Written by Jaron Lewis
First of all, what does an artist management agency do and why do you need one?
Artist management companies build a brand around a new artist and propel them forward quicker than if the artist were to try to do everything solo. They create opportunities, plain and simple.
New artists are not trusted yet and have no credibility, so hiring an artist management agency gives them an entire team of people that can help with music promotion, marketing, management, and so much more.
Artist management booking fees usually are commission only and run from 5- 15% percent of the gig sales. Sometimes, their commission is from ticket sales only and other times it includes ticket and merchandise sales.
If the agent is sponsoring big clients and know they will be guaranteed a steadily large payday, they may cut their commission percentage down slightly.
A straight booking agent takes 10% commission from live audience performances but doesn’t take royalties from merchandise, record sales, or publishing.
If you are new to the music industry, these are the 6 Best Artist Management Agencies now:
These days it's debatable if an indie artist needs management. Often times, if you have a budget ready you can cut the middle man of getting a manager and go straight to a marketing plan with a good company.
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Specifically, Lee Anderson, who has booked and continues to book some of the biggest names in the music industry consistently. Acts like Skrillex, Zedd, and Rudimental can credit (part of) their success to AM Only.
The Eagles, One Direction, Britney Spears, Meghan Trainor, and Maroon 5 are among the big names that can be boasted by this artist management agency!
Under management with them, The Eagles have brought in $188 million from tours and One Direction has gone over $500 million. If I were working in the music industry, I would definitely want to check these guys out.
Imagine Dragons and Shawn Mendes have been represented by Corrie Christopher Martin and Matt Galle. Shawn Mendes has topped the charts with songs like “Treat You Better” and sold out the Greek Theater in LA.
Kendrick Lamar, Kehlani, and Fetty Wap are among the talented musicians at ICM Partners. Kehlani recently did a tour of 27 cities and sold out 26 of those shows. This young artist is making a great name for herself!
These guys hang out with some of my personal favorites like Adele, Calvin Harris, and Sam Smith. This agency has talent spanning many industries like music, television, and movies. Many mergers over the last decade or so have made this agency a powerhouse with a global presence.
Having a sound tech at live performances may give you a competitive advantage over other artists.
I've definitely been to live shows before where singers are fumbling with the mic and asking them to turn it up mid performance.
I know the in-house guys do their best, but having a sound tech whom you're familiar with and knows your every note can boost the experience of your live sets.
Some of these are small music management companies, but often times that’s good because it means you’ll get more personalized attention! These music management companies are eagerly looking for artists, so be sure to give them your contact.
C3Presents: “C3 Management provides full service artist management solutions for a variety of music business clients ranging from alternative, electronic, indie, hip-hop and world. C3 utilizes knowledge of some of the most experienced and respected music professionals in the industry and takes pride in implementing innovative business solutions to develop the careers of a client roster ranging from breaking to established acts.”
Arrow Music Management: “Established in 2007, The Arrow Music Agency has had a focused mission to create, develop, market, and expand the business model of artists at all career levels. We are a first class full service boutique agency providing artist management and music marketing serving a global roster of Pop, Electronic, DJs, Indie, Rock, and Country. At our core, we establish goals and a plan with our artists to grow their revenue model in 5 target areas: music sales and digital content, live shows, merchandise/branding, sponsorships, and music licensing. Our foundation is built upon the principles of hard work, dedication, loyalty, honesty, and business ethics.”
Big Loud Management: “Big Loud Management is an independent music company providing in-house publishing, management and production services. Developing from a unique partnership with Big Loud Shirt Publishing, the groundbreaking company is led by four partners: award-winning songwriter Craig Wiseman, producer Joey Moi, and veteran managers Kevin “Chief” Zaruk and Seth England.”
Primo Artists: Primo Artists, a classical music agency based in New York, was established in 2015 to become the leading artist management agency in North America. Founded by Charlotte Lee, who has 20 years of experience in the music industry, this boutique agency prides itself on its selective roster of several of the world’s finest classical artists, from rising stars to household names.
