What is an artist manager? An artist manager, or band manager, oversees the day-to-day tasks related to running the artist’s career. This allows the artist to put all of his/her energy and time into focusing on creativity. While the artist focuses on the music, appearances, fashion, style, performances, etc… the manager negotiates deals, books gigs, promotes the artist, and so much more.


Managing Unsigned Artists

When it comes to unsigned talent, the artist manager acts as the mouthpiece. This is the artist’s #1 ally, who ensures that everyone else around the artist gets their jobs done. The manager must be committed to the success of the artist. That means making promotions a top priority. These are just some of the artist manager tasks involved with this commitment:

  • Getting record label to commit to advertising campaigns
  • Coordinating with the artist’s agent about upcoming performances
  • Booking gigs, inviting media and record labels to the shows
  • Networking with industry gurus and big timers about the artist
  • Making sure studio time is booked for practice and recording sessions
  • Exploring opportunities for music project funding opportunities
  • Sending out artist’s demos to local media, radio stations, online publications, and record labels

Managing Signed Artists

An artist manager handles things a bit differently when the client is a signed artist. Here are two of those extra tasks, along with the tasks listed above:

  • Negotiate the financials of recording and touring expenses with the record label that signed the band or artist
  • Manage the artist’s various career-related staff members, such as merchandisers, agents, and accountants


Some artist manager jobs come with hourly pay and salaries. These are generally jobs with artist management companies. But, most artist managers are freelancers who work directly for the artists and bands they manage.

A freelance artist manager usually gets paid a percentage of the income of the band or artist, commonly 15% to 20%. In these cases, artists cover their own expenses, or reimburse the manager for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred. Most managers do not, however, get a cut of songwriting royalties earned by artists.


Thinking about becoming an artist’s manager? Have a band or musician in mind who could really use your organizational and people skills to manage her/his music career? Here are some options to help you break out into the music business as a manager:

Ready to start your career managing artists? F.I.R.S.T. Institute will teach you everything you need to know to land lucrative music industry jobs. You’ll get valuable hands-on experience, plus access to great internships. Check out the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at F.I.R.S.T. Institute for more information today!