Music / Arts Management Careers

Careers in music and arts management focus on making strategic decisions on behalf of an artist to further their career. 

Behind every successful artist is a dedicated manager working tirelessly to ensure that things work out in their favor. Managers coordinate tours, take phone calls, negotiate contracts, and handle the day to day ups and downs that come with being a professional artist. They may be responsible for getting an artist from one place to another, fielding press inquiries, booking gigs and appearances, or coming up with brand strategies; many managers network extensively on behalf of their clients in order to find them great opportunities. The most hands-on managers may act as a parent, a business administrator, a personal assistant, a therapist, an agent, an event planner, a publicist, and a coach, though often success allows them the means to delegate some of these responsibilities to professionals.

Handling all of this constitutes a full time job (sometimes more, in terms of hours and involvement!); usually, this service comes at the cost of a hefty cut of the profits. Experienced managers of successful artists can expect to be as well paid as they are busy. A manager's time and experience are valuable commodities, and for an artist, finding the right one can be a huge relief, leading to more focused work and more career milestones.

Work in music or arts management may include...

  • Advocating for artist clients in negotiations
  • Accompanying an artist to events and daily engagements
  • Representing an artist to industry contacts
  • Coordinating client schedules and meetings
  • Organizing an artist's assets and output

Becoming an arts or music manager typically happens one of two ways: a manager finds an artist, or an artist hires a manager. There are exceptions to this rule - some managers are initially an artist's family members or trusted friends who take on the responsibility of directing their careers early on and accompany them on the rise to fame, which is common for child stars and young musicians. Some artists are assigned managers upon signing with a label or agency, which can be a big change; however, agency managers tend to work with multiple clients and limit their work to professional concerns. It's not uncommon for veterans of the music or arts industries to find and nurture rising stars, devoting time and energy to helping them succeed.

A background in music business, general administration, or artist representation can help to prepare a manager for the rigors of the job; however, far more important than formal education or experience is one's ability to work with an artist and devote oneself to furthering their success. Managers need a tough defense system to deal with both the public and the industry, effectively serving as a buffer between the artist and the world; this can be emotionally taxing to those who aren't prepared. However, communicating effectively is often the trick to minimizing conflict, and the best managers can get on anybody's good side against all odds.

If you have impeccable organizational skills, can talk to people, and are prepared for anything, a career in music or arts management might be right for you.

The International Music Managers Forum is an umbrella organization for a collaborative network of regional and national associations of self-managed artists and managers.

The National Conference of Personal Managers is the nation's oldest trade association of personal managers who provide management of talent engaged in entertainment, media, and performing arts.

North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents is dedicated to promoting the professionalism of its members and the vitality of touring the live performing arts.

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is the only membership organization that unites players from all segments of the global music industry into a collective voice to promote overall growth throughout the industry.