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An artist can have separate managers (business manager, road manager etc.), but none is as important as the personal manager. The personal manager is the most important person in your career, as they can launch your career to its next level or drive you into obscurity. Although not all Artists have personal managers, most who are ready to take their career to the next level have. Having a personal manager allows the Artist to focus on his business’s creative aspect, while the manager focuses on the operational and business side. This doesn’t mean that the Artist should not be aware or involved with the business side, but the manager does the bulk of it. The personal manager’s role can be likened to a general manager and chief operating officer in a corporation. The personal manager’s job is to build your career and take it from one level to another, through counsel and advise, in all aspects of the business. They are involved in every part of the day-to-day running of the artist business, with the end goal of making the Artist profitable and successful.

The personal manager’s role includes:

  1. Making Major Business Decisions:

The personal manager makes business decisions on your behalf, with your consent or otherwise, depending on your agreement. They negotiate important deals on your behalf, ensure that the decisions are in your best interest, and promote your brand and music. Business decisions they help you with include deciding whether you should remain independent, record label deals, publishing deals, endorsement deals, etc. They are involved in the negotiations and ensure the finer details are well settled. Although they keep the Artist informed throughout this process, the bulk of the workload is on them, freeing up the Artist to focus on his creativity.

  1. Promoting Your Career:

The personal manager is in charge of promoting your career and ensuring it blossoms. This is done through various means, including social media, publicity, and being your hype man everywhere he goes. Your personal manager will pitch you and your music to everyone he meets, hoping to bag a collaboration that may advance your career. They are also responsible for building relationships between the Artist and his fans, peers, Label and other companies.

  1. Developing Your Art:

The personal manager also assists the Artist in developing his craft and art. This may be through different means, such as deciding songs to record, selecting a producer, choosing artwork to use, polishing his brand, dressing, and public statements. As stated earlier, the personal manager may also assist with songwriting, co-writers, and finding songs to record and perform. They are not restricted to just brand developments and sound, as their role cuts across every Artist aspect. Hence, whatever aspect the Artist delves into the industry, they will assist and help the Artist. It includes stuff like merchandising, endorsements and fashion statements.

  1. Co-ordinating Your Tours:

Personal managers also work with other agents, such as tour managers, to get the Artist the best deals. This includes hiring a tour manager responsible for all business matters regarding tours and live shows of the Artist in different cities. They work with these different individuals to ensure your concert tours and shows are run smoothly. They oversee logistics such as hotel bookings, settling with promoters, ensuring expenses are minimised, transportations and other miscellaneous.

  1. Project Management:

A personal manager is in charge of managing the projects which the Artist is executing. This ranges from ensuring that the Label treats the Artist well, maximises the advertising and marketing campaigns for the Artist’s records, and handles the Artist’s business as a priority. The personal manager also monitors pre-release and post-release activities and develops strategies that best promote the Artist’s talents and intellectual property. The projects may range from the release of records, endorsements, merchandise, tours, and live shows. Regardless, the personal manager oversees them, co-ordinates and delegates, where necessary, to ensure the project is successful and meet the Artist’s goals. The personal manager is also responsible for assembling the team, which will execute the Artist’s projects.

A personal manager plays a crucial role in an Artist’s career and should be the first member of the team, Artist should get. Their roles exceed the listed above, including hiring and firing other team members, looking after the Artist’s well-being, both physically and mentally, and managing the Artist’s finances. Often, the personal manager’s roles overlap into other roles, and a personal manager will take up duties beyond his defined scope. Choosing the right personal manager may make or mar your career, making it a crucial decision for the Artist to make.

Lastly, stay up to date with all you need to know about African music at SOA, right here.

Oluwadamilare Odusanya 

I am a Nigerian qualified lawyer with over 3 years of post-qualification experience. I’m an alumnus of the University of Lagos and the Queen Mary University of London, where I completed a master’s degree in corporate commercial law with a distinction. I’m also a drummer, a lover of dogs and an avid gamer.

Over the years, I have offered corporate and commercial services to companies, businesses and start-ups and provided advisory services to artists and record labels. I currently work with Laude London, a music management consultancy firm that offers publishing, sync placement, branding, and A&R services to artists.