For Alfie Boe fans, this is a hot topic at the moment; Alfie and his management company, Brilliant! have gone their separate ways and we are waiting to find out who the new manager will be. Although Alfie and Neil (Ferris) have had a great working relationship for the past eight years and we will be sad to see him go, it will be interesting to see what the new management does.
In a recent blog, I asked you for your questions for the new manager and the areas of concern seem largely to be based on fans location: US fans would generally like to know more about promotional opportunities there while fans elsewhere have a wider range of questions. Watch this space for a more detailed analysis.
In the meantime, this seems a perfect opportunity to ask what a music manager actually does.
So, the role of a music manager is basically to bring together the people and projects which meet the goals of the artist and their record company. That could be anything from generating a top 10 hit or booking gigs. In whatever you do, you need to be organised, have excellent people skills and a good understanding of the modern music industry as you have to co-ordinate all aspects of the project, work with individuals and organisations such as event promoters, publicity agents and talent-booking agencies – as well as the artists and record labels you represent. The manager is responsible for ensuring that the various projects run smoothly and deadlines are met. At all times, the end target and goals must be kept in mind as each individual party will only be worried about their allotted task. The manager will have to bring all the loose threads together in order to make sure the artist’s needs are met.
If the artist is signed to a record label, the manager needs to keep in mind what the label wants to achieve for the musician. In order to achieve success, the manager needs to have a thorough understanding of the field that the artist represents. When Neil first became Alfie’s manager, he didn’t know much about opera (the field in which Alfie was then working) and he and Alfie embarked on a quick learning curve. However, Neil had worked in the music industry for a long time, has great contacts and was thoroughly conversant with the way record labels work. Having said that, there were still huge struggles to get Alfie signed to a record label after his EMI contract fell through. It took the phenomenal success of the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert to get Alfie noticed and signed by Decca.
Just in case you were wondering, I did ask Neil for an interview about this very subject but he declined (whilst sending his thanks for all the good wishes sent his way). Hope this sheds some light on the role of a music manager and look out for your questions for the new manager…”soon”.