Artist Management in the Music Business


Authored by Jim Horan


Course Code: OMBUS-657

Next term starts January 13, 2020

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


This course is an in-depth exploration of the strategy behind effective artist management. Through case-scenario analysis, you will learn the key ingredients for successful artist management/artist relationships, in addition to approaches for growing and sustaining artists' careers. Underpinning this work is effective brand management and the development of the artists and their fan bases. You will also learn how and when to build out artists' teams and how to leverage financing opportunities, such as crowdfunding, to jump start new projects. It is exceedingly rare that artists have a single income stream, so artist managers must be versed in all aspects of the industry to exploit opportunities that align with their artists' goals. The course positions students to identify and leverage potential opportunities, while nurturing industry relationships and negotiating the most favorable outcomes for artists.

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

  • Create innovative, multi-dimensional plans to increase the chances of success for the artists with whom you work
  • Execute effective strategies for brand management and cultivating fan bases
  • Leverage opportunities in touring, recording, licensing, merchandising, and sponsorships that align with artists' goals 
  • Devise strategies for financing and making connections that support artists' sustainability
  • Build an effective team that coordinates and supports artists' careers
  • Evaluate important contractual and financial documents required in artist management and help negotiate the most favorable terms for artists
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: What is Artist Management?

  • What Does an Artist Manager Do?
  • Why Artists Will Always Need Managers
  • The Night Life Ain’t No Good Life, but It’s My Life
  • Artist Manager Types
  • Which Artists to Manage?
  • It’s All Who You Know
  • Assignment 1: Case Scenario - Offering Artist Management Services

Lesson 2: Getting Down to Business

  • Setting up the Business
  • Contract or No Contract?
  • Deal Points of Management Contracts
  • Protecting the Artist’s Work
  • Putting the Team Together
  • Assignment 2: Case Scenario - First Steps After Becoming a Manager

Lesson 3: Making the Music

  • It’s about the Music, Stupid
  • What Direction (Musically) to Take the Album In
  • Recording Budgets
  • Producers, Mixers, Mastering Engineers, and Studios
  • What to Do When Things Aren’t Working
  • Album Parts
  • Assignment 3: Case Scenario - Making a “Real” Album

Lesson 4: Signing a Record Deal and Working with the Label

  • When to Sign a Deal, and Why Labels Still Matter
  • Choosing the Label
  • Types of Deals
  • Record Deal Points
  • The Attorney’s Role
  • Record Company Departments
  • Day-to-Day Dealings with the Label
  • Assignment 4: Case Scenario - Signing a Record Deal

Lesson 5: Imaging the Band

  • The Importance of Imaging and Its Effect on the Artist’s Career
  • Photo Shoots
  • Choosing Publicity Photos
  • Artwork for Albums, Singles, and Promotional Materials
  • Merchandise
  • Video Shoots
  • Imaging the Artist’s Website and Social Media
  • Assignment 5: An Effective Imaging Campaign

Lesson 6: Touring: Putting the Tour Together

  • Why Touring Is So Important
  • Booking Agents (Domestic and International)
  • Where to Play?
  • Booking the Shows
  • Tour Packaging
  • Tour Budgets
  • Assignment 6: Case Scenario - Hiring a Booking Agent

Lesson 7: Touring: Hitting the Road

  • Tour Personnel
  • Tour Itineraries, Tour Books, and Day Sheets
  • Why Ticket Sales Matter
  • Promoters—Local and National, Indie and Corporate
  • Promoting the Shows
  • Day of Show
  • Guest Lists and Artist Comps
  • Assignment 7: Case Scenario - First National Tour

Lesson 8: Building (and Maintaining) the Fan Base

  • The Fans Are Everything
  • The Importance of Email Lists and Email Blasts
  • Keeping the Website Fresh and Up-to-Date
  • Wikipedia
  • Artist-Fan Interaction on Social Media
  • Assignment 8: Case Scenario - Social Media or Not

Lesson 9: Selling the Artist

  • Who Is the Audience?
  • Examine the Data
  • Crafting the Story
  • Positioning the Artist
  • Creating Demand
  • Music Conferences
  • Special Events and How They Can Help the Promotional Campaign
  • How Long Should the Campaign Last?
  • Assignment 9: Case Scenario - Selling the Album

Lesson 10: Always Remember to Never Forget to Get the Money

  • Where the Money Is
  • Publishing Deals
  • Royalties
  • Crowdfunding Campaigns
  • Touring
  • Merchandising
  • Licensing
  • Record Advances
  • Sponsorships
  • Working with the Business Manager
  • Assignment 10: Case Scenario - Getting the Money

Lesson 11: Working with the Artist

  • What the Artist-Manager Relationship Is Like
  • Bands vs. Solo Artists
  • Managing Expectations
  • Help Me Help You . . .
  • Keeping the Artist and the Artist’s Team Motivated
  • Intra-Band Dynamics
  • Coaching Artists
  • How Many Clients Should Managers Have?
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
  • Getting Fired
  • Assignment 11: Case Scenario - Managing Under Pressure

Lesson 12: Profiles of Artist Managers

  • Colonel Tom Parker
  • Brian Epstein
  • Andrew Loog Oldham
  • Albert Grossman
  • Peter Grant
  • David Geffen
  • Jerry Weintraub
  • Irving Azoff
  • Jon Landau
  • Peter Asher
  • Shep Gordon
  • Gary Borman
  • Dalton Sim
  • Scooter Braun


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Required Textbook(s)

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact for any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in live chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of  Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software (available in the course when joining your first chat)
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal Microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection



Author & Instructor

Jim Horan has over 20 years of experience in the music business as a record company executive, artist manager, consultant, and musician. He began his career at Rounder Records, one of the most revered independent labels in the country, where he rose to become the company’s Vice-President and General Manager while working with artists such as Robert Plant, Gregg Allman, Steve Martin, John Mellencamp, Rush, Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff, and The Jayhawks. He has managed artists including the GRAMMY-nominated Americana band Della Mae and the acclaimed indie folk artist Marissa Nadler, and he serves as a consultant for domestic and international artists. He is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has been performing for over 25 years, most recently with the Boston-based country rock band, Georgia Overdrive. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Connecticut.

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Artist Management in the Music Business can be applied towards these associated programs:

Associated Degree Major


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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