It’s a surprise how often bands undermine the value of good management and representation. I am sure many feel that they need a manager, but mainly for fixing up gigs and accompanying them to shows and making sure they get their food and water on time. And sadly, it seems that most managers also seem to think their roles as “managers” is just that. Take calls, quote a price, sort out tickets, accompany the band, make sure they are taken care of, make sure their set is not cut, and make sure they are back in time, etc.
Not that these aspects are far from being the role of a manager, absolutely not! But when you take a look at the big picture, these things are mostly just hygiene. Of course the band is supposed to be taken care of, of course they need timely travel, and of course they need appropriate sound! And as a manager, it is imperative to have these things sorted for your band. But there is a role much bigger and much larger for managers to play here – that of an Orchestrator!
And when I say an orchestrator, I mean someone with a keen insight of the business of music. Just like a good orchestrator knows how to build a crescendo, blast with drums and trumpets, hold a note and of course fade out when necessary, a good manager knows how to build anticipation for his band, explode on to the scene with a bang, keep his band afresh in the minds of the average listener, and of course, ensure any bad press or negativity about his band fizzles out just like that.
Come to think of it, a band, or actually any public entity, is only as big as its influence. How much of a difference/impact you have in the lives of your audience is what determines how big you really are. There are those who seem to do so more with shock, drawing from negative publicity in most cases; trust me, there usually is a smart PR/Manager behind them pulling all the strings to make that happen. However we are not really going to dwell on that.
What I would we rather dwelled on is the influence of musicians. Many bands come and go, but there are so few who stick around. Why? Is it because they were just a lot more talented? Well no one’s debating that there are many bands who have rightfully got the success they deserve, and some who maybe not so much. The fact is that they were noticed by someone, who once blown away by their magic in some low-lit, scarcely visited, shack of a bar, decided to put his/her entire energy on ensuring that the same magic was felt by the entire world, one listener at a time!
And what does that take? Well to begin with, a thorough knowledge of the local media scape, and promoter network, a knack for diplomacy and negotiations, professionalism and of course a keen sense of business. A good manager / management, needs to be able to take on the role of an architect – build the image of his band; a drill instructor – push his band constructively to be the best at what they do, and of course get things done on the ground when his band plays a gig; and a strategist – plan the way forward for his band, in terms of profit and loss, endorsements, financial and professional standing, and of course media presence. All in all, all roles combined, a manager becomes an orchestrator, ensuring every strum of a whisper, every bang of a news feature, and every chorus of a chanting crowd – is that of his band!