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Personal Manager: A Key Person In Your Professional Life

The personal manager is the single most important person in your professional life. A good personal manager can expand your career to its maximum potential, and a bad one can rocket you into oblivion.

Getting a manager won’t guarantee success and festival headlining slots, but if you have no idea where to go from where you are now and you want to kick things up a notch in your career, a manager can work with you to sort that out.

Here are 4 sings that you need one:

  1. You’ve gone from playing shows once a month to every week, sometimes just because you “have to”

  2. You’ve missed out on getting paid after a show, the gear isn’t set up properly when you arrive yet again, your timeslot gets traded with another DJ’s because he doesn’t want to play at 1am, etc…

  3. You receive more text messages, phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook messages booking you for shows than you can keep track of, and you’ve double booked on at least one occasion as a result…

  4. You’ve exhausted your resources and don’t know how to take things to the next level, and you feel like you’ve stalled as a result

The most important aspects of the manager’s job are:

  1. Helping you with major business decisions, such as deciding whether to do a record deal, and if so, which record company to sign with; whether to make a publishing deal; how much to ask for; etc.

  2. Helping you with the creative process, such as selecting a producer to collab, deciding which songs to record, hiring team members, selecting photographers, etc.

  3. Promoting your career by hyping you to everyone the manager meets, helping you coordinate a publicity campaign, etc.

  4. Assembling and heading your professional team by introducing you to lawyers, business managers, and agents, and overseeing these people’s work.

  5. Coordinating your concert tours by working with your agent to make the best deals with promoters, routing the tour, working with your business manager to develop a budget, assembling your road crew, supervising the road and tour managers to make sure everything runs smoothly, etc.

  6. Pounding your record company to maximize the advertising and marketing campaigns for your records, making sure your records are treated as priorities, screaming at them when they do wrong, praising them when they do right, etc.

  7. Generally being a buffer between you and the outside world, such as fielding inquiries for commercial endorsements, personal appearances, charitable requests (both for money and for your smiling face), taking the rap for tough decisions that you make but don’t want anyone to think you did, etc.

Be very careful when negotiating the term of a management deal. Many artists have lived to regret being tangled up in long-term contracts with lousy managers. The most common compromise is to say that if the artist doesn’t earn a minimum amount, he or she can terminate the agreement early. The absolute best is a powerful, well-connected manager, with one or more major clients, who is wildly enthusiastic about you and willing to commit the time required for your career.


Passman, Donald. All You Need to Know About the Music Business: 8th edition
4 Signs It’s Time To Get A Manager - Digital DJ Tips