and Music Business Guru Academy. King earned a Master of Education Media and Design, and a Master of Entertainment Business from Full Sail University.  He is currently developing a music business course that focuses on the realities of being an independent artist.

Contact him at

Follow him on Twitter @sahpreemking


Image: ‘Road’ by Nico Kaiser, CC by 2.0.

123 Responses

  1. Jerrod

    I personally, honestly enjoyed it!

    Thanks for the post -Jerrod

    • sahpreemking

      Thanks Jerrod, hopefully my experiences can help you on your journey or at least let you know that you are not alone.

      • -Jairo M.

        I Loved it. I was wondering what you would say to someone aspiring to be a talent manager. I need to find something to do with my life and being a manager seems interesting to me. Advice?
        Thank you in advance.

      • Anya

        I was an example of getting involved with bad (scam) management 3 years ago. Scared me so bad, I ran away! But I’m recording again and starting over. I know its necessary to have a manager but I really want to get linked up with a legitimate professional. Thank you for this article. ~Anya Alexandria

      • Justin Gildhoff

        Hi I’m justin Gildhoff i need a manager I’m a great singer and a good dancer

      • Justin Gildhoff

        Hi I’m looking for someone to guide my career pls I’m a great singer and dancer

          • Cody

            I’m looking for a music manager and I want to start my career and my crew team name and my rapper name Lil Purple CD and team name is Purple INC Gang

    • Bridgette

      Hi I really love music and I really want to show the world that I can sing it’s just that I do need practice and I do need guidance and I do want to be famous and let everybody know my voice

    • H20superboy

      Am an artist I need a manager who can promote my sings

  2. Wendy Day

    I think I love you….

    Seriously, great post!! Not sure I’m with the hire a family member idea, but I agree 110% with everything else you’ve said….and that’s so rare.

  3. Entertaining

    This was a fun read, and some great points…but I can hardly co sign on it as gospel….especially the part about family members and business. We can pull out as many (if not more) horror stories about Momagers and Wife/husbands taking artist’s fortunes due to things like under age working situations or divorces sans pre nups or standard management paper.

    The type of psychological manipulation that can be delivered by family is far more dangerous than ANYTHING the sleaziest industry dirtbag could come up with.

    At the end of the day, yes, do your homework. Learn about the industry and what it means to be a part of it NOW. Gold and platinum plaques are great, but if they’re from 1986…it’s just a different ballgame. That said, even a baller manager of today could easily pick you up to fill out their roster, but never really focus on you enough to develop you to your potential.

    Of course, work your ass off so you actually have something to manage. The options will start to flood in once you have something remarkable. Oh, and make sure your lawyer and manager aren’t in cahoots…


    • sahpreemking

      Outstanding points…I can agree that family can screw you over just as bad if not worst than anyone else!

      • Entertaining

        Thanks sir!

        You’ve seen it from a lot of angles though…more than most. This is one of the best straight up lay outs I’ve seen in a bit…I’m gonna go cop the book on the kindle now…

    • Sounds like a real manager

      Agree with you…lopsided. My full comment to come below under “Leaving Parts Out”

    • Ashley

      Man oh man very awesome! Glad I ran into this! I won’t give up the search for a music mnger!! I write my own stuff, n very down to earth, funny,dedicated and inspiring to ppl !! I just need to find an acoustic guitar player who can mesh with me! I do country . The right person will come at the right time. Fingers crossed!!

  4. Anonymous

    Yup. Still haven’t found a manager though. Where should one look for one? I’ve tried writing to the managers of other artists I like, but I might as well be emailing the void.

