Industry - MusicNSW

Welcome to our industry related FAQs. These are Frequently Asked Questions. Got one that’s not on here? Email us.

Here is where you’ll find things on management, sync, licensing, record deals, booking shows and, well, the world.

//I’ve heard about funding – where can I get that from?

Check out our NSW Grant Guide by heading here.

//How do I write a grant?
Our friends at Regional Arts NSW have done a step by step guide. Find it here. You can also hire grant writers. Do a Google search in your local area.

//What’s a manager? How do I get one?

A manager is your key to the music industry. They’re the person who will help you navigate the music industry from labels to publishers, booking agents to publicists, and everyone in between. They’re a mix between your Mum, your best friend, and your business adviser. That said, a manager isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of self-managed artists who have enjoyed great success, and if you’re just starting out learning about the industry and managing your own affairs is highly recommended.

If you do feel like you’re at the stage where you’re ready to get a manager, the best way to go about getting one is to be active – in most cases a manager will notice and approach you, rather than the other way around. If that doesn’t seem to be working there are a couple of ways you can go about trying to find a manager. The method we like is thinking of the people around you, and finding the most organised, passionate and energetic fan of your band – it could be a friend, your cousin or just someone that you’ve met through shows. The best manager for your band is going to be your biggest (and most organised, email loving) fan – if you’re finding it tough getting someone who’s already active in the industry as a manager, go with someone you know and trust – this is how most managers start out and it means you’ll grow along with your manager, which is kinda nice, huh?

If that method isn’t up your alley, and your certain you need a manager, you can approach managers you know are working with other artists – think of the bands you like that are at your level, or where you’d like to be (be realistic!) and invite their managers along to your next show, send them your recordings, turn them into fans of your band. Then ask the question. If they say no be respectful! As with everyone in the music industry managers are usually overworked and underpaid, and even if they love your band to bits there needs to be some financial viability in working with you. Again, be realistic – if you’re earning nothing off what you’re doing the cut any manager is going to take is hardly going to be lucrative (20% of $0 is still $0…).

You can find more information on managers and management agreements over in our Music Industry Legal Pack.

//Booking a tour?
Booking a tour takes time and most importantly organisation. You need to establish where you want to go, when you want go and how much can you afford to spend on the tour. If you aren’t prepared for a tour you are asking for trouble before you begin.

It’s also important to note that there’s no point heading out on a tour if no one knows you are coming – that will result in some very expensive rehearsal time. So put your head down and plan…it’s worth it in the end. One of the aims of the tour is more than likely to play to as many people as possible and to build your fan base. A good show will bring the people back and will mean the venue will want you back – good organisation and communication will be the keys to making this happen. The MMF Music Managers Manual and Simpson’s Music Business both have great chapters on touring and are definitely worth a read for more information.

// How should I approach a venue?
When you are booking your own tours you need to make sure you thoroughly research the venues in the areas you are touring to and make sure they are appropriate for your act – there is no use approaching a venue that doesn’t suit your style of music or is too big, or even too small, for your act.

Ask other bands who have been to the area before you or bands you know in the area – this kind of networking is essential as you may find the perfect band to play with on the tour who can secure the venue that you would love to play at, but because you are from out of town or a new act, would never have been able to secure.

If you are emailing or calling a venue make sure you are clear about what you want. Don’t waffle on – venue bookers are often extremely busy and are inundated with requests from bands so don’t expect immediate responses and don’t be demanding. Be polite, be professional and most importantly know what you are talking about. The venue will need to know ‘your story’ – they will want to know what kind of music you play (have a demo ready for them), where you have played before, and how many people came. Be honest as they can find this out – there is no point saying you had five hundred people at your last gig if you really only had ten. Approach venues the size you are ready for.

If you are from out of town venue bookers will most likely expect there to be a local act on the bill so get to know the locals so you have a desirable line up for them. Some venues may like to put the line up together themselves – check with the booker as to how they like to work. It doesn’t hurt to have ideas though as it will show you know the local scene.

A demo should contain about three songs and should be a good representation of the act – any more songs will be wasted so DON’T go overboard and send everything you’ve written. The demo doesn’t have to be fully produced but must be a good quality.

//What’s a Booking Agent? When should I get one?

There will probably be a time when you are booking for yourself, however, when you are ready, a good booking agent may help you to make the most of the live scene and build up the profile for your act in the best possible way.

A booking agent is a person dedicated to booking shows for you or your band. The Australian Music Industry Directory is a good resource when you are looking for booking agents. However, a booking agent isn’t going to come on board unless they can see that there is something in it for them so you need to show them that you are worth their while. A booking agent, like a manager, should ‘get’ what you are doing and where you’re heading. Make sure you check out who they are already booking and what kind of shows those bands are getting. Also, if a booking agent’s roster is too big they may not be able to spend the time necessary to get your band shows – its important for everyone to be realistic and upfront or it won’t work for anyone. Everyone needs to be able to work together and communicate.