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The management company works with the artist more so than anyone else. They play a dominant role in their interaction with people in the music industry (agents, promoters, record labels). Their own interaction with the artist is direct and they often have a freindly relationship with the artist. I spoke to an unsigned rock band with a management contract to find out exactly what they do for them. Their management company were an established music company who create music for adverts and therefore have knowledge and contacts within the industry. They provide the band with financial backing for equipment, recording sessions and any other finances to support the band. They also act as an agent for the band and book gigs by contacting promoters and promoters also often contact them. Their relationship with the band is very friendly and are on terms were they both work for each other.
Their management push and motivate the band to work as hard as they can to improve their material and perhaps influence it to be what a record company might want to hear. They are usually responsible for any exposure the band receive, for example interviews, airtime, music journals etc.
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The management company may be responsible for approaching the agent and asking them to organise a tour. Or the management company will discuss details of the tour with the record company who will then ask an agency to set up the tour. The agent will provide a list of tour dates and income for the management who will have to work out how much the tour will cost, with the help of a tour manager who will be responsible for keeping track of the venue, transportation, accommodation, advances, itineraries, guest lists, merchandise sales and their costs. The management will approach the record company with the details to find out whether they can financially support the tour.
The record company have their own accounts department who deal with all the financial matters. When an act is signed they will be responsible for providing them with money for equipment, recording, tours, travel etc as well as giving them there share of sales.
Although initially tours regularly lose money, if the record company believes the band will eventually pay off they will support them. In effect initial tours are more of a promotional excercise. Untill the band are more established and popular they may not make any profit from touring.
The record company will also have its own marketing and promotion department. Their job is to promote the artist and get them as much exposure as they can working alongside the press office (the link between the artist and the press) any kind of promotion through the media, interviews, advertising etc alongside the promotion of their tour will effect the amount of people who know about the band and go to see them live. The record company will often contact an agent to organise a tour for the band.
The agent will work for many artists and know many promoters. The agent will obtain all the necessary information about the band from the management company in order to be able to contact promoters and organise a tour for the band. Different agents will get the artist work in different areas however some agencies work internationallly. There are two types of contract the artist could have when playing a venue. It could be a contract with the promoter and the agent takes his cut from the gig. Or it could be a contract with the agent where the agent sells the artist to the promoter for a greater amount. It is a matter of insurance depending on how much the venue will take in. There also other things to consider such as merchandise sales and the rider, where the venue supplies particular items for the artist e.g. beers or food. If you sign a contract with a music agency you usually have to book gigs with them for a certain amount of time perhaps around 2-3 years, however you are only required to work through them within a certain territory as they may not have contacts in certain areas you wish to play.
A promoter is basically someone who puts on a night of live music. They could be the owner of a club, pub, venue etc or simply someone who hires out a hall and organises a night of entertainment. The promoter could approach the agent to ask for bands to play at his event. The agent could also approach the promoter with bands he/she may think would be suitable for the promoters event. The promoter is responsible for putting on a good night for the public or fans to enjoy. Once a tour or gig is setup he/she will do as they can to try and make sure the event is a success. In order for it to be successful there needs to be as many people at the event as is possible, i.e capacity of the venue. Therefore the promoter has to ensure that people know about the event and “promote'; the event. The promoter will also have to deal with any legal issues concerning the night, for example licencing, copyright regulations, noise polution, taxing.
The best promoters will obviously be promoting the bigger tours at the bigger venues and will have to do alot more promotion for it to be a success however they are usually supported by alot of promotion from the record company. The smaller promoters may only promote a gig in a certain area. The size of the venue as well as status of the band is usually proportional to the amount of promotion. For smaller unsigned bands, the promoter will usually rely on the band to bring people to the event and the bands income depends on how many people come to see them, on average they need to bring in around 30 people before they get paid and after that they may get £1 per person. It is not surprising that even a signed band may not make a profit from initial tours as a vast amount of the income from a gig goes to the promoter as they are running the show. Major promoters have a fair amount of power in the music business. Without them bands would not get heard or recognised, be able to play gigs, tours, become popular and make any money.
We understand that in order to make a tour possible the management, the record company, the agent and the promoter must work together as well as with other people, such as tour managers, accountants and roadies. The agent and promoter have most responsibility in organising the tour. The problem with this is that the agent and the promoter are the ones who have less interaction with the artist. The artist usually have not much of a say and agree to basically do as there told. The management and record company have a much more direct interaction with the artist although they do not have as much say in the tour either simply as they don’t need to. Sometimes artists try and deal with the promoter without going through an agent, which in theory could be beneficial in someways. The artist could have their own say in the tour and save money. However this is not advised as the artist may not be able to deal with many aspects and organise things properly as they are not experienced in that field. Promoters often do not like this as they have more trust in the agent who knows what there doing and who there dealing with.
Perhaps if the music industry was more about music than business the artists who provide the music would have more power in the business. Although as the business is one which requires alot of money before it can be succesful it will always consist of businessmen and entrpreneurs. As the number of independent labels is rising there could still be hope. If independent labels were capable of setting up there own tours and promotion at a level to compete with larger record companies, agents and promoters, the status of the artist could be more equal to them. However if an independent label begins to grow, it is not unlikely for another larger record company to buy them out in which case there purpose will fade. For some artists after going through many of the aspects we’ve talked about, and being taken under someone else’s wing and told what to do, eventually they do reach a stage where they can make there own decisions and have some power, although this is only for the lucky ones