I am frequently asked by people “How would I become an agent, manager, or tour manager for an artist?” My honest answer is that you can’t just walk in and start that role successfully with no background. One of the first things I learned when entering the music industry was that you really can’t go to school for this. It takes time to learn the do’s and don’t’s, and what you can truly do to benefit an artist or your client relationships. There are many different sides you can come in from, but companies will want to see some experience under your belt – that could be work experience with labels, A&R, promotions, festival operations, etc. Understanding this process from the ground up is truly how you are able to land these jobs.
In my own experience working in the operations role, I’ve learned valuable skills that are necessary for success in this business, including the importance of being flexible, patient, and creative. I have had to work around changes for shows that are unexpected, and everchanging. Learning these skills and using them to push through obstacles prepared me for what is to be expected in a role where things don’t always go your way. This industry is challenging and you should be prepared for a lot of responses from people being “no”. I’ve learned that keeping a positive attitude and putting your best foot forward will be critical to achieving the career goals you’ve created for yourself.
While there are several differences between an operations role and an agent role, I believe the experience of handling all of the extra details for pulling off a gig or tour will give me a competitive edge in this new realm. I know how to navigate the gray areas and I am familiar with the process of what an agent needs to do in order to expand an artist’s presence in current and new markets.
I encourage people who are interested in getting into this industry to take music-related jobs and or internships that fit something you are interested in. Looking at the bigger picture is really important. You won’t always be able to start where you want to, but the current role you hold is not where you have to stay forever. It’s just a stepping stone to get you where you want to be. The operations role got me to the next step on my ladder. Where is yours getting you?
Meet the rest of the SGM team here!