Whether you’re a music fan that desperately wants to help out your favourite band achieve success, you’re a band that wants to keep your complete independence, (and plans to take the self-management route) or you’re in search of someone to take your band to the next level (and do all the boring hard work) one thing is for certain: management is vital to the success of your band.
But how do you go about becoming or finding a good band manager? It takes a lot more than just being able to talk to the talk. becoming a great band manager takes passion, knowledge, organisation and most importantly the willingness to learn and develop. We chatted to Tom Fraser an incredibly successful band manager on what he believes to be some of the key aspects of becoming a successful band manager.
Tom Fraser an established Melbourne based music manager who has Big Scary, #1 Dads and recent BIGSOUND buzz performer Airling on his ‘Pieater’ management roster. With no formal training or prior experience, Tom learnt what he now knows from those willing to give advice. His instinct, professionalism and hard work have served him since. Through Tom’s guidance, his bands have had the opportunity to tour Australia, receive national and international airplay, tour internetionally, and play the country’s biggest festivals. Tom will be speaking on the upcoming third STEP (Society Of Tastemakers And Elegant People) panel which will focus on ‘The Managers’ and industry insights from a new breed of forward-thinking music managers including Jen Cloher (self managed/ I Manage My Music), Nick O Byrne (Courtney Barnett, Milwaukee Banks), and Si Gould (Oscar Key Sung, Hiatus Kaiyote).
Books to read, work experience, conferences.
“The music industry is constantly evolving, so being able to adapt and learn about the newest implementations is really important.
Reading blogs (not just review ones – try the site www.thesocialu101.com), attending conferences, or work experience in any facet of the industry (booking gigs, publicity, festival organisation, bookkeeping, management, publishing).
All of this will give you some skills to begin understanding how the weird world of the music industry works. It changes fast, so immersing yourself in it is important.”
Time-management, how to stay organised.
“Treat your band like a part-time job (until it hopefully becomes a full-time job) – set aside a bit of time in the morning and then afternoon/evening to write emails, reply to emails, search for new opportunities.
Getting into the habit of doing this consistently is really important as many opportunities come up last minute and you often need to be online with 12-24h in order to take advantage of them. Checking only once per week can lead to missing out on opportunities.”
The importance of maintaining a strong and consistent online presence.
“Social media is the most powerful free tool to interact with fans and build new ones. Ultimately it’s fans, not media favour, who will drive your career, so look after them. Setup all your socials across every platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr) and keep them consistent, so it’s obvious that each channel is yours.
When updating do each separately, yes it takes a little longer, but It’s important to realise they are all very different. They each have their own language so use the appropriate online terms (#, @, etc) on each platform.”
Don’t Let Reviews Get To You
Take everything you read with a grain of salt
“For every great review you get, you’ll get a bad review. And if you genuinely believe every great review you get is correct, then you will start to feel every bad review is correct.
Reviews are fantastic, but they’re there to enlighten the public, not the artist. You should trust your own art and not fall into the trap of being told how to present your art.”
Be A Part Of A Community
Building communities and support networks are incredibly important
“You’re not alone in this wonderful music world, so build a support network naturally by getting involved in the local music scene.
Share gigs and collaborate on songs with bands and musicians that you like. Go watch local music, support the artists, meet them. When the time comes for a band to choose a support act for touring, they’ll most often choose friends that they like and want to hang out with.”
Know when you need to form partnerships
“Of course they help, however aren’t always needed from day one. Make sure you have a go at it yourself in the beginning, so you have an idea of the what the work entails. It’s always the quickest way to meet some people.
When the right time comes, all these people will seek out the band themselves which puts the artist in a position of choosing the people they work with. Don’t just chase dollars, choose the person you connect with the most and who understands the direction you want to take your music. At the end of they day they’ll be the one promoting your music to the masses, so make sure you’re all on the same page.”