I guess if you’ve watched enough episodes of Entourage, you may have grown to believe that a manager is one of those vital things that all entertainment careers need. A manager – to many not on the inside – validates and legitimizes, it means you have people “from the industry” investing their efforts in your pursuits.
Managers are important cogs in navigating the music industry, but the industry has changed. In today’s landscape, you can build your own brand and business without anyone else running the show. As a matter of fact, these days you have to build your own brand and business before any manager worth their salt will take you on.
So while managers may not be the essential key-masters that they used to be, that doesn’t mean you won’t still need a great team of people around you. That team just needs to perform other specialized duties as you grow and build your career. Here are the 4 people you need in your corner as an emerging artist. And you can find them all on the Treble App.
1. A Skillful Engineer
The term “Producer” has gotten a bit hazy these days. With the rise of home studios and the spread of inexpensive production tools – sample packs, DAWs, microphones, etc. – anyone who can drag an Apple Loop into GarageBand can sort of call themselves “A Producer.” But while it’s truly incredible that so many people can get in on the beatmaking and production game, there’s still a huge need for those lovable audiophiles and music nerds known as Sound Engineers.
These are the guys and gals who actually know how to program reverb, who care deeply about mic placement, who will EQ the shit out of your 808, and really can tell when a song is unmastered. Being able to record in your apartment DIY is vital, and knowing the basics of mixing and recording is essential to owning your craft, but having someone you can turn to who really studied this shit goes a big way towards making your stuff sound truly professional.
2. A Damn Good Photographer
As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, your image is a massive part of your brand, and therefore a massive part of your music career. You know this. So you already know how important it is to find a good photographer. Maybe you know more than one – maybe you like to mix it up, with your go-to-girl for live photos, but a different photog for shoots and headshots. Better yet, if you’ve got a big network, you can work with different photographers for different artistic goals – finding one that specializes in gritty B&Ws, and another who knows how to shoot natural landscapes really well.
Whatever it may be, you need good visuals, and you need to find at least one good friend or photographer who can capture your image. It’s essential – for your album art, your Instagram, your website, your facebook page, your newsletter...all of em need quality images that rep your brand properly.
3. An Eye Popping Graphic Designer
Whether it’s your website or your single cover, you need to think about the colors, fonts, and images that visually make your music pop. Having a good eye for design can take you a long way, but sometimes shit gets technical. You ever look at the required schematics for submitting an album cover for printing? It ain’t just a matter of uploading a photo.
Find some friends with some graphic design skills, and your marketing will take off. You wanna get turn those Instagram followers into paying fans? You wanna sell merch? You want people to take your EP seriously? It’s gotta look dope, and it’s gotta look professional. Having a trained designer who knows how to bring out your brand goes a loooong way.
4. Your Best Damn Self
“Do you have a manager?” No, dammit, you can do that shit yourself! Until your career really hits a point where big money is on the table, and administrative tasks have become too overwhelming for one person to handle, the job of “manager” can and should be done by the person who knows your music career best: you.
Start writing professional emails (hint: they have an email signature and good grammar), download a budgeting spreadsheet from the internet, and learn how to delegate tasks when you have to. Keep a to-do list and know what’s important to follow up on. Setup that Google Calendar specifically for your music stuff, and utilize those sharing tools to keep your band on the same page. The job of managing your career is a huge one – but it’s not as hard as many may think. We have all the tools at our disposal.
"If you can make smart, strategic decisions about where you want your music heard, the details of making that happen aren't that hard to handle."
If you can make smart, strategic decisions about where you want your music heard, and figure out how to get it there, the details of making that happen – social media, live shows, networking – aren’t that hard to handle. Just set aside some time each week to put on your manager hat and take care of the administrative stuff you need to take care of. And with a good team of people in your corner, you’ll be able to trust that your brand and image are in the best of hands.
Feature by David Rothschild
Treble is a platform that helps artists find new collaborators and expand their creative networks. Our app is out in the App Store. Download today.