Getting a good manager critical to Christian music success

So, you have a band.

Perhaps you’re a talented individual.

You’re ready to venture out beyond your church or neighborhood.

Although you will certainly find a few gigs on your own, should you consider a manager?

A competent manager will not only find gigs, but he or she will promote you. They will have connections, should know local radio personnel and possess a good understanding of compensation, your specific style and genre, and your competition.

Before committing to a music career, be certain you have specific goals. Are you are content performing locally or are you seeking a long term commitment to the road? If you think you have what it takes and desire to become a national act, the game changes.

Most managers will charge from 10 to 20 percent of earnings. I don’t recommend signing a contract with a local management company. Most don’t have the connections or the knowledge to take an artist national and could ultimately hinder your long-term success.

I called the capital of the Christian music industry, Nashville, Tenn., and interviewed Andrew Patton of Patton House Entertainment. He has been involved in artist management within the Christian music industry for more than 19 years.

Andrew has worked with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty, Third Day, Jars of Clay, Johnny Lang, Randy Travis and led the team which broke Casting Crowns.

When does an artist know it’s time to seek a national management company? According to Patton, when an artist is losing out on opportunities because they are overwhelmed with booking schedules they need management and an agency.

A national management company understands and assists in all aspects of the industry. They help with touring, live performance, image, management, booking, publishing, writing, business management, record companies and production.

Patton noted three important segments to the music industry and compared it to a stool with three legs. You must have distribution, radio airplay and touring. If your stool lacks one of the three legs, you can balance on two, but it is difficult to sustain. An artist needs an understanding of the industry and a strong management company to properly navigate the complexities of a constant changing industry.

Patton offers an opportunity for serious artist with “Sessions.” It is a one-day intensive artist-focused conference to help answer questions about your musical career, intended for the independent recording artists.

Patton has a deep and broad understanding of the industry. I gained years of very practical knowledge in less than an hour of conversation. I look forward to the day he puts his knowledge into writing and highly recommend his “Sessions” conference.

Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment of Abbie Stancato’s series “So You Wanna Be a Star?” looking at the inner workings of the music business. Next week Abbie will wrap up and summarize the series.

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