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Without the vision and business acumen of a good manager, some of the brightest musical stars could arguably have failed to succeed.

Great managers are hard to find and many are average, or at worst, even incompetent.

For artists, the key objective is to avoid the latter and find a reputable manager who they can work with successfully.

On this page you will find information about:

Finding a Manager

Finding the names and contact details of respected and experienced managers is relatively easy. The Music Week Directory and the MMF’s (Music Managers Forum) The Music Management Bible, which features both the details of managers and their artists, can be obtained by request from public libraries. The former also includes music lawyers, who could be approached for a list of recommended managers. However, the artist must first ask themselves why they want a manager.

When you actually ask people that question there’s often a short pause and the first answer is “to get more gigs", which is the last thing a manager will actually do. A manager is there to delegate and to try and get the artists to the next level.

MU Regional Officer

Quick guide to managers and contracts

How to find a manager — Good places to start looking for someone to guide your career are the Music Week Directory and the MMF’s The Music Management Bible, available from your local library.

Make the right impression — Think about your profile and how best to present yourself. Do you have Musicians’ Union Song Share and Partnership Agreements, for example? And a well-written biog?

Manage yourself — Many artists are now managing themselves. Find out more about how you can take control at The Music Managers Forum.

Check your contract — There’s no such thing as a standard contract, so don’t be afraid of disputing any points.

Commission — How much is your manager getting? 20% gross is more common than 15% these days.

Manage your expenses — Pay particular attention to clauses dealing with how your manager will get paid and how your manager’s expenses will be handled.

Contract Advisory Service — You can get details of our specialist advice service from your MU Regional Office.

A lot of artists don’t realise that they’ve got to make themselves an attractive, marketable proposition if they wish to get a manager interested in them. Because labels no longer invest in developing artists, you’ve got to do it yourself.

MU Regional Officer

Profile and professionalism

While raising their profile online, artists should never ignore the personal touch. This involves simply talking to fans, DJs, promoters and press person, treating them all with respect and building real working relationships.

Artists who are seeking management should ensure that they have a solid, professional business infrastructure in place. For example, artists who already have Musicians’ Union Song Share and Partnership Agreements, high quality photos, biographies and press releases will give a heightened perception of professionalism.

Handling it yourself

The alternative to seeking a manager is to do it yourself. If an artist or band member has the necessary drive, temperament and willingness to learn the role there are numerous resources available.

For example, the Music Managers Forum offers information and skill courses for self-managed artists, and your MU Regional Office will be of great help at any stage of your career.

MU Contract Advisory Service

If you are presented with a management, recording, publishing or other music agreement, take advantage of our Contract Advisory Service. An experienced music business solicitor will then look over the agreement on behalf the MU and offer the appropriate advice.
MU members can also view our Specimen Management Agreement.

Artist Promotion

A number of companies are making approaches to MU members (in some cases claiming, incorrectly, that they have been given the member’s details by the Union) to sign them up for one of their so-called artist promotion services and usually demanding an upfront fee.

Members are advised to view any such company that requires an upfront payment with caution, and to consult their Regional Office before signing any agreement with them or parting with any money.