Tuesday, 3 April 2012

What prevents a band being managed?

'Setting up your music business while you build your song writing capabilities is imperative for you to succeed in music. If you spend $5000 on a new guitar but you don't learn to manage your career, how will the the guitar pay for itself ?

I was asked a heap of queries by a Melbourne rocker with the proactive self managed band called The Deep End last week about bio's and endorsements and how to get his band better prepared to tackle these and other tasks. After a while I pointed Dale towards Australian Music Business Manual. His next question was a ripper and in reality, the question that is more than likely on the lips of every band in Australia.

Dale Asked "Purely out of curiosity and curiosity only, from a managerial point of view what are some things preventing the band being managed by a company such as Blue Tongue Management for example? Always nice to know what we need to do better."

I thought about tip toeing through this as the facts are actually scarey. However, I decided to hit it straight up and tell him how the current landscape stands.

'Dale, there are about 20 great management teams in Australia and maybe 100 second rung managers and it goes down hill from there, purely through lack of experience and access to knowledge. 'And you can hear those fingers pickin', and this is what they have to say'. So outta those 15,000,000 fingers playing guitar, who will the management teams choose?

It takes approximately two years to develop a bands brand to a stage labels might take interest if the bands songs are good. This two years is about setting the band or artists business up and building their brand. So if a band takes three years to develop their music and then seeks management, five years have got behind you.

Most musically good bands can get to the five year mark but this is where most start to break down due to no business structure or understanding. Usually bands don't even think about business until it is too late. It generally takes 3 albums before most bands break the market to a financially successful level. That is another five years on top of the initial five and now ten years have got behind you. So throughout this time period, you need to be building the income. And at this stage you want to be folding wads of those crispy $100 bills for self-use.

So, in answer to your question, to set a band up, a manager such as myself would need to place some 1500 hours work a year (probably more actually) with a hands on band putting in similar time on the business and marketing side to get the ball rolling properly. So that is 28 hours a week with no, or very little pay in the first two years. Everybody wants a manager but nobody wants to pay.

Musicians have to take hold of their career early in the piece and make the band financially viable, or at least be showing leadership in the direction of smart business, and then seek successful management.

Metallica, KISS, INXS, ACDC. They manage themselves. Yes they may have a manager that runs the business, but the fact is they count their own cash and control how their business operates and that is why they make the big bucks."

A band needs to work with a manager on a level playing field.

Australian Music Business Manual

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