Music mentors can help you remain independent while offering expert advice to further your career and help you to grow in the music industry.
However, most unsigned musicians think they need a music manager from the outset of their career. The prospect of having someone that oversees your work is comforting. A manager is there to help you find gigs and secure contracts that let you make money.
The disadvantage of signing with a manager is that the artist signs away a lot of control in the early stages of their project. They take advantage of your naivety to dig their claws into your work. Before you know it, your manager controls everything that you do and takes a huge share of your money. There’s little you can do as you already signed a long-term contract that’s almost impossible to get out of.
Instead, many aspiring musicians are turning to music mentors. A music industry mentor can provide similar benefits as a manager but without a lot of the downsides. In fact, here are five reasons mentoring is a lot better than hiring a manager:
#1 Expert advice from someone with experience
Look at a typical music manager, then look at a typical music mentor. Can you spot the difference? Managers tend to be corporate people who are intent on making a profit. They’re business-minded but have never picked up an instrument in their life. By contrast, music mentors are people who have been there and done it. They’ve played shows, produced music, and dealt with everything you’re about to face.
As a result, you’re far better off with a mentor as they can actually provide useful advice. They can refer to personal experience to help guide you down the right path. With their honest and open advice, you can avoid some of the mistakes they made along the way. A manager rarely gives good advice – they make you do whatever makes the most money for them!
#2 Music Mentors don’t look to control your career
Music managers are keen to control every aspect of your career. They want to create your brand and present your image to everyone. Again, this is all done with the aim of making you as popular as possible. It sounds helpful, but they will often go too far in the pursuit of profits. There’s an excellent article by LA Weekly that shows ten instances where music managers screwed over their clients. One of the most interesting was Elvis’ old manager, who took home 50% of his earnings towards the end!!
A music mentor doesn’t look to gain any control for themselves. They care about your career – and they’ll help you reach your goals – but they don’t look to profit out of it. They enjoy mentoring as they want to help young musicians thrive to keep the industry alive.
#3 You’re not locked into a long-term contract
Similarly, you don’t have to enter any contracts with a music mentor. Typically, mentoring isn’t free, but it’s something you pay for as and when you need it. If you ever need some special advice before a gig, pay for a mentor to give you some words of encouragement. If you’re at a crossroads in your career, speak to a music mentor to help you think clearly about what to do.
It’s not unheard for some mentors to work for free, but most do charge set rates for consultations. Either way, you don’t have any contracts to worry about. You can find as many different mentors as you want, giving various views on your music career. A music manager makes you sign on a dotted line and stick with them until the contract is over. For some artists, this can last years!
#4 Honest feedback
A significant problem with music managers is that they tend to provide poor feedback. If you play a song for a manager, they only think about it from a profit perspective. Their thoughts are “how well will this song chart?” Rather than giving their honest opinions. This leads lots of aspiring artists down a hole where they make music that isn’t good. Well, music is subjective, but it’s not the type of music they hoped to make.
On the contrary, a music industry mentor provides honest feedback. If they think that your song sucks, they’ll tell you. We don’t want to keep repeating the s
ame point, but mentors aren’t in it to profit out of you. You keep 100% of the money you earn, so why would they lie about anything? They want you to reach your potential, so the feedback is genuine.
#5 Progress at your own pace
We’ve all seen instances where a musician has enjoyed some success, signed with a management company, and been catapulted to stardom. Most of the time, this results in some serious problems for the artist. All the fame and fortune comes at them too fast, resulting in a breakdown. This doesn’t happen to every artist with a manager, but it almost always happens because of the manager. What we mean is that managers will push stars to perform and do loads of things to get their name out there. Essentially, they want to supercharge your success as quickly as possible.
This can be very dangerous for your mental and physical health. Music Mentors understand this, which is why they let you progress at your own pace. Move your career forward as quickly or as slowly as you like. The benefit of this is that you can get accustomed to your success as it happens. You don’t go from a nobody to a star overnight – you gradually work your way up. It’s rare to find a manager with the patience to let your programs at a speed that’s appropriate to your situation.
Overall, music mentoring has a lot of massive benefits. The bottom line is that you don’t need a music manager to advance your career. You could make more money, retain your independence, and receive genuine, honest advice from a music mentor. If you’re interested in finding a mentor, The Famous Company offer a mentoring service where you can book 90-minute sessions with a music professional. Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more.