Artist Managers: Frequently Asked Questions

artist managers frequently asked questions
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Artist managers play an important role in an artist’s career and usually the unsung heroes in the music industry.

If you are an unsigned artist but without representation or are interested in becoming a manager, this blog post is for you.

What does an artist manager do?

An artist manager can be an individual or company responsible for handling the day to day operations and business affairs of the artist or band.

What does it take to be an artist manager?

You need people and social skills as well as good business acumen. Artist managers make things happen behind the scenes while the artist focuses on producing the best sound recordings and live performances.

What do effective managers do?

Effective artist managers are proactive and have the artist’s best interests at heart.

How much do artist managers make?

Most artist managers are not employees but work as Independent contractors. This means they do not earn a salary (unless one is employed by an artist management company)

They are paid each time the artist gets a booking or an endorsement deal. But the written agreement will usually state how and when the manager gets paid.

Do I need qualifications to be an artist manager?

No you don’t need formal qualifications to be a manager, anybody can be a manager. But it helps to have qualifications or basic knowledge in sales and marketing, accounting or business management.

You need to know how to sell your clients; account for all monies coming in and out, issue invoices and so forth.

How do artist managers get paid?

Managers are usually paid a commission between 10 to 20 % of the artist bookings.

How can I find an artist manager?

If you’re an unsigned artist, it will be hard to convince a seasoned manager to work with you. Instead you should rather focus on promoting your music until it gains traction.

When that happens, the probability is that artist managers will come knocking at your door (If you don’t have one by then). 

What do artist managers pay for?

Artist managers do not pay for anything unless this is stated in the contract. However, it is not uncommon for a manager to fund an artist’s career in the early days (usually the case with new or unsigned artists).

Some of these costs could include: the production and recording of singles and full length albums, marketing and promotions, logistics and so forth.

What is an artist manager responsible for?

An artist manager is responsible for the following (also depends on the artist management contract): securing gigs, radio and television interviews, and endorsement deals among others.

When do managers get paid?

This also depends on the terms of the contract. But artist managers usually get paid when the artist gets paid.

How many managers can an artist have?

In most cases its one manager. However it is not uncommon for an artist to have two “managers” but each would be assigned different roles. For example you can have a talent manager and a business manager.

The former would be responsible for handling bookings only (booking agent), while the latter would handle all your financial affairs (Bookkeeping, SARS, UIF, VAT, etc.)

Why do artists need managers?

Artists need managers because doing everything on your own is a disaster waiting to happen. Someone has to handle other aspects of your career while you focus on improving your craft.


I hope that I have given you a better insight into how managers work. I have also included links which explain certain terms and related topics in detail. 

If you have any questions and thoughts, please comment below.

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