Manager or Booking Agent?


In the ever-evolving landscape of the music entertainment industry, we are witnessing a significant paradigm shift in the way business is conducted. Established record labels are grappling with the challenges posed by this transformation. As they face employee layoffs and downsizing, they are finding it increasingly challenging to compete with independent artists who possess access to superior equipment and recording capabilities. These artists are asking whether they need an artist manager or booking agent, or both.

Most Indies are opting to stay independent in order to maintain complete creative control over their music. This approach allows them to create and produce high-quality content without the constraints imposed by record labels. However, there is a downside to this trend. Unsigned and lesser-known bands are struggling to secure the representation of booking agencies.

Do You Know What You Need?

As marketing professionals in the music entertainment industry, it is crucial for us to navigate and adapt to this changing landscape. We must identify innovative strategies to address the needs of both independent artists and unsigned bands. By leveraging our expertise and industry connections, we bridge the gap between managing, developing, and booking undiscovered talent as well as established Indies, opening up new avenues for their growth and success. So, which do you need? A manager or a booking agent?

The traditional model in the music industry is that a booking agent does not manage artists, and managers don’t book artists. Most states in the US allow one to act as both an artist’s manager and booking agent, but New York and California each enacted laws in an attempt to differentiate between the two, with potentially dire consequences for one who, intentionally or not, blurs the lines between the two.

Transformative Thinking

As a forward-thinking marketing professional in the faith-based music entertainment industry, TMA (The Management Agency) is at the forefront of driving a transformative shift in the services offered to independent artists. Our primary objective is to enhance the productivity of our rostered artists while ensuring they have access to numerous opportunities, comparable to those offered by major labels and prestigious booking agencies.

By championing the productivity and success of our clients, while offering them a comparable level of opportunities as major labels and renowned booking agencies, TMA is helping revolutionize the music industry’s approach to artist representation and support for independent artists. We are committed to shaping the future of music by empowering Indie artists to reach their fullest potential and achieve unprecedented success.

Here’s How TMA Can Help!

You’ve probably discovered that finding a booking agent as an Indie artist is like finding a needle in a haystack! Unless the artist has a national presence with radio play, lots of connections, a bank vault full of cash, or a record deal with a major label, they will find it next to impossible to find a booking agency willing to take them on as a client. Literally hundreds of talented, ministry-focused musicians never get to share their music beyond their own church. So, we provide booking support services for independent artists, including:

  • Capitalizing on existing radio play in specific demographics to obtain bookings in those areas;
  • Networking with other Indie resource providers to capitalize on existing and new opportunities for bookings;
  • Follow-up with hosts from prior gigs to rebook you;
  • Follow-up on all new contacts to pitch new bookings;
  • Connecting promoters with independent Christian artists and entertainers.

At TMA we adhere to a highly professional approach when it comes to promoting our artists and securing opportunities. We do not engage in traditional “cold calling” from our contacts and network of talent buyers and venues. Instead, we emphasize building meaningful relationships and connections with key industry players.

We understand that effective artist representation requires a personalized and strategic approach. Rather than relying solely on unsolicited outreach, we focus on cultivating strong connections based on mutual trust and respect. By nurturing relationships with talent buyers and venues over time, we are able to curate tailored opportunities that align with our artists’ unique musical styles and career objectives.

Our dedication to maintaining a professional and respectful reputation within the industry allows us to leverage our extensive network effectively. Through strategic partnerships, targeted marketing efforts, and an in-depth understanding of our artists’ needs, we are able to establish valuable collaborations and secure prime performance slots for our talented roster.

The Power of Relationships

At TMA, we firmly believe in the power of relationships and the impact they have on shaping an artist’s career. By employing a thoughtful and personalized approach, we ensure that our artists are connected with the right opportunities and can thrive in the competitive music industry.

As an experienced marketing professional immersed in the music industry, I frequently encounter bands and artists who hold certain misconceptions about the role of a manager or booking agent. Many of them believe that hiring representation alone will catapult them to instant wealth and a schedule filled with lucrative opportunities. However, in today’s competitive landscape, this perception couldn’t be further from reality.

The music industry is inundated with talented musicians vying for their big break. It is essential to recognize that success in this business is not a quick fix but rather the result of hard work, dedication, and a long-term investment in one’s career. It is crucial for artists to reflect on several key questions to gain clarity:

  • Will I find happiness and fulfillment as an artist, even if I don’t secure a record deal?
  • Is my definition of success contingent on being signed to a major label?
  • Am I prepared and financially capable of viewing my expenses as investments in my future rather than unnecessary overhead?
  • Do I possess the necessary funds to propel my career forward?

By introspectively addressing these questions, artists can gain a realistic understanding of their aspirations and the path they need to pursue to achieve their goals. It is essential to recognize that success in the music industry often requires patience, perseverance, and prudent financial management.

As a marketing professional, my role is to guide and support faith-based artists in navigating these challenging waters. By providing strategic advice and development tools, helping artists build a strong foundation, and assisting them in making informed decisions about investments in their careers, we can cultivate an environment primed for sustainable growth and long-term success.

I’ve heard many hard-luck stories from artists who had bad experiences with managers. Yet many times the bad experiences were precipitated by a misunderstanding of “who does what” and why. That’s why the writer of the following (an industry “insider” – not me!) submitted it to the blog of an industry website popular among “Indie” artists and bands:

How to Get a Manager and Not Get Ripped Off

You first need to have a Band Business that is financially solvent and making money to attract a real manager who knows what they are doing. Treat your band like a business with a real business plan and a road map as to where and how you plan to get there against the thousands of others trying to do the same thing.

The longevity of most bands is about 6 months if they are lucky, and no business manager wants to waste their time dealing with a band that does not have its act together and is really ready to be marketed.

There are stories of bands being ripped off by unscrupulous managers. However, there are far more stories about it being the other way around, by bands that don’t have a clue what it takes to be a business. You are hiring that Manager or Agent. If they agree to take payment in the form of commissions then you must prove to them that you indeed make enough money to be able to afford to pay them. Then you are the boss and you can fire them if they do not perform adequately. However, you need to know what “adequate” is so you will know the difference. ((Reprinted from Sonicbids’ Forum))

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