Artist Management in the Music Business


Authored by Jim Horan


Course Code: OMBUS-657

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

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
  • Which Artists to Manage?
  • It’s Who You Know
  • Assignment 1: Reasons for Hiring a Manager

Lesson 2: Getting Down to Business

  • Setting Up Your Business
  • Workshop: Primary Forms of Business Organization
  • Contract or No Contract?
  • Deal Points of Management Contracts
  • How I Got Started in Artist Management: Dalton Sim
  • Protecting the Artist’s Work
  • Putting the Team Together
  • Assignment 2: Taking Care of Business

Lesson 3: Making the Music

  • It’s the Music, Stupid
  • What Direction to Take the Music
  • Recording
  • What to Do When Things Aren’t Working in the Studio
  • Final Steps for the Album
  • Assignment 3: Heading into the Studio

Lesson 4: Signing a Record Deal

  • Why Labels Still Matter
  • When to Sign with a Label
  • Choosing the Label
  • Record Contract Deal Points
  • How Managers Find Their Artists: Denise Stiff
  • Types of Deals
  • The Attorney’s Role
  • Assignment 4: Signing a Record Deal

Lesson 5: Working with the Label and Imaging the Artist

  • Record Company Departments
  • How I Got Started in Artist Management: Peter Asher
  • Why Your Artist Is Probably Not a Priority (and What You Can Do About It)
  • The Importance of Imaging and Its Effect on the Artist’s Career
  • Imaging as a Natural Extension of the Artist
  • Artist Imaging Example: Taylor Swift
  • Assignment 5: Imaging the Artist

Lesson 6: More Imaging: Photos, Artwork, Merch, and Videos

  • Photo Shoots
  • Choosing the Photos
  • How Managers Find Their Artists: Peter Asher
  • Album, EP, and Single Artwork
  • Merch and Promotional Materials
  • Video Shoots
  • Assignment 6: Cover Me

Lesson 7: Touring: Putting the Tour Together

  • Why Touring Is So Important
  • How I Got Started in Artist Management: Denise Stiff
  • Booking Agents and Promoters
  • The Artist’s Tour History
  • Types of Touring Markets
  • Routing the Tour
  • Types of Venues
  • Choosing the Venues
  • Assignment 7: Planning the Tour

Lesson 8: Touring: Booking the Shows and Hitting the Road

  • Booking the Shows
  • Tour Budgets
  • Tour Support
  • Hitting the Road: Tour Personnel
  • Tour Itineraries, Tour Books, and Day Sheets
  • Why Ticket Sales Mean So Much
  • Guest Lists and Artist Comps
  • Assignment 8: The Trees Hit the Road

Lesson 9: Building (and Maintaining) the Fan Base

  • The Fans Are Everything
  • Putting the Fans First
  • The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads
  • Building the Fan Base through Touring
  • Mailing Lists and Social Media
  • Maintaining the Fan Base
  • Assignment 9: Building the Fan Base through Touring

Lesson 10: Marketing the Artist

  • Who Is the Audience?
  • Examining the Data
  • Creating Demand: Publicity
  • Creating Demand: Radio
  • Creating Demand: Licensing
  • Creating Demand: Videos
  • Creating Demand: Playlists
  • Creating Demand: Social Media
  • Creating Demand: Advertising
  • Creating Demand: Conferences
  • When to Say No to Promotional Opportunities
  • Assignment 10: The Trees in NYC

Lesson 11: More Marketing, Plus Never Forget to Always Remember to Get the Money

  • Crafting the Story
  • Positioning the Artist
  • What’s It All About, Alfie?
  • Money (That’s What I Want)
  • How Artists Make Money
  • Royalties
  • Licensing
  • How I Got Started in Artist Management: Zach Quillen
  • Publishing Companies
  • Publishing Deals
  • When to Sign a Publishing Deal
  • Other Sources of Revenue
  • Assignment 11: Where the Money Is

Lesson 12: Working with the Artist

  • What Artists Are Like
  • Under Pressure
  • Why Artists Aren’t Usually Good at Both Music and Business
  • What Working with Artists Is Like
  • The Manager as Therapist
  • Setting Goals and Managing Expectations
  • Separating from Clients


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. 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
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Jim Horan

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 the completion of these related programs:

Related Degree Majors


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