    • sahpreemking

      Somewhere in the universe there is a manager looking to work with an artist like you, so don’t give up the search. More specifically, I would begin seeking a manager in the local music community where you live. I would also seek out recent music business school graduates from schools like Full Sail University, Berklee, SAE Institute and the like, you can always find an energetic and eager person to help manage your career. I have friend who recently became an artists manager for a Jazz musician in Orlando. He was a nurse prior to entering the music business and his friend (the musician) needed someone he could trust. With zero experience my friend jumped in and it was a natural fit. I’m happy to report, that less than six months as his manager, my friend has managed to book the jazz musician up until 2015 on just about every Jazz fest in the US and a few abroad. I would start out by writing a music business career plan and see where and how a manager can fill the voids. Next, I would take a look in my own back yard. You may have a buddy that could help you make enough noise to capture the attention of some of the people you been after.

      I hope this helps!

      • Malachai Johns

        Sort of seems to contradict the “should have an office wall lined with platinum awards of the current or recent artists he or she has represented.” statement in your article no?

  5. Elize Kaisserlidou

    Really good written informing article about the matter

    • sahpreemking

      Elize, thanks for taking out the time to read the article and comment. What did you like about the article?

    • Richard

      I would love to becoming a singer i just dont know how to find a good music manger

  6. Robyn Harris

    Beautifully worded and so informative.
    Going out to get your book STAT,ASAP.
    Thank you so much.

    • sahpreemking

      Thanks Robyn, I believe that your audience should be informed as well as, entertained. My writing style may not be suitable for all; however, I have found that many people enjoy stories that they can relate to rather than stories that are only informational. What did you enjoy about it the most?

  7. ja

    cant rep yourself huh? sure…

    this article is garbage and a poor shill for your book.

    • sahpreemking

      I sorry you feel that way. If you have in fact purchased any of my books and were dissatisfied I would kindly offer you a full refund provided that you email the proof of your purchase to

      Also, I’m curious to know what you would have done differently?

  8. Leaving Parts Out

    While this is definitely the broad strokes of management, it leans a little heavy on bad managers. I’ve seen just as many ignorant artists making bad calls over management’s advice (because hey, we work for you…) and killing careers. I’ve seen artists be developed in amazing acts only to break away from the person/team that put them in the position in the first place for a need for more fame and fortune; if not after to only kill their careers, too. I can’t think of any stories where they accomplished getting “more” for themselves… Lazy artists are worse. Having a manager do everything is ridiculous and is a cop out to blame them when something goes wrong. These days it’s more about getting off your rump and doing more than playing shows and writing music…

    I definitely disagree with the family managers. More than times than not, this ends badly. Or with “FANAGERS” brought on, too. Your manager doesn’t need to have a overpriced music biz degree from Berklee to get it down but he needs to know what’s going on. The comment above about the nurse friend, while a good one and I know a similar story, that rarely happens as well.

    Get a real business manager! These guys handle your money instead of a manager. Funny he left that out because artist managers shouldn’t touch your money. Devil’s advocate, they can be just as bad or make a manger look bad. Note: just because a family accountant knows taxes and basic business, doesn’t mean he can read a royalty statement and understands an artist’s P&L. Get a real one.

    Honestly, there’s no perfect model in the CURRENT days. It’s so fragmented between big and small management teams, smart, dumb lazy artists, good and bad business managers. It’s depends on SOOOOO MUCH. Just reading this and back over my comment makes me think of several stories for all aspects. Maybe I should write a book or anonymous music business stories…

    MY ADVICE: Look for reputation. Ask around EXTENSIVELY. Several facets to both sides of the stories. You never know when an artist screwed themselves, don’t listened to good advice, and blames their manager, booking agent, etc for their mistakes… Hell, an artist should take a basic music biz class or two (not a useless full degree), read a few books just so they are not blind at first. You should be CO-PARTNERS in your career. Work together and even though ultimately you have the final say, make it a team effort. I can go on, but I’ll get down of my soap box…

    • sahpreemking

      I agree with a lot of what you’re saying; however, all aspects of management— good, bad, and ugly couldn’t possibly be summed up in a short article. This advice my not be suitable for artists who have been in the game and bounced around a time or two, but it is a great place to start. Arguments can be made for and against having a parent or super fan manage your career, so artists should get in where they fit in.

