Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Mega-Artists Ditching Their Managers

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When you consider the back end of the music business record are labels are usually the first thing you think about.  But there’s another middleman in the music game – an artist’s or band’s business manager.  These individuals are tasked with running the day-to-day business for the artist they represent.  In theory this seems like a good idea, because artists can concentrate on making music and performing if they don’t have to handle the back end details.  However there’s an increasing trend for very established artists to eliminate business managers from their operation altogether.

So why would an artist axe their manager?  Cost savings, of course.  A typical manager charges 10-20% of an artist’s gross revenue.  For smaller artists that might not be much, but if you’re someone like Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift or Jay-Z the manager payouts could add up to tens of millions of dollars a year.  As a result more top tier artists are deciding to either run their own music empires, or hire salaried employees to do their busy work at a fraction of the cost they’d be paying a traditional manager.

Going sans manager seems to be working for several artists, so it looks like a pretty decent idea.  I’m just wondering how those “I don’t need you anymore” conversations actually go down?


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