The process of clearing music for synchronization used to be so much easier for music supervisors: call the music publisher, negotiate the fees, sign the contracts and job done! Today, there are so many more boxes to tick. One estimate is that there are around 56 (not all applicable to every enquiry) on the licensing checklist of any good music supervisor. So with play-out dates looming it’s often easy to forget that behind every track is someone who wrote it and or performed it – someone who may not support the creative appropriation of their music. In order to secure the relevant clearances and permissions, it’s often the relationship between the artist’s management and the artist that is critical in this process.

This got us thinking about the whole artist-management relationship. Why do some managers make instant decisions and why do others have to defer to their artists on everything that comes onto the desk? So when we at soundlounge hear, “You will have to speak to management” we start to ask ourselves questions like: “What do we know about this manager? Is their decision likely to be financial or career-driven? What do we know about the artist in relation to the product?

The truth is that the relationship between an artist and his/her manager is truly a personal one – almost like a love affair. If the chemistry is right then the trust grows and if the trust is there, then the ability to make the right decisions on behalf of their artists is a given. Some of the most successful bands have been based on a strong relationship between the manager and their artist; Albert Grossman/Bob Dylan,  Col Tom Parker/Elvis,  Paul McGuinness/U2 and Brian Epstein/The Beatles. These guys stayed the course with their bands/artists taking them from unknown club or pub acts to international, some for over 30 years. However, that was it an era that threw people who were passionate about the music together that provided the relationship with opportunities to grow up together, learn together and earn together – today an artist has different options.

As we all know that revenue from traditional music sales is diminishing, today an artist needs to rely on more non-traditional sources such as: merchandising, public performances, sponsorships, endorsements and most critically – synchronization. The web enables an artist to take a DIY approach for longer, with youtube providing the substitute for the manager’s role of booking of endless nights gigging and touring. He/she can produce and release material without the need for management to present to record companies. Today Managers come onto the scene way later in the development of an artist’s career, but when they do become involved, their role is clearly becoming a pivotal one.

But what qualifications do you need and can you learn the skills in the classroom, or is being the best mate of a band always a better option?  If you want to work in the music industry, but aren’t necessarily a musician, then studying management, marketing, and the legal aspects of “closing the deal” in SAE’s Music Business Programme might be the choice for you.