      In another, reply, someone mentioned that they have been trying to reach out to better quality managers, garnering zero results. I understand it could be frustrating, but sometimes you have to make and way out of no way, and that may force you to use someone within your inner circle.

      As far as leaving out the money part, that should be obvious, but once again, this an article and not a dissertation.

      On another note, I completely agree with your assessment of lazy artists and in all of my books I discuss those topics as well. I have personally experienced spending time, energy, and money to develop acts who have screwed up their chances, by being arrested, sleeping with the A&R, becoming pregnant, abandoning the group at the 11th hour, and more.

      This article is not so much about beating up on managers, because there are a lot of GOOD ones out there, but artists just coming up don’t usually get their pick from the cream of the crop, its usually from the bottom of the barrel.

      Besides who do you know what you want, unless you know what you don’t want?

  9. JAWAR™ (@jawar)

    This is an excellent read. Both aspiring artist and music managers alike may learn a great deal from reading what you’ve presented.

  10. Kysii Ingram - midatlantic music conf

    VERY good insightful article. It was straight to the point with no holds barred. Advice that all musicians should know, whether seasoned or new. It has enough information for all to be able to enjoy and although it is very informative it also holds your attention with the writing styles and witty examples.

  11. Darryl C - @Alldogsradio

    Great article, much needed information especially now, since we are in the social media A&R age. Established artists just like aspiring artists can learn from this read! Thanks.

  12. Dick Weissman

    One of the serious problems with family managers is DIVORCE.

  13. Anonymous

    This article is an excellent read! The information is extremely insightful and valuable for both the manager and the artist. Thank you!!

  14. Chris H.

    Thank you for sharing your insight Sahpreem. You were a student from a few years ago in Davie, FL. I still have a copy of your first book and share with it with new people who are looking to partner up with either a manager or agent. It is a good resource, as is This Business of Music. However, since your book offers personal insight, it is helps discern and navigate the landscape of the industry a little better.

    Since we’ve last seen each other, I’ve ventured into the Universe of music as a composer, producer and performer. I’m always learning new “things”, and realizing the importance of “the biz” was as key as the keys on a keyboard.

    Congratulations on your success.


    • sahpreemking

      Wow, Chris H. I’m humbled. What a blast from the past! BTW, you were the best broadcasting instructor and program director I ever had. Funny thing, my classmate Danny Doyle is now running the WPB campus. I just saw him the other day. Also, its fantastic that you went into the music biz full time. I look forward to catching up with you and checking out your music. I’ll be at the Mid Atlantic Music conference in NC next month.

      • Chris H.

        Thank you man, I retired in 2007 lol. I saw Danny was up in WPB, he’s a good guy and hope it is going well. I still work in radio, but also compose and play Taiko with Fushu Daiko in Davie – near where CSB used to be located.

        I mostly produce instrumentals. … If you’d like to take a listen.

        Great to see you in this realm as well! Have fun in NC!

  15. Tracy T.

    This was a very informative read (comments also) and I thank you for sharing.Working as a artist manager in South Florida has been a hugh challenge. No, I do not have a music degree from Full Sail or other… but I do have a degree in business management, ambitious, morales, and respect for music (music junkie). My only problem has been dealing with lazy, broke and local artists that are ignorant to the music business. Talking with other pros such as yourself has inspired me to learn all I can take in about this business and step my game up! Thanks Bro. KING

    • sahpreemking

      Tracy, thanks for taking out the time to comment. Understanding that artists can be shiftless at times, what do you recommend that managers do in order to weed out artist who have huge talent, but miniscule work ethic?

  16. Brooke

    Very informative! With everyone claiming to be a manager or producer this article helps you weed out the phonies and creeps! Thank you!

