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The Difference Between An Artist Manager and a Business Manager

Artists can have different types of managers that all serve different purposes. For those that are signed to record labels having more than one manager is almost always the situation.

Two of the most important managers are the Artist Manager and the Business Manager.

Most people dont know what differentiates the two and this post will discuss these two managers so you have a deeper understanding.

So then what is the difference between an Artist Manager and a Business Manager?

An artist manager is primarily concerned with managing the brand of the artist, making sure they keep a good image that can propel them to success. Artists managers also manage the day to day affairs of the artist, find opportunities for them and handle most activities on their behalf.

A business manager on the other hand deals with the business and financial side of things. A business manager will be the person that will make sure you get your fair share of royalties and handle the financial end of things with regard to all expenses and income. Furthermore, the business manager will also will advise the artist on how they can invest their income.

Now that we have a brief understanding of both these managers let’s get into the roles of each.

Roles of An Artist Manager

Managing an Artists Personal Life

One of the roles that an artist manager will play will be managing part of the life of the artist. As an artist you are basically a brand but you have a personal life and it has to be in line with your brand….. at-least to an extent.

Your manager will do their best to help you manage your personal life so it coincides well with your professional life…. they’ll also offer counsel when necessary.

Managing the artist brand

In relation to the previous point, an artist manager will play the role of managing your brand.

Branding is everything when it comes to having a successful career in music, this is why artist managers hustle hard to ensure that they help you as the artist develop a good brand that can attract fans and sell music.

This may include, making sure you have the best records, helping you collaborate with people that will reflect well on your brand and manage your social media accounts so you maintain a good online presence.

Artist managers have to ensure that the branding is done right because they have a vested interest in your success.


The life of musician or artist is not an easy life, especially for somebody that just hit superstardom.

One of the key functions that an artist manager will perform will be to make sure they handle your schedule and your day-to-day activities.

This means being your everyday planner for your meetings, recording sessions, interviews, appearances etc.

Managing everything on your own as an artist is not something easy therefore your manager will help take the load off you and leave you to focus on your tasks as the artist.

Finding opportunities for the artist

To be a good artist manager you have to be a person that can plan ahead, look at things well and basically understand your artist.

A good understanding will help you become a better manager, one that can recognize opportunities and chase them for your artist.

For example, endorsements are usually on the plate for most musicians that have a pretty reasonable fan base.

This is because companies can take advantage of the artist’s fame to bring some awareness to their brand and products.

You as the manager will be in charge of finding opportunities like these and presenting them to the artist whilst offering your advise on what kind of opportunities can work well with their brand.

Endorsements are not the only opportunities out there for musicians. Sometimes it’s a good feature, a good label etc.

Part time A&R duties

The artist manager in most cases will also function as the A&R, at-least part time anyway.

Being the person that is close to the artist and knows them on a personal level…. most people that would want to work with your artist go through you to get to them.

You’ll therefore have to filter out the noise and ensure that the talent you bring to the artist is talent that can be a good impact and valuable to the brand.

For example, most beat makers these days have a hard time finding A&Rs and in most cases, artist managers will be easier to find and get a hold of.

Once a good relationship is established with them they can then pitch the idea of sending beats to the artist they’re managing.

The artist manager in most cases will get the beats on behalf of the artist and then present them and give advise.

Plan releases

Another vital management role of artists and musicians is the planning of releases.

Albums, EP’s, Singles all have to be released in a timely manner at the right moment to ensure that they are adequately received.

Managers will work to plan the releases by helping curate the content on body’s of work like albums and EPs to ensure that the content that is put out is of high value…

This is an understated role, but artists always need a good manager that will have good judgement with regard to the content that will work best with the audience of the artist.

Creating Marketing Strategies

A key role that encompasses almost all roles that have to deal with promotion is creating marketing strategies and campaigns.

This usually means, doing heavy promotion when necessary and having the necessary strategies that can help an artist grow as well as their career.

Usually marketing strategies will be developed from a central point to be a trickle down effect that push the overall mission forward…. in simple terms, all marketing strategies will have the same goal in as much their execution will differ.

Roles of an Artist Business Manager

Negotiating royalty percentages

One of the key roles of business managers in music; is negotiating good rates for royalty splits on behalf of the artist.

In most cases the business manager will work in collaboration with the artist manager to ensure that they work together to deliver a good deal for the artist.

Managing expenses

Another key factor that has to be taken into consideration when it comes to managing any sort of business is managing expenditure.

A business manager will provide their expertise to ensure that artists finances are handled well keeping expenses to a minimum.

Managing revenue

Managing revenue is another key element of business management in music. The manager will guide the artist as to how they can go about investing their income in order to have a diversified portfolio.

Approving expenditure

With the goal of seeing an artist succeed both career-wise and financially. The business manager will have a say in almost all expenditures.

They’ll have to ensure that money is handled well and expended adequately for the betterment of the financial status of the musician or artist.

The Difference Between An Artist Manager and a Business Manager

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