How to Approach Managers in the Entertainment Industry

How to Approach Managers in the Entertainment Industry

As I continue to try and understand how people who claim to be artists refuse to research the career they say they want, I remind myself of my original intention in writing these blogs:  helping people understand what they need to do to attract the professionals they need to build a team around them, which is vital to succeed.

I am constantly approached by people who use the Internet or call me to inquire about what I do and how I can I help them.  As an entertainer, you are a self-employed business and should treat yourself as such.  You must be just as professional as the people you want to surround yourself with.  If you can’t take the time to visit the website of the people you are contacting to learn about them and find out what they do, why are you contacting them? It’s a waste of time and energy.  It shows the entertainment professional that the artist doesn’t care enough about their career to actually work on it.  The artist needs to take the time and initiative to research the entertainment business and care enough about their careers to take the right steps to understand what they are getting into.  If the artist blindly contacts entertainment professionals without doing their homework or developing a relationship, they will most likely be ushered out the door.

Please take the time to use the Internet or any other tool you can find to research the career you supposedly want to be a part of so badly.  Find out exactly what a manager, agent and PR person do for the artist so that you can figure out whether or not you need them.  Doing this research will educate you and empower you as an artist.  It will also help you to avoid wasting your time, and the time of the entertainment professional you are approaching.  Be professional and respectful towards us and we will be respectful in return.

Once you have done the appropriate research, assuming you learned what a press kit it is and what it consists of, you can find out what that is in my blog “The Promotional Kit”, make sure all the data is current and make sure you are thorough. Write a cover letter explaining to the professional why you think you would be a good fit for them and explain your strengths.

If you are contacted, you may have an initial meeting together.  You can then take this time to interview the professional to see if they are a good fit for you.  Just remember, don’t behave in such a way where you exhibit a sense of entitlement, unless you bring a lot to the table, and even then I would put the ego in check.  You aren’t “all that” until you actually are.  Artist development & creating a name for the artist so that the career can flourish is a tough job.  The professional needs to believe you, as the artist, are worth the investment.  If you haven’t already created a name for yourself as best as you can without the help of a professional, then you are not in a position of power.  In my experience, the best attitude to have is to be confident but humble.  A good team is a team that is a good fit for each other.  This kind of relationship is the foundation for a great working one!

Do your research, know what questions to ask, and then, if they accept you, be prepared to work your butt off with no excuses.

Remember, this business is all about networking, building relationships and doing your homework to make it happen.  Once you’ve done that, you can shine!

16 thoughts on “How to Approach Managers in the Entertainment Industry

  1. Doing research is key prior to contacting any music industry professional. There are so many ways it can be done. Not only do I fully agree with David on visiting there website. I suggest communicating with other musicians and music industry professionals and question them about the person, organization or business you intend to contact and do business with!

    Websites are great, it’s from the prospective of the music industry professional promoting what they do on “their” website. They will only provide a one sided picture!

    Speaking with there colleagues and clients (fellow musicians and artist) will help you define if this professional, business or organization is a good match for you and your career.

    Doing this task is another form of gaining knowledge about a specific person you’d like to do business with to help you build your career. It’s further important to build your knowledge about entrepreneurship and business in general.

    Had you selected to be a truck driver, you’d have to take written test about air brakes, heavy loads, driving conditions, trailers, packing trailers, stick shifting, up and down hill driving etc….Then you would have to study with a skilled truck driver, then a road test. Once you pass the road test you can drive a truck with a class “A” license. You would also do re-freshers throughout your entire truck driving career…by LAW!

    The music industry is no different. Opposite to popular belief there was never a time when you should not have none about the business of music. There was never a time when artist could only do music. That was a smoke screen that was put in place by the music “business” folks at the record labels. They wanted to keep you in the dark so they could take all the money.It worked!

    The problem now is artist continue to live and practice their careers as if the smoke screen is still up! You can’t! You must continue to learn and educate yourself on all levels of the music business! You could never only write, record and perform your music and you can’t only do that now!


    1. David,

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog:)

      I think you have put the cart before the horse on this particular blog. This blog is simply addressing how to approach the manager. The things you bring up should be done after the initial meeting and before signing the contract.

      My intent is to get the artist to put some research and thought into what they are doing and not waste the time of other people with inane questions when people put the information out there for them to read so they don’t have to answer those inane questions.

      Not only that, but this constant bashing of the music industry will get us nowhere. If it wasn’t for the industry, we would have the what we have today. You have to remember that the record labels took all the risk when signing an artist and it was their money that was up to be lost, not the artists. Not everything they did was right, but look at a lot of the artists, and what it costs to get them out of constant trouble as well. If an artist doesn’t want to pay a label for the risk they take, then the artist should go get the loans and learn how to run the business, do all the PR, management, booking, legal, publishing and all the back end stuff that a label would have done. They take the risk and are up for paying back the hundreds of thousands in loans when it doesn’t work.

      It’s a two way street and until they both are willing to be and and act professional, then neither should point fingers.

    1. Maurice,

      You can link to this blog, but you may not alter it in any way. Proper credit must be given.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog:)


  2. Great article David!

    Another really great article written by a manager for artists is this one, not sure if you have read it yet?
    Artist Management – Artists & Bands Seeking Representation

    I think every artist should read the above as well as your article.

    There’s far too many artists out there who have not done legwork, homework etc and just think they are entitled to everything because they ‘exist’ and certainly don’t know how to approach professionals.

    There needs to be more education on how to do business in my opinion. Also, artists need to understand they need to learn and do the equivalent of a bachelors degree worth of study to be taken seriously in this biz and to aim for longevity. Nothing is handed over on a silver platter and anything you achieve must be earned with the equivalent or more amount of hard work.

    All the best, your blog is great.

    Take care,

  3. Wow. This is a wonderful piece of advice for anyone seeking viable representation. I just wrote a far less eloquent rant about this very subject on my tumblr:

    While it is healthy and necessary to have a certain level of “moxie” or “chutzpah,” that needs to be placed in check when seeking representation. I think musicians fail to realize that as managers, we have seen some amazing musical moments created by extremely talented musicians. With that understanding, a young gun runs the risk of looking like a complete fool when they exhibit too much confidence. Meanwhile, when you open their swagger-filled email, you are still radiant from seeing some epic event… like Chaka Khan duetting with Seal or something!

  4. Amen brother! As an entertainment lawyer, I field countless calls and emails from people who clearly haven’t even bothered to read the information on the “contact us” page of my website. If they had, they’d know whether they even had a chance of representation with me.

    Thanks for saying what needs to be said!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *