Musician Management: Job Description & Career Requirements

Musician managers, also referred to as agents and business managers, represent the employment and promotional interests of solo performers and groups. For more information about career and education requirements for musician managers, read on.

Career Definition for Music Managers

Musician managers work closely with artists, handling tasks such as 'shopping' demo tapes, booking concert venues, overseeing marketing efforts, handling band finances, signing contracts, and managing all other aspects of the business side of music performance. Musician managers also play a role in helping musicians or music groups keep positive attitudes in an extremely competitive and difficult industry. While most of the big players in the music industry are located in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Las Vegas, smaller cities also have local bands eager to make a living doing what they love.

Education Bachelor's degree or master's degree in music, music management or business administration recommended
Job Skills Strong communication, business, common sense
Median Salary (2017)* $64,940 for managers of artists, performers, and athletes
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 5% for managers of artists, performers, and athletes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is the usual entry-level requirement for obtaining a job as a musician manager. Sample undergraduate programs can lead to a Bachelor of Business Administration in Music Business, Bachelor of Music in Music Business, or Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry Management. Graduate-level degree programs include a Master of Arts in Music Management, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Music Management or a Master of Music in Music Management.

Most bachelor's degrees take the traditional four years to complete, but some programs may vary in length, due to specialized requirements and internships. A musician manager's course load will combine lessons in music with standard business classes in marketing, advertising, finance, and accounting.

Skills Required

Musician managers must have common sense and a solid grasp of business to make it in this extremely competitive field. Musician management professionals should also have strong communication skills to deal with artists, executives, and everyone in between.

Career and Salary Outlook

As reported by the BLS, there were an estimated 19,100 individuals working as agents or managers of artists, musicians, or athletes in May 2016. The BLS estimates that job growth will climb by 5% over the course of the 2016-2026 decade, which is slower than average in comparison to all other occupations. The median salary for these business managers was $64,940 in May 2017, per the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Other options in the field of management can be found below:

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing specialists help to create buzz and anticipate the interest in consumer products. Depending on their position, their activities can include creating advertising campaigns and developing purchasing incentives or strategies. A bachelor's degree in advertising, journalism, or marketing is standard for obtaining a position; college internships are strongly suggested. As of May 2016, the BLS has projected a faster than average growth in jobs nationwide for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers through 2026. The BLS also reported that advertising and promotions professionals were paid median annual wages of $106,130 in May 2017; during the same timeframe, marketing managers earned $132,230.

Sales Managers

Sales managers oversee the budgetary, sales, and training activities of a company. While experience may serve as a substitute for a formal education, the majority of sales managers have a bachelor's or even a master's degree in a relevant field of study. Between 2016 and 2026, employment opportunities for sales managers nationwide are expected to increase at a fast-as-average rate of 7%, according to the BLS. In May 2017, sales managers earned median annual wages of $121,060.


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