JWP Agency: JWP Agency and Jim Wadsworth Productions, formed in 1990, is an all-service entertainment company. JWP handles artist booking and management, as well as concert production for public, private and corporate events. With offices in Cleveland, Ohio and Sarasota, Florida, JWP’s primary focus is on Jazz, World Music, Great American Songbook, Fusion, and The New American Songbook artists.
CGAgency: “CGAgency, based out of its main headquarters in New York with mobile offices around the globe, CGA has been in the production / artist management / agency / promotion business since the year 2000.
Bass Music (Drum and Bass / Dubstep / Electro) being their main focus makes them one of the few rising forces in the stateside breakbeat culture scene. CGA is the holder of many established talents as well as up and coming.”
One House Artists: “One House Artists provides innovative management and booking services for a diverse range of world-renowned artists and breakthrough talent.”
Red Light: “Coran Capshaw founded Red Light Management in 1991 in Charlottesville, VA, while helping Dave Matthews Band grow organically from local club favorite to one of the most renowned touring groups of all time. Red Light has since developed into the largest independent music management company in the world.”
Milk & Honey: “Milk & Honey is a 21st century hybrid entertainment management company driven by two important disciplines — A&R and Marketing. The company is a privately owned boutique with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville with the launch of a European office imminently approaching.”
Foundations Music: “A frustrating paradox exists within the music management business. Managers of successful, established acts usually have the proper network and gravitas to serve as effective advocates for their clients, yet often lack the innovation and flexibility to thrive within the current business model. On the other hand, managers of young, developing musicians often have some of the most forward-thinking ideas and a more thorough understanding of the current/future state of the business; however, they may lack the ability of their more established peers to effectively infiltrate the mainstream. The challenge for any act becomes finding a manager that combines the best of both of these worlds: this duality is the key strength of Foundations Artist Management.”
Red Light management listed above can also be found here.
MMMGT: “Specializing in re-branding, & image/brand development, every client he touches levitates, leaving their audiences craving even more. His allies include tech wiz / Grammy nominated producer/ Artist Ryan Leslie , Atlanta's ET, and Katy Perry model turned singer Richie Nuzz.”
RSG Agency: RSG Agency (RSGA) is an independent entertainment services & support agency based in Atlantis (Atlanta, GA.) The agency specializes in core entertainment development services like – DSP Merchandising, Global Distribution, Professional A&R, Merchandise & Apparel, Sponsorships, Tours & Shows and more.
Thirty Tigers: Thirty Tigers is a Nashville based entertainment company, founded in 2002 by Grammy Award-winning producer David Macias and Deb Markland. In just over a decade, Thirty Tigers has gone from two employees working out of David’s guest bedroom to thirty employees, most of whom now work out of our new home at 611 Merritt Avenue in the Wedgewood-Houston area of Nashville, Tennessee. Thirty Tigers also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina and London. Our collective experience in the music industry ranges from record retail to the film industry to major labels.
Harmon Music Management: “A native of North Carolina, Rusty Harmon began his career in the music industry 30 years ago managing Hootie & the Blowfish. The group had astounding success in its nearly 12 years under Harmon’s management tenure, selling more than 25 million records worldwide, with two number one albums, two Grammy Awards and the coveted Artist of the Year award from Billboard, World Music and Pollstar.”
Ie:music: “As the digital revolution flourishes, ie:music is propelling itself to the forefront of the emerging technology, exploring and capitalising on opportunities for its artists. The company embraces digital technology as an extraordinary facilitator of artist – fan communications, as a means of encouraging transparency and of making everything from ticketing to downloading and streaming more effective, efficient and honest.”
Boston, MA: Ralph Jaccodine Management
Miami, Florida: Valholla Entertainment
Philadelphia, PA: Full Circle
Dallas, Texas: Seaminx Artist Management
San Francisco, California: California Artsman Inc
Houston: SoSouth Music Distribution
Sydney, Australia: RMK Management Pty Ltd
Nigeria: H-One Entertainment
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