Posted on July 15, 2020.

We conducted a short interview with an experienced artist manager. He was kind enough to share some valuable insight to help you better understand the process of working with a manager. Check it out below.

Tell us a bit about your background and experience.

My name is Brian Frank. I have spent 25 years in the music industry innovating and advocating for artists and fans through executive roles at major labels, music technology companies, and my own company, BFrank Management. Working on behalf of my clients, Fu Manchu, Ra Ra Riot, The Frights, and FRENSHIP, I have forged strategic relationships throughout the music and technology industries to build sustainable artists' careers.

Prior to founding BFrank Management, I was EVP of Marketing & Strategy at Warner Bros. Records where my accomplishments included Tom Petty's only career #1 Billboard Top 200 album, Prince's only career simultaneous #1 albums (Billboard Rock and Billboard R&B) and The Black Keys' only career #1 Billboard Top 200 album. Before joining WBR, I was employee #1 at Beats Music, where I co-created the streaming service alongside Trent Reznor. As EVP and Global Head of Content for the company, I developed the original business plan, secured funding, designed the organizational structure, hired and managed the Editorial, Artist & Label Relations, Content, and Partner Relations teams. I came to Beats Music from Interscope Records, where I was Head of Rock & Alternative Marketing. My experience there included working on blink-182's reunion album (#2 Billboard Top 200), Rise Against's highest-charting album (#2 Billboard Top 200), Weezer, All Time Low, Dashboard Confessional and more.

Earlier in my career, I held positions at Atlantic Records, Ticketmaster and others. I hold a BA and an MBA from Columbia University.

1) At what point in an artist's or band's career do you believe it makes sense for them to have a manager?

I think that it depends on the artist and their goals. If an artist has the capacity to handle the business aspects of their career without it negatively impacting their creativity and relationship with their fans, it may not make sense for them to have a manager. However, for many artists, they reach a point where it is unsustainable to do both because the business demands increase to a point where it detracts from their artistry. The best artist and manager relationships are those where the goals are aligned, and each respects the other's contributions towards those goals.

2) Do you recommend an artist seek out a manager or wait for a manager to initially reach out to them?

Again, it depends on the specifics. However, if an artist is seeking out a manager, they should consider why they are looking for management and why that manager would want to enter into a relationship at that stage. If an artist is at the point where managers are reaching out to them, they are doing something right. If an artist isn't having managers reach out to them, they should think about why that's the case and what they could do to create more interest in them.

3) When signing with a manager, is there usually a written contract, and what is the typical length of the agreement?

Another answer that depends on the specifics :-) The most important thing for the artist to keep in mind is that every agreement is a value exchange. Everyone should be compensated commensurate with their efforts, their investment, and their risk level. Therefore, the length of the agreement and the terms will vary depending on the level of the artist and the level of manager.

4) How much should a band pay their manager, and would the manager's fee apply to all income the band earns? Also, is that fee deducted from gross or net income?

Managers are typically paid 15%-20% of gross entertainment industry-related income with certain deductions. These deductions can include certain costs associated with doing business, such as paying opening acts, costs of manufacturing merchandise, etc. As I stated above, the most important thing is to remember that the relationship is a value exchange and relates to what each party is bringing to the table and the level of risk involved for each of them.

5) What is a misconception you believe artists often have about the role of a manager?

Over the years, I have seen issues arise when an artist looks to the manager to initiate the process. The manager's job is to amplify the voice of the artist and help them along their creative and business path. However, this process starts with the creativity of the artist themselves - music, art, etc. Once the artist has the creative concept, the manager can get to work, manifesting the idea into reality.

Any other general advice you'd like to share?

When considering a manager, keep in mind that this person is representing you in the true definition of the word. The manager is the artist's voice to the industry, so consider their personality and communication style in how it will reflect on you. Also, the artist/manager relationship is the closest in the industry. Consider how you feel when you are communicating with your potential manager in addition to what they can do for you from a business perspective. Hopefully, this is someone who will be in your life for a long time and with whom you will share a lot of experiences.

Connect with Brian on Instagram by clicking HERE.