While a personal manager is involved in every aspect of an artist’s professional life, the business manager is concerned exclusively with a client’s money. For obvious reasons, an act typically doesn’t hire one until it is doing quite well financially. At that point the team likely includes an attorney, an agent, and a day-to-day manager, all of whom the business manager works with to put in place a cohesive financial plan that maximizes the artist’s earning potential.
Although specific duties will vary depending on the scope of a particular client’s career, he or she will certainly file taxes, monitor income and pay bills, oversee royalties, and follow up with third parties to ensure timely payments. A business manager also may be called upon to negotiate with record companies, merchandising firms, and publishing companies; seek out endorsements and sponsors; participate in the planning of recording and tour budgets; and counsel the artist on investment strategies. When certain types of problems arise—a contractual dispute, for example—the business manager is often the one to resolve the issue. While day-to-day contact with artists is usually limited, clients can expect to receive monthly reports from their business manager.
Business Manager (Personal) at a Glance
Business managers, to the surprise of many, are not required to be accountants, much less CPAs, although many are. Some learn the ropes as administrative assistants to established business managers, who may work at an agency or as an independent contractor, and others start out as accountants outside the music industry before taking on music clients. Once you’ve proved capable of helping clients save and make money, advancement comes in the form of more prestigious, higher-earning clients, usually by word-of-mouth referral.
Business, accounting, finance, music publishing, taxes, investing
Despite the fact that the job involves music and musicians, unless you are working with an A-list star it is largely an accounting position. Individuals who relish a sedate life behind a desk on the fringes of the music industry are well-suited to a career as a business manager.
Business managers generally keep conventional business hours, but are occasionally expected to be out at night or on the weekend to attend a client’s show.