You never know where you'll make a connection with someone but below I'm sharing 3 of the easiest ways to find a manager and how to reach out to them.
3 ways to meet a music manager:
1. MUSIC CONFERENCES/CONVENTIONS/PANELS etc.
Attend management panels at music conferences and conventions and introduce yourself! Managers attend these things because they're looking to connect and network so it’s one of the best times to say hello. But do your research first. (This is usually pretty easy as most panels will list the panelist's and their socials so you can check them out in advance). Know who the managers are, who's on their roster and if their company feels like the right place for you.
Feel free to ask for their card and if you want to share music ASK if you can send it and which format they prefer. If you get their contact info follow up. I can’t tell you how many people ask for my contact info at conventions and never follow up. Probably 80% or more!
Once you send that first email, don’t take it too personally if they don’t reply immediately (or at all). They’re busy and there are a ton of people including their roster who need their attention. At this stage you are just establishing a relationship with them. Nurture that relationship by following up every once in awhile (when you have a new release, local show you could invite them to, or some other achievement.) I’m not saying you should bombard them with every new piece of information. Please don’t do that! But updates are fine. Ideally there should be some measurable growth between these emails so they can see the trajectory of your career or project.
Ask those around you (artists, producers, stylists, photographers, video directors, songwriters, entertainment lawyers, publicists, label execs etc.) if they know an artist manager who might be a good fit for you. These people work w/ managers on the regular and you want someone who maintains good connections with all of the above.
**If they do know a manager who'd be a fit ask if they would consider making an intro.
3. INDUSTRY EVENTS
Basically the same formula as above with music conferences but again do your research!! Know the managers you want to connect with. Following them on IG and other platforms can sometimes give you insight into who they are, what they're about, and the kind of work they do. (Other times it will reveal nothing because they might be too busy promoting their artists to maintain their own platforms. But hey it's worth checking!)
At industry events, introduce yourself. Share something you admire or respect about their work. It seems obvious but you'd be amazing how many people don't do this. Of course it should be genuine. Don't make shit up! If they're a successful manager in this industry they can smell BS a mile away. Seriously.
Don’t say "I’m the hottest shit coming outta xxx and you need to work with me cuz xxx.” (yes people legit say this to me all the time). Stick to facts like “I just released a single and it was featured on xxx playlist(s) …. I'm about to drop my first EP…. I received an amazing review in xxx etc. If there’s someone at the event that can make an intro even better! That’s basically like a referral.
How to reach out?
Ok, so you know the manager(s) you’d like to start nurturing a relationship with. You got their contact info at an industry event or a music convention. If you’re still wondering how to reach out here are some REAL examples of what TO say and what NOT to say.
**Btw...these are ACTUAL messages I’ve received from artists. And no, I didn't shorten them for this post.
WHAT NOT TO SEND:
“I would love to have a sit down with you. I like what I see and I think we can do a lot of great things together.”
“i need a manager”
“hey check my instagram!”
“just wondering if you were looking for new artists to work with”
"Hi Katrina, I am interested in talking to you about management of young artist singer songwriter, musician etc.. can you email me with contact info or call me at xxx"
“Hi I am a recording artist seeking management services. Can we have a call?”
"Hello I am an unknown artist looking for manager to help me with my career it would be get if you can contact me at xxx-xxxx"
Look I get it! You’ve identified a manager you wanna connect with and you wanna set up a meeting. You wanna "hustle your career along" (another quote from an email someone sent me.) You don't know what to say and maybe you want to create some air of mystery. Don't.
Those are some pretty obvious examples but here's what they all have in common:
- There’s not enough information. None of these artist’s shared anything about themselves to spark any interest in who they are. The mystery did not encourage me to respond or inquire for more.
- A one liner will get you nowhere (except here, being used as a poor example for what not to send)
- Don’t make demands on people to "call you" or "meet with you". I personally don’t want to work with anyone who doesn’t respect my time and experience. Time is SUPER precious and most manager's don't have a lot of it. A meeting probably isn't likely unless the interest is REALLY high. Start with generating some interest and establishing a relationship.
ASKING goes a long way! Ask if they’re interested in exploring further and if so when (and how) would be a good time. For example, it may be too early in your career for them to have a sit down with you but they might be happy to listen to some music and start following your career. Invite them to a show (make sure it's a killer show! Don't invite them to your lowest production gig).
WHEN you reach out to a manager is just as important as what you say. You want to make sure you're reaching out when you have something going on that need's "managing" or when you have some accomplishments under your belt that would entice someone to take a look at your career.
So what SHOULD you say?
This is a real example of a great email I received from an emerging artist (I’ve replaced some info with xxx to maintain anonymity). It’s short, to the point, outlines who they are, and they ASK if I would be interested in getting to know each other.
BOOM! Great email. And yes I responded. 🙂
I am a xxx artist based in xxx seeking management for my career. I heard about you through xxx of xxx. Some context on the status of my career: I have been a self managed performing artist for xxx years, building momentum in the past xxx years with (lists a variety of accomplishments and awards). I reached the top xxx of xxx in 2017, and currently perform about xxx times per year. I have a few commercially released collaborations (features on xxxx tracks) as well as the song xxx. Aside from the performances in xxx, I recently performed at xxx, xxx and xxx. I also just completed the xxx program. My first solo EP is almost complete and I want to build a team to properly promote it. My goal is to xxxxx. Below are my links (they included their socials below). Please let me know if you would be interested in speaking over the phone to get to know each other!
Your manager is going to be your ride or die. Finding one is a process kinda similar to dating. You're nurturing that relationship, building trust, and seeing if your values and goals are in alignment.
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