What's in It for Me? Pitching for Management and the 3 Questions Every Artist Should Expect
What separates an amateur musician from a serious one? Representation, of course, so pitching for management endorsement should be the next step if you want to take your project to the next level. You already know what the industry has on offer for you, but now companies will ask themselves the same thing.
So, if you want to nail that interview (or reopen doors that were shut in your face), you must know how to reply to the industry’s three most essential questions.
What Is Your Social Media Reach and Presence?
Your status in the social media world can define your status in the music industry. Simply put, there is way too much music out there, and if you don’t stand out, you will be overlooked.
When pitching for management, you’ll quickly notice that companies and the like are particularly interested in your social media status for a big reason: marketing goods and services.
Internet killed the sale of physical albums, yes, but in return, it gave bands the power to directly engage with “customers” without the need of a corporate middleman. For example, with crowdfunding, which proved particularly successful because artists are not just interacting with fans, but actually involving them in the creation of music.
Musicians also now have a much broader range of tools at their disposal for selling and distributing various types of merchandise, but this is only useful if they have a strong social media presence.
Take it from Jeff Bull Jr, “People still seem to assume that bands can’t take cards, so unless they know upfront that we take cards, we will probably do 80% cash, and 20% card if they know that we take card, it’s probably like 30% cash, 70% card”.
Of course, for all good, there is bad, and the most significant issue of social media’s place within music is that it turns musicians into marketers, which is a recipe not always set up for success.
So when they ask you how your social media presence is going, be prepared to give them facts and numbers, possibly even in the shape of an excel sheet, tracking the social media reach of your posts, hashtags, accounts and events.
“Whether you are looking to expand your career with new equipment, investing into a tour, hiring a publicist, or deciding whether or not to play a show, no one can answer the question of worth for you. However, if you don’t have your own metrics, how can you even answer that for yourself?”- Simon Tam
What's the Potential ROI for the Company?
When you start a record campaign, your label lays out Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to evaluate a campaign’s success or failure, which govern whether your project continues to be funded or phased out. In essence, it affects when/where to tour, how much merchandise to order, whether or not you should submit to a record label, and if you should accept that SXSW invitation or not).
ROI is one of these key indicators, so even if you don’t want to, you’re going to have to get a bit mathematical when you’re pitching for management.
How you plan to measure ROI is an individual choice, mostly dependent on your goals.
When you ask for representation, you ask for a lot of time and money to be devoted to making your career take off. Companies need to know that their investment will actually be worth it.
Much like measuring your social media presence, keeping track of your ROI not only gives management companies an idea of the context of your marketing plan, but it also shows them where your weaknesses lie, and if it will be in their best economical interest to help you fix them.
What Income Can You Generated from Music?
So you want to take your project to the next level by pitching for management.
Great, except that to devote all of your time to your dream, you’ll probably have to quit your day job. This leaves you with no source of income.
Cue the investors.
“When you’re looking for investors in your music business, it’s important to remember that in exchange for the cash, you’ll be giving up a chunk of your business, some of your autonomy, or both,” says Heather McDonald.
The good news is that music royalties represent an attractive new investment opportunity for both institutional companies and private individuals, and when pitching for management, it’s good to keep this in mind.
The bad news is that the law is a tricky business.
An artist investment agreement essentially involves taking a leap of faith from both artists and investor. Before even giving you their consideration, management companies will want to know how much you want them to invest, the rate of return, the cap of return, ad how they will recoup this investment (among other things).
If you want to attract investors, you must become an investor yourself. Invest in learning about the business side of music, about the basics of each field, and invest in building meaningful music business relationships.
And, when it comes to legalities, consider consulting an attorney regarding the formation of the corporate entity. In other words, get yourself a lawyer so the agreement is well-drafted, to protect your interests and help structure a deal that is fair to both parties.
There are no guarantees in the music business, but if you don’t spend time, energy, and money into building your career, why should anybody else? When drafting your elevator pitch, preparation is key. If you show that you know the ins and outs of your business better than anybody else, and have the facts to back it up, you’re already way ahead of the game.