  17. Anonymous

    Great article. However, I disagree that a good manager must have gold and platinum records lining his/her wall. As someone with over 20 years in Artist Management, I can say this isn’t always the case. I worked for so-called big name managers , lived in their shadow doing all their work, receiving very little pay and rarely given the credit. Some “name” managers are passed their prime and merely collecting easy checks with great indifference for their artists, some who actually MADE them who they are. I had 100 times the passion for our clientele but often hit the proverbial glass ceiling. I stayed too long due to my love for the clients that the firm represented, to my own detriment. The upside is, lesson learned and I am finally moving on. I take solace in the fact that I still have solid relationships with ALL the artists who have left that firm and Mr. Big Names can’t say the same. Even so, the clout they earned 20-30 years ago still often overshadows my perceived underling position.

    I would say the most important aspect in selecting a manager is finding someone you can really trust. Too many managers are in the back pockets of label execs, promoters, booking agents, lawyers and the like, concerned for their own asses rather than having the artist’s back. Secondly, they have to have a shared ambition and passion for your career and a solid understanding of the business. Remember, this business is changing every day so no manager can know everything but if they are smart enough to know what they don’t know and diligent enough they can learn.

    On the flip side, it is important that the level of respect between artist and manager is mutual. Yes, the manager technically works for the artist but it truly should be a partnership. The relationship is very much like a marriage and the artist should have the managers back as well. Artists are just as guilty of unjustly blaming their managers and leaving them for so-called greener pastures when the next guy comes along promising them everything under the sun. I’ve also dealt with plenty of clients that arrogantly claimed to be my “boss” even though I had yet to see one penny of income for countless hours of assistance. It works both way.

    Biggest take aways from the article above are BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SIGN. I totally agree that Artists should have an independent MUSIC lawyer (NOT ONE RECOMMENDED BY THE MANAGER) look over any management contract prior to signing. Make sure there is a fairly simple termination clause and as short of a “sunset” clause as possible. As stated above, trust is the most important factor and any manager worth their salt will encourage this rather than oppose it.

    • sahpreemking

      Thanks for your comment. I wish you would have posted your name so I could reach out to you for a conversation as you seem to have extensive insight on the topic. I agree that finding a manager that you can trust is essential for the artist/manager partnership. In reality, it is not necessary for a manager to have gold plaques nor a college degree, but it is essential that they have a working knowledge of the music industry and keep abreast of the changing tides. My advice is completely lopsided, but for a reason. That reason is that the number of artist who have been led astray via bad management is staggering in comparison the number of managers that were screwed over by bad artists. On this joyride, I have been both the passenger and the driver, and both positions are difficult to be in. Furthermore, I appreciate that you took time from your busy schedule to make a contribution to this conversation and for making excellent points. If you’d ever like to chat, hit me up at


      • Anonymous

        Thanks Sahpreem! I will send you a private email. I agree with you. I have an equal number of stories of Artists signing horrendous management deals. It only reinforces your point that Artists need to be informed and paying close attention to their careers. Talk is cheap in this town (I’m in Los Angeles) and trust should be earned.

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  22. josejoelpena

    I want to be a singer I’m really good at it but I just need a manager so can u be it please!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Willie Rock

      Yes, if u r from N.Y.C . may I recommend, the Music Library, on 60th Street and Columbus Ave. or 66th St. Iam not exactly sure, but it’s Behind the Lincoln Center

  23. Qobby

    Greetings from Africa, we are talented band musician and we are looking for some one who will bring us to the field of music to work as never before. We do have to our credit our median album which we can even let you listen to if u don’t mind. Its surprise what we can do with the foreign and the local instrument. Thanks for your ATTENTION, hope to hear from you soon. Our email address is and also can be contacted on our rooming number +27746851506 /+233272424127/ +233204903834 and the group base in Ghana.

