Art Of...

The Art of Music Management: An Exclusive Insight from Marley McFarlane

ATLANTA, Ga – Managing artists is quite possibly one of the most difficult, yet rewarding sides of the music industry.  As an advocate for everything artistic and creative, I’ve compiled this list of successful management tips from my sit-down with Marley McFarlane, founder of Take Over Management.

We have all heard of the struggles of artist management, but how do you overcome them?  Below Marley McFarlane and I have identified the key elements of building a successful music empire from a management standpoint.

Choosing the Right Artist(s)

The artists you choose to market and manage are much like the company and crowd that you keep around yourself.  If you are doing 100% of the business and creative sides of the music industry as a manager, your artists often times don’t have the drive to make it to the top.  The artist should never have to manage themselves, but in the same regard the manager or management cannot be making ALL of the creative decisions.  A healthy balance of both is what will ultimately lead to success in music management.  As you will read below the roles of both the artist and the manager must stay separate, but both are necessary for the formula for success.

Respecting The Role(s) of Management

The manager and/or management team is essential to the success of an artist trying to break into the music industry.  The management is responsible for artist performances, booking, marketing, budgeting, travel, and much more.  With all of these responsibilities in place for an effective manager or team, the artist must be able to allow the decision making process to be done professionally and not emotionally (as some artists are very protective over their work).  Keep in mind, you don’t hire someone to have yourself do the job for them:  this is very typical in the music industry and can lead to very big issues down the road.  The artist also needs to be conducive to constructive criticism from management, whether creatively, strategically or financially as we will get into next.

Financial Backing

Finance!  Finance!  Finance!  The three most important words for any success management situation.  Without the financial backing or funding to truly and effectively manage and market an artist, you run the risk of underachieving and missing the critical window of growth needed as an artist is “breaking”.  A great example would be an up and coming artist that has a break out single, but never planned for a possible upcoming tour.  In these situations often times a major label with swoop in and back the project (for a cut of your $$$) for either a single or promotional deal.  Even in these circumstances, unless the deal is a 360 deal (which seems to be less than optimal these days), the artist and management is still responsible for some if not the majority financial obligations.

Contracts & Lawyers

Contracts and the legal aspect of the music industry are often overlooked and under-planned.  This may be the most important and critical components of management, and without the legal backing or the right contracts a successful campaign and artist can easily be “Swept under the rug” or taken advantage of, specifically regarding a label getting involved.  At the bare minimum having an entertainment lawyer on retainer or in your pocket is an absolute must!  As the revenue from the management increases, this is one of the most important areas to keep well prepped, and when it comes to legal:  you can never be TOO PROACTIVE!

Mentorship & Partnerships

Mentorship and Partnerships typically involve keeping a well established network of individuals, including other managers in order to learn the tricks of the trade.  Where a hip-hop / R&B manager may have an in to a certain market, the manager of a pop artist could actually break the record in a symmetrical, yet separate fashion.  For example, many major label artists such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Ludacris, etc have multiple verticals (genres) and sometimes multiple records in rotation across more than one marketing stream.  This is where relationships and partnerships can be incredibly powerful in breaking a record and breaking an artist.

Signed, Rick Jeffries


For more information about Marley McFarlane and Take Over Management please visit the following links:




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Written by
Rick Jeffries

From Fortune 500 brands to startup entrepreneurs around the world, Rick Jeffries brings a fresh new approach to marketing and internet strategy.

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