You wouldn't pick just anybody to play in your band. You want the best you can get, someone who adds something to the music you're creating. You should approach hiring artist consultants or music management companies the same way.
Chances are, you already know what to look for in a bass player or a producer. But, do you know what to look for in a music management company? Obviously, you need someone you can trust both personally and professionally. But what else should you be looking for in music management companies?
Here are 5 important things to consider:
1. Tenacity and Reliability. You need an artist manager who knows how to follow through and is prepared to stick with you. Sometimes it takes a while before bands or artists become an "overnight success." You need someone who won't quit on you just because a label turns your demo down, someone who knows that you may hear a few "no's" before you get that recording contract. Don't be afraid to ask any prospective band management company to prove they have these qualities by giving references or interviewing them yourself!
2. Relevant Experience. What success has the band management company had managing others? At the end of the day, the music business is a business, and your artist manager needs to be able to deal with people and sell your product.
3. Entrepreneurial Experience. You may consider an artist consultant with limited experience with music, but be very careful about working with one who has limited experience in business. The ideal band manager will have experience as an entrepreneur within the music and entertainment industry.
4. Connections. What contacts does the band management company have in your genre of music? Do they work with similar genre artists? If a band manager doesn't have connections in your genre, he/she isn't much use to you. If, on the other hand, the band management company has established relations with the people who will ultimately decide whether to sign you, you want them representing you. Regardless, you need someone who has connections or has the skills to acquire them.
5. Natural Born Leader. Like musical skills, some business skills can be taught, but others you either have or you don't. You need an artist manager who is good with people. This isn't hard to spot. Are people drawn to him or her? Do people seem to naturally respect him and what they are saying? Do you respect him/her?
Some of the best college coaches and politicians are able to work a room and get everyone looking at them, talking to them, listening to them, agreeing with them, usually with tremendous odds against them. This is a skill that is often learned and not taught. You want a band manager or artist consultant who can tell you when things are good and tell you when things are bad, while keeping your professional interests in perspective. Your band manager stands right off the center of your music. They should help push you and your goals in the right direction at all times. This is the number one fundamental of a great music, artist or band manager.
Too many bands jump at the first offer they get from a band manager. Often, they are taken advantage of by band management companies who don't know what they're doing. Don't let that happen to you. Take the time to look into any band management company before you sign on. Your success as an artist or band depends on building a team of qualified, hard-working and trusted people. Hiring a music manager or artist consultant is great step in the right direction.
* * * * *
This article originally appeared on The Musician's Guide, where you can find tons of resources to help you in the music industry. Andy Jones is with KTC Mgmt, an artist consulting service specializing in helping artists make more and spend less.