Artist Management

Author: George Howard   •   Course Code: OMBUS-235

Behind the scenes of any great artist is a great manager working to create a great brand. This course explores the role and importance of an artist manager, what they do, and how they impact the career of the artist and their brand. The course begins with the basics: why an artist needs a manager, the keys to finding the right partner, and a typical management contract. From there, you'll cover the details of planning an artist's career, money management, and what to do when things go wrong. You'll also examine the principles of leadership dynamics and motivation in order to focus and empower current and potential managers.

Upon successful completion of this course, aspiring managers will have the tools to embark on managing artists' careers, and artists will better understand the critical importance of choosing the right manager, what they do, and how it will impact their potential and career. This course is designed to help those interested in a career in artist management, current managers attempting to improve and grow their business, self-managed artists who want to take control of their careers, record label owners looking to improve their effectiveness in dealing with their artist managers, and anyone passionate about music seeking to gain entrée into the business.

The course also contains detailed information and first hand accounts from managers who have represented artists such as:

Liz Phair, J.J. Cale, Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, Throwing Muses / Kristen Hersh, John Hiatt, Motion City Soundtracks and Boston

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Implement key methods for success in management, whether you are interested in managing other artists or are a self-managed artist
  • Create innovative, values-based strategic plans to increase the chances of success for the artists with whom you work
  • Understand the important contractual and financial documents required in artist management
  • Identify artists at various stages of their careers who are good candidates for your management venture
  • Present concrete strategies to your artists in order to help accelerate their growth
  • Utilize your strategic core document—which you will create in the course—to guide you to success in the management field

Lesson 1: Artist Management Basics

  • The Artist as a Brand
  • What Is an Artist Manager and What Do They Do?
  • Why an Artist Needs a Good Manager and When They Need One
  • Being Your Own Manager
  • Artist/Manager Relationship
  • Creating Success

Lesson 2: Finding the Right Partner

  • Mutual Goals
  • Trust, Understanding, and Communication
  • Artist Perspective
  • Manager Perspective

Lesson 3: The Management Contract

  • Term
  • Money Flow
  • Variables
  • Contract Forms and Issues
  • Post-Term Considerations

Lesson 4: Building a Musician Business

  • You Don't Need a Manager If You Don't Want to Make Money
  • Business Entities—Sole Proprietor, Partnerships, Corporations
  • Building a Team
  • Principals of Good Business Management

Lesson 5: Making Money in Music (Quick Overview)

  • Licensing
  • Touring/Performing/Merchandise
  • Recording/Distribution

Lesson 6: Harnessing Technology Across the Musician Business

  • Aligning Technology with Your Core Principles
  • The Brave New World
  • Leveraging New Technology to Expand Your Marketing Strategy

Lesson 7: Planning an Artist's Career

  • Assessing the Artist
  • The Artist Brand
  • Creating a Strategy
  • Setting Milestones
  • Budgeting
  • The Plan

Lesson 8: Launching and Developing an Artist

  • Creating a Culture of Discipline to Successfully Launch and Develop an Artist
  • Passion and Innovation: The Secret ingredients in Artist Development
  • Strategic Concepts to Launch and Develop an Artist

Lesson 9: Marketing and Publicity

  • Why the Manager Is the Chief Marketing Officer
  • Branding the Artist
  • Connecting with Fans
  • Leveraging Your Partners
  • Sponsorships, Joint Ventures, Partnerships
  • Creative Self-Promotion

Lesson 10: Money Management

  • Business Management
  • Finance Basics
  • Secrets to Getting Paid
  • Keeping Your Money

Lesson 11: What to Do When Things Go Wrong and How to Avoid Problems

  • Potential Conflicts in the Business and What Can Be Done
  • Case Studies

Lesson 12: Evaluating Team Progress

  • Measuring Success and Progress/Milestones
  • Coping with Success
  • Artist/Manager Relationship Over Time
  • Checklist for a Successful Relationship

George Howard

Author & Instructor

George Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music.

Additionally, Mr. Howard is the COO of Norton, LLC, the parent company of Wolfgang's Vault, Daytrotter, Concert Vault, and Paste Magazine. Mr. Howard managed the Grammy and Oscar winning singer/songwriter, Carly Simon, and advised Grammy and Emmy winning composer, Mark Isham.

Via his consulting firm, Mr. Howard has advised companies from the Fortune 500 (CVS/pharmacy), the Ivy League (Brown University), and the not-for-profit sector (Easter Seals) on strategy and technology.

Mr. Howard was one of the original founders of TuneCore (currently the world's largest distributor of music), and was the president of Rykodisc, which, at the time, was the world's largest independent label. Mr. Howard holds an MBA, a MA, and a JD (law degree). He lives with his wife and two children in Marblehead, MA, and Martha's Vineyard.

George has written a number of books on the music industry, including Getting Signed! An Insider's Guide to the Record Industry (Berklee Press) and Music Publishing 101 (Berklee Press).


None required

Required Textbooks

Getting Signed! An Insider's Guide to the Record Industry by George Howard (a downloadable copy will be provided within the course)

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Software Requirements

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphone
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition

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