  24. johann

    really appreciated the straight forward style and the fact that you personally reacted to many comments. I am a business consultant, specialized in international market strategy, and have worked in many industries, but am relatively new to the music business, thanks to my daughter who is the up and coming artist – singer songwriter. So I am stepping into the role of the manager – this is a family project: my wife runs the logistics, my son is photographer and video producer. I go at this like a consulting project and am still in the learning phase, but have already seen quite a number of clowns and ageing used to bes, but no on really in sync with our daughters expectations and vibe. Is there anything you can recommend me to speed up the learning, especially against our relatively challenging context: we are German, live in Brazil and her music is Rock/Soul in english, aiming and the international market.
    thanks in advance for your response
    Johann Schneider

  25. teeny weeny

    thanks for this… its really touching
    #“Allow me to begin by saying that as an independent artist, you should never feel as if you weren’t good enough to be signed by a label. Instead, you were smart enough not to be raped and robbed by one!

  26. Reggie " BaldHead " Williams

    Very informative my friend! I’m an aspiring Christian HipHop artist who’s shopping management. Wonderfully put! Captivating, and shockingly refreshing! Check out my website: My 700 Club story is on the site, under the ABOUT tagline. Thank you for your time, and God bless your success. Be well, Sir…

  27. louizzey

    Hello boss is like u are a nice manager cus d way u sound,you sound trustfully,would u mind sign me?

  28. Flor W

    I loved your article, I’m trying to help someone in the music industry. I’m mom but I’m a business person.I don’t want to manage my daughter cause I do not know anything about the music industry.However I can sense she needs one.

  29. Bakari Powell

    Great article. I am an engineer major in college right now. The artists I listen to are artist like J.Cole, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar (before they blew). I love rap and the art of story telling, and I am pretty good, you’ll see me one day. Any advice?

  30. abdelmounaim

    i am abdelmounaim tahiri i am write maney songs but i do not find the chance to make may album come thrue this is my nomber phone 0610797624OR make connecte with me in my facebook abdelmounaim don
    i hope u help me

  31. Bianca

    Well me and my sisters are up comers and I don’t what to do. I don’t even know how to look for one.
    Love the article???

  32. Godz Ghifted

    I’m looking for a manager but it’s been hard since I live in a kinda dead zone plus I do need a mentor as well to really guide me thru my music career.. Do you think you can help me

  33. Anonymous

    I really don’t know what to say Sahpreem….but thank you with your article was an amazing help and thanks to other participants who cooperated with it…..this is a big help on my road to the amazing world of music….Thank you

  34. Swagboy 123

    Thiz waz veri hlpfl bcuz i wnt 2 mk musick and i need a mannaggeer swaggy swag swag i luv OF

  35. Cacey Shaw

    Thanks for notifying me about bad manager and good management, now am searching the best manager or management,
    Am good DJ / R&B artist
    Am looking for the most intelligent management to work with.
    You can e-mail me at or
    Check YouTube I do some work and my own mixing and some recording
    My YouTube name is Scrosh Shawne
    Thank you for ur time

  36. Patil Roupelian

    Great info thank you so much for taking your time to inform us fellow aspiring artist out there. My question is how do you get a manager exactly? Do you audition for them and then they decide if they wanna work with you? Do you show them a demo? Do you need to have songs written from you?

  37. Anonymous

    thank you for your informative article. I completely agree with your ideas. I am working on the recording of some pieces and I need someone who can help me in this journey. I don’t know where to find them.

  38. Kitcat

    Thnank you for this article. I am in the process of finding a manager, so this is going to come in handy. Thank you!

  39. L&L Top 5 - How to make that music career last - Live&Loud blog

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  40. tony maye

    i really agree with you and the points you made are very important to take in consideration when choosing the right manager for you, but often good managers can turn to bad managers as behaviors from people change from time to time, as mood as well, I only thing the right one is the one that tells the truth and only the truth even though what he/she says is not within your expectations.
    But as an unexperienced singer I am I really thank you for this knowlegde that has been added to my repertoire as you said and I am proud of it there are still benevolent and noble hearted people in life like you to really help and open fresh aspiring to be singers like me or us eyes…
    with your permission I would really love you to advice me to one or to please be yourself to help me with this dream, I am a young guy from the heart of Africa but been raised by Americans, and I have so much to give in music…I had a contact of a lady in los angeles named veronica page, who liked my music and said is unbelievable to hear something like this from a nowbody like me, and compared to many greats, but the reason I got afraid is because instead of going by the book she just told me to send all my songs and lyrics and my bio so that she would send it to music recording companies, but i couldnt send everything like that cuz i thought she wanted to cheat, please i need your help about this dream, i am begging you the chance to send me a contact where i can send you a couple of my songs at, and you dont like them, that’s ok and fine, it wont be a problem but at least it will be a priviledge to have someone with such high credentials like you to take his precious minutes to listen to my music, please Mr Sahpreem A. King…this is my contact…
    phone: 00240 222 287628
    looking forward to hearing from you Dear Sir.
    God bless!!!

