ep 02. starting your music management business

This episode will cover

·     starting and setting up your music management company 

·     business structures

·     professional support 

·     and engaging artists

In order to identify the areas in which you are strong and the areas you need to work on you can start with the key characteristics of a good manager

characteristics of a good manager

Leadership: managers need to be project leaders, team builders and co-ordinators

Good at building relationships: managers need the ability to vary the approach depending on the audience

Creativity: this is necessary to develop creative strategies to raise an artists profile and promote music

Industry knowledge: important to know terminology and the better you understand how things work the better you can identify the opportunities for artist development too

Entrepreneurial spirit: as an independent managers need to be self motivated, organised and business minded

e.g. lack of industry knowledge. Action to take = enrol in a course

creative V business - what type of manager are you?

Different types of managers have different types of strengths.

creative managerstypically can contribute to technical input, identify collaborators, they could be musicians themselves, musically trained and/or in music production

business managerare organised, tend to focus on the operational side of work, have strong project management and admin skills and will have a strong focus on exploiting income streams

It's a spectrum so you may not be one or the other but may lean more heavily on one side. By identifying your strengths and the type of manager you are you can determine how you will position yourself as an independent music manager and be very clear about what you can bring to a working relationship.


questions to help you determine which business structure is best for you

  • How much money are you earning?

  • How prepared are you to undertake administrative tasks?

  • Are you taking on financially risky projects?

 Viable formal UK business structures for music management companies include

Sole trader

  • One director owns the company

  • No company set-up costs

  • No formation fee

  • Low price accountancy fee (from £200 a year)

  • Low level of admin – only tax return

  • Personal liability for debts

  • Business name not protected

  • Good if revenue is low and for bootstrapping

  • Good if you do not need credibility

Private limited company

  • Possibility for multiple ownership

  • Entity on its own

  • More vigorous monitoring

  • Adds credibility

  • No personal liability for business debts

  • Facilitates credit and bank account applications

  • Lower tax rate (corporation tax)

  • Good if revenue is £20,000 plus and expenses are low

  • Secures company name

  • Accountant fees more expensive than sole trader from about £550 a year

  • Good if working on financially risky projects because of the separation between the owner and the business

Other set up options include going through a formation company which is a third party agent that registers your business with companies house for you. They also provide additional services that support businesses at this early stage too.



Speak to a broker, they act as a middle person between you and the insurance companies but can prove very useful for niche cover such as the type new music management companies would need.

Points to consider in your cover:

  • Public liability: cover against claims made by the public

  • Professional indemnity: covers legal costs and expenses in defending a claim as well as compensation

  • Employer public liability: legal requirement if you have staff and cover legal claims made by employees

  • Travel insurance: covers claims associated with travel

  • Cover for cancellation: cover your lost of income or costs from gigs or tours


Getting support for your business

Places to get support for your music management business


Finding and engaging artists

Places to find artists

Assess where your artist is in their development - questions to ask

  • Where are you now?

  • Where do you want to be?

  • Whose career do you admire?

Use some filters to measure compatibility and to see whether there is enough work for you.

Artist development plan topics

These plans set out your strategy and actions linked to your goals

  • Fan engagement

  • Music production

  • Income streams

  • Achievements and milestones


Management agreement contract

  • Usually prepared by artist manager

  • Both manager and artist should have legal advice

  • Things to include in the contract: fees/financial compensation, work responsibilities, duration of the contract, post contact arrangements, scope of work, territories

  • Good template from the MMF and MU (available for members)

  • Fess – 20% is the standard but need to agree of which income streams (CD sales/streaming, publishing, synchronization and licensing, touring and performance, merchandise and sponsorship

  • The Music Managers Bible is a good resource

  • https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Music_Management_Bible.html?id=xB3wngEACAAJ&redir_esc=y

links and extras

Setting up a sole trader https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader

Setting up a private limited company https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation

Engaging an artist Advice for engaging new artists