Managers and management in the music industry work off straight commission. They usually get a fixed percentage of your total income, around 15%. If you’re not making decent money already then there is no way for them to make money.
People that are asking you for money right now are artists developers, not managers. The difference is that you pay them a fee to help you put things in place in your career. Good ones will help you in most areas of your career, connecting you with experts in the industry. Another major difference is that , unlike managers, they do not legally represent you. First and foremost they are teachers.
1.Study the music industry. There are plenty of places online to learn how the industry works as well as how to become a better performer. Some will have a cost but there are free services such as About.com, CDBaby and IndieConncet.com.
2.Learn general business. If you can combine your music talent with business knowledge you will find it very useful. Or if you have someone that knows business ask for advice.
3.Find a mentor. Network with people within and outside the industry and find someone who believes in you and can guide you.
4.Network. Join any music-related groups on sites such as linkedin and take in the advice. You can find experienced people from the industry and find deep and powerful discussions. Ask as many questions as you need to. Remember, no question is stupid. There are countless people that are willing to help up and coming artists and try to help them not make the same mistakes they did.
5.Book Yourself. You have the same problem with booking agents that you have with managers. They both work on commission which is usually around 10% . So if you can’t get a decent amount for your shows, and you’re not gigging full time, it’s really not worth their time.
6.Master your craft. If you sing or rap, you should be amazing at it. If you play an instrument, dazzle the crowd with your skill. Always look to improve. Even legendary artists have coaches and are constantly learning and improving all the time.
7.Be Unique. Find out your what it is about you and your music that sets you apart from every other artists out there. Once you do find it, develop your brand around it. Your brand is the first thing people will see and feel when they see or hear your name. Once you have your brand, protect it!
8.Build a team. Once you have done all of the above, you should find that people will start to find you. Interview them and make sure they are compatible with your vision and where you want to go. Speak to any other artists they may have worked with. Check that they have a good reputation and know the industry.
9.Be relentless. People will tell you that you can’t make it but if you have any level of marketable talent, they are wrong. There will be a place for you. It may not make it into the biggest music charts or be headlining massive concerts. But you can be successful.
10.Give back. Reach out and help up and coming singers just like others helped you. Share everything you’ve learned!.