  41. Faith

    I just took on managing my buddies. I contact clubs, friends, music groups, performers. Photographers. I created and maintained there Facebook, Instagram and soundcloud. I book or am there photographer for each performance. I book everything I talk to everyone. And I have not represented anyone else not do I have a degree. I do it for free for the experience till they can pay me. And I think that’s ok?

  42. Rehilwe Mooketsi

    Thank you! Absolutely empowering article! I’m glad I came across it.

  43. LazyLiza

    Thank you Paul very much for this post.

    I am young songwriter and leader of LazyLiza band.
    I am 18 y.o.
    When I started my music career two years ago I thought that good song it is everything to achieve success on music market.
    I wrote songs, put them to iTunes and other music stores, we did few concers but actually not many people could find my songs among oceans of singles and albums.

    So, musicians should not only write good songs but also have ability to sell them.

    So I think success formula sounds as follow:
    Good songs + professional musicians + good producer + desire to achieve success = success

    Nowdays to find music producer is very hard. Actually I even do not know where to find him. Hi there, where are you…. 🙂

    I think good producer have to create big database of real (not fake) funs.
    Organize concerts. Create campaign in internet. And be as a father for musicians.
    We need to trust him and he also could rely on his musicians.

    LL (Lazy Liza)

  44. Ashleigh

    Thanks for the article! Lots to look out for.
    On another note, how do you approach a manager? With a demo? Are you best to find a producer first to get a good demo together and then approach a manager with a copy of your demo?

  45. Jonathan Soko

    Some good info here. But someone who drinks coffee, often, has NOTHING to do with them being a good manager or not. It is crazy statements like that, that make me question this entire article.

  46. titi

    i am so disappointing with this article it hits on points then does its stand up routine. like most music managers this was a waste of my time.

  47. Mariam

    Hello the recording studio have music manger

  48. Jaime Ig

    Hello, I send you a message but It return a message like a delivery failed.

    I’m a saxophonist, tenor sax , and I looking for a good professional manager.

    My question is how I can to do for get a manager?.

    I live in Spain, I’ve been studied in a branch of Berklee college of music, and in this last years I performing my technique in a hight level and I’d like to use It and I’d like to show It.

    Thank you,

    I hope your answer,


  49. M.ZEE (menzi phungula)

    im a young rapper i need a mananger to put me in the rap game

  50. Neiman Samuel

    Great Article! Here Is A Side Note!

    In my experience unsigned artists have a habit of seeking management talents way to prematurely. As an unsigned artists focus on ONE THING and that is pushing your music.

    Neiman Samuel – CEO of
    Instagram : NeimanSamuel1
    Twitter NeimanSamuel1

  51. Charity

    This is a very informative article. Thank you for being kind enough to write it.
    I am an independent Singer/Songwriter, presently looking for a Manager.

    • Jody Perry

      I found this article while trying to help my son to find an agent. I would like to take the time to say thank you for all the information. I mean you have a book out and yet here u have this information here for free. We hung on your every word and intend to purchase your book. He has found you on twitter and is now following you. Thank you again for taking the time to write this article .

