Though the kind of representation that you choose depends on your individual situation, I contend that most beatmakers/producers only need a lawyer, and at times a beat broker, but NOT a producer manager. Beatmakers/producers are already self-contained and usually very organized. We are not like other recording artists; that is, our careers depend primarily on servicing the musical needs of other recording artists rather than performing ourselves. Furthermore, given the nature of the general openness of the beat shopping process itself, it’s not terribly important who gets your beats into the hands of decision makers. In fact, increasingly, recording artists are accepting beat/instrumental submissions through other outlets, namely email, social networking sites, and national contests.
Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that once you sign with a producer manager, they are entitled to a 20% cut of all the music-related revenue you earn. And typically, the representation period will last for two years or more. All this for essentially doing exactly what a beat broker could do for a much cheaper rate and a less restrictive representation period? That being said however, I think that as your career grows, and as you become a more sizeable figure in the recording industry, then it may indeed be not only advantageous but necessary for you to get a manager, mainly because you will be eligible for opportunities outside of selling beats to other recording artists.
But in regards to just starting out, well, the decision to get a manager can go both ways. Here, it’s important to point out that hip hop-rap beatmaking/production is a relatively new and rather unique phenomenon in the recording industry. And as such, many recording artists are still trying to navigate their way through the current model of obtaining beats. Moreover, because of the aforementioned solitary factor of the hip hop-rap beatmaking/production craft itself, beatmakers/producers do not typically need the guidance of a producer manager. Though a producer manager can help a beatmaker/producer gain exposure early on, it’s important to remember that once a beatmaker/producer is established on any significant level, the task of successfully shopping their beats themselves actually becomes rather easy. In fact, should you reach a point of acclaim, people interested in your brand of beats will often reach out to you. As beatmaker/producer DJ Premier told me, “Christina Aguