Artist Management

 12 July 2012

Artist management companies look after the business interests of musical performers and songwriters.

Artist management is a competitive area, and previous experience is usually needed.
Artist management is a competitive area, and previous experience is usually needed.

What is the job like?

The work of an artist manager is varied. It can include:

  • Negotiating deals and contracts
  • Representing the artist at all levels in their professional careers
  • Liaising between their artists and various other people, including record and publishing companies, collection societies such as PRS for Music, recording studios, music press, video directors and so on
  • Managing the financial affairs of their artists, working closely with accountants
  • developing sponsorship deals and merchandising

How do I get into artist management?

Artist management is a very competitive area to break into, and previous experience is usually needed as the work is very complex. Offering to manage a friend’s band can be a good way to start. You could also look for opportunities during your two-week school work experience, or in the school holidays.

Artist management is a competitive area, and previous experience is usually needed.

If you are very lucky you might find an apprenticeship in an Artist Management company, most of which are based in London.

However, don’t wait for apprenticeships to be advertised. Prepare a really eye-catching CV listing all your skills and send this off with a covering email or hand-written letter to artist management companies asking about possible opportunities.

There are very few artist management companies in the UK overall, and the vast majority are very small with fewer than ten employees.

What training and qualifications do I need?

Relevant GCSE subjects include business studies, IT, English, maths and music.

There are lots of further and higher education courses on offer which include music and artist management, and these might help you get a foot in the door later on.

Don’t ignore general business studies courses either. Lots of their content is as relevant to the music business as to any other. You will also have something to fall back on whilst you are looking for your first job in music.

Here are some of the courses available:

  • BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Music
    Entry is usually with 2 GCSEs (A-E)
  • BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Music
    Entry is usually with two GCSE (A-D) passes including English Language
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma, e.g. Music or Business Studies
    Two year full-time course. Entry is with four GCSE (A-C) passes or equivalent level two qualification
  • HND and Degree courses
    Subjects such as Music Business and Music Management are relevant, along with general courses in Business Studies. Academic entry requirements vary, and you will normally need relevant practical experience.

The Music Managers Forum represents this sector of the music industry, and run a one-day induction course for new managers.

What can I earn?

Artist managers usually earn a percentage of the artist’s income, between 15 percent and 20 percent. Clearly this could be a very substantial income for a successful artist or band, but most managers do not achieve this.

It might be possible to start as a junior, perhaps in an administrative role, which could begin at the minimum wage and progress from there.

Salaried managers are few and far between and many have other jobs to help cover everyday living costs.


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