  52. James

    If I get a person from out of town that manages me N when I paid her N when text her but she doesn’t text me back am I getting screwed

  53. Ryan Clement

    What it takes to be a music manager

    How does the manager help the artist succeed in the music business? Through contacts and an insight in the industry. By opening doors and making sure the artist is ready to step through them. By being prepared, realistic and flexible, being persevering and following through. Having it a strength strategy for the artist to make his or her own opportunities, rather than leaving success to chance.
    Jim Morey, who has guided the careers of such diverse artists as Neil Diamond, the Pointer Sisters, and Dolly Parton, summed it up best: “The best artist is the opt is the corporation, the manager is the CEO. If you need any more parallels, take a look at successful corporations and their chief executives. The process the same, only the product is different.
    The next obvious question is, “Who can be a music manager?” The answer is simple: “Anybody.” While there artists select few universities offering very good commercial music manager programs such as Belmont University in Nashville, relatively few accomplish managers choose this route. Aside from a few states, the most notable being California, there are few in if any requirements or qualifications a music manager must meet. On the whole, artist management is wide open to anyone who wants to get involved. Relatively easy access to the field, coupled with little or no regulation, can potentially open the door to well meaning income competence as well as unscrupulous con artists whose livelihood is victimizing unsuspecting artists. Chapters 3 and four discuss techniques for recognizing and avoiding both types of would-be music managers.
    Many people earn their livelihood exclusively from the personal or business management of artists. They make may work as individuals or as part of a corporate team. Other successful or competent music managers have dual professions as private practice attorneys, accountants, or financial consultants. Because of their special qualifications or skills, they may be able to offer an artist a more flexible or versatile situation, by the same measure, the artist should be certain that these dual role individuals are as capable as music managers as they are in their primary professions.
    One basic requirement is practical experience in entertainment music management. Booking agents, record producers, and music publishers may also double as music managers, though the artist should guard against possible conflict of interest problems. These issues will be discussed in more depth in later chapters.
    In addition to these traditional categories, friends and relatives may also serve as music managers by virtue of their close personal relationship to the artist. When selecting a music manager, a new artist may tend to choose a friend or relative, rather than seeking a professional with whom he or she had no prior relationship with. This is natural and understandable, but it may not be the best career decision. Often a friend or relative, while being well-meaning, will not possess the knowledge, experience, or contacts necessary to further the artist career beyond a limited point. There’s also the danger that, because of this close personal relationship, a friend or relative will not stand up to the artist and say “no” when firmness and objective the are required. A “yes-man” may be an asset to an artist ego but is of no value to meaningful career development. This is not to say that a friend or relative may not prove to be the right manager for a particular artists. Were only suggesting that the artist should make a special effort to look objectively when assessing a friend or relative strengths and weaknesses. If you find your judging beginning your judgment beginning to cloud, just remember those record executives working overtime to hit the parent come corporations profit projections. His business first for them, it should be for you to.

  54. Capotyra

    Hi, dear King

    Great article, yeah. As a old Brazilian singer, I can say: “what you know, people!?” Because, here, in my big country, we just do not even have such kind of pro! Well, maybe we have, but they are not for us, forgotten ants of God, if you know what I mean. I mean, if I am not a famous one, they don’t give a sh… Anyway, I loved your place (site). Thank You King, for that!

  55. The messenger J Rockett

    trying to get some help with my music getting out there I have a lot of songs trying to do videos copyright and

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  57. chequalah Mcmath

    are you interested in being a manager ? I’m so in need of one . my instagram is @keilolotharapper check me out please

  58. King Muller

    Hi this is Muller talking… I live at East London in South Africa…. I do Music I’m a Trapper/Rapper I’m good at what I do but what’s missing is a manager someone who can guide me with my music…. If you interested Plzzz call me at 0620305454… Or whatsApp me at 0784741501…. Available in Facebook to it’s Mila Hole…. Twitter it’s King Muller S.A[The New Meek Mill ]
    Thank u!!!

  59. Rob Sky

    Wish I had a good person to keep track of my stuff on the net. I’m a singer/songwriter with songs playing all over the world. I also write books. My email is Please contact me if you can help. Bob