A guide to management in the music industry


Monika Ilieva is the co-founder/CEO of Cafe De Anatolia (Record Label & Artists Management Agency & Media News Agency).

The music industry is a vast and complex landscape, with many different moving parts. At the heart of it all is the music itself, but there are also the managers who help guide artists’ careers, the labels who release and promote their music, and the live venues and promoters who organize their concerts. All of these different elements come together to create an ecosystem where every player has a role to play. And while there may be conflict and competition between those different players, they ultimately have a common goal: to make great music and bring it to the world.

In recent years we have seen a number of changes in the way the music industry operates. The rise of streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music has turned the traditional models of how music is consumed and distributed on its head. And while this has created new opportunities for artists, it has also made it more difficult for them to earn a living from their work. This has put even more pressure on managers to help their clients succeed in an increasingly challenging environment. But at the same time, it gives managers more power than ever before when it comes to shaping artists’ careers.

In this article, I explore the role of management in the music industry and how their decisions can make or break an artist’s career. If you plan to enter this industry in a leadership role, know that these roles can be demanding; however, a good manager can also be one of the most important puzzle pieces on an artist’s path to success.

The different types of management in the music industry

Managers play an important role in helping their clients make career decisions. They give advice on which opportunities to take advantage of and which to pass on. They also help negotiate contracts and manage finances. In some cases, managers may even be involved in the creative process and make suggestions on how a song should be arranged or what kind of image an artist should project.

There are a number of management roles in the music industry, and each has its own kind of impact on decision making.

• Label Executives: These are responsible for the business side of a music company, making decisions about what kind of music should be released and how it should be marketed. In this role you will also negotiate contracts with artists and other companies.

• Artist and Repertoire (A&R) Executives: Those in this role are responsible for finding new talent and developing the careers of existing artists. You decide which artists to contract and what kind of material to record.

• Product Managers: These oversee the production process for albums and other releases, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget. They also work with marketing teams to come up with strategies for promoting products.

• Radio promoters: Promoters try to play songs on radio stations, often by paying or offering other forms of persuasion. You can make a big impact on an artist’s career if you manage to get their records playing.

• Tour Managers: A tour manager coordinates all aspects of an artist’s live performance, including booking venues, hiring staff, and handling logistics. They play a crucial role in ensuring that concerts run smoothly and safely. Tour management can be one of the most important and practical forms of management in the music industry, as it puts artists in direct contact with their fans. If you want to become a tour manager, focus on making horizontal and vertical connections with people who work in all aspects of the industry. I recommend that you focus less on money and more on increasing your value and connections at the start.

How to be an effective manager

Each artist is a brand in itself. This brand must be carefully managed and curated in order to flourish and become a global sensation. With that in mind, here are some of the core skills and job expectations you need to develop to become an effective manager.

connections: A manager must be able to provide social and professional connections and contacts that can translate into professional relationships and a larger audience for the artist as they progress in their career.

Feedback: Managers should provide candid and honest feedback and help artists brainstorm decisions and career growth lines. This doesn’t mean artists can’t chart their own path and grow independently, but being able to have a second opinion based on facts and industry experience is valuable for a budding artist.

• Arbitration: Managers can act as arbitrators in a team of performers. For example, in a group of musicians, a manager can help resolve disagreements and keep the team in sync for their performances.

Hiring a skilled music manager is one of the most responsible investments artists can make, but the timing of hiring and what kind of management the artist is looking for also matters. An artist may not need a professional music manager in the early stages of his career as he may be better off developing his own name on his own. can cause financial losses without a solid return on investment. But if you add value as a strong source of connections, feedback and arbitration, your collaboration with the artist can be successful and lead to greater financial returns later on.

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