Music business management leaders have a special calling (of course not one calling is more special than others) and opportunity to lead others with biblical principles.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to meld biblical faith and shrewd management (in the good sense that Jesus intended).
Music business management takes everything that is traditionally known as business management and applies its principles specifically to the distinct nature of the music industry.
It is not simply business administration with music thrown into it. It’s also not a music degree with business thrown into it. Music business management is its own field of specialization because just like any business, networking and relationships are a foundation to anyone’s career.
A music business manager is someone who is an advocate for the artist they are representing. The client represented could be a single artist or a number of musical groups.
Tasks will vary depending on the role either as an artist manager or business manager.
One of the main roles is to handle the day-to-day tasks and time management for the artist.
It’s imperative to always think about our partnerships with the artist both in general and in practical terms depending on what label or organization you’re working with.
A personal business manager solely focuses on the client’s financial goals and overall monetary success. They understand the financial needs and complexities of contracts and can also negotiate new ones.
This person usually has an accounting background but it’s not necessary. Being good with numbers is most important and an education in music business could be beneficial. The bulk of responsibility requires budgeting, investing, paying bills, ensuring royalty payments are accounted for, and of course - good old taxes.
The thing that we see as consumers of music is the very shiny, sparkly show version of an artist, but managers see the good, bad, ugly, hard, strengths, and weaknesses.
A music manager plays a vital role in counseling and giving direction in career and personal decisions. This is why wisdom is essential to become a well-renowned manager. Just as important is to be someone who is passionate about serving creatives like music artists or groups.
It’s really important to choose your lane in the music industry since there are many options to pursue in the music business industry. Some examples are: publishing, movies, placements, management, etc, so be encouraged!
The current state of the market in the industry really changed due to digital streaming in music.
For independent artists, it was a great idea because anybody can put their music online anywhere, but it became a challenge for the gatekeepers of the music industry.
Before the era of digital streaming, aspiring musicians have always come in with the mindset of "I must get signed so I can get my music out", but now there's a lot of music out in the world and it makes the competition challenging for recording companies.
Helpful Resources on Music Management and Business:
Understanding integrity, honesty, humility and a servant's heart is crucial to the challenges you’ll face in the music industry.
Managers need to be intentional about taking time to make sure that the way they do business lines up with those principles, and at the same time to be inspired by those in our faith walk that have gone before us.
The believer is filled with true integrity and follows the laws of the Lord. They naturally do business with the heart of serving others and carry out His mission. It does not matter how cool you are, how smart you are, how pretty you are or how handsome you are. God can use anyone if we are willing to show up.
There are many jewels in the Bible that apply to the heart of a believer in business leadership:
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.” (Proverbs 28:6)
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3)
These 12 biblical principles are also a good starting point since we can borrow any of them and apply it to the music business industry.
Be sure to grow in it, love it, and help others in all that you do.
It’s important to understand that the industry is always changing, so go with the flow and be a part of the change.
But keep this is mind - do you stand up for what’s important to you? However, it’s not just about what’s important to you. As somebody who is serving and following the Lord, you must remember to be a person of integrity, serve and lead well, and don’t think so much about what others are doing. Pay attention to what’s in front of you.
The Music Business Program at Visible will prepare you for the music industry from a Christian worldview. Request more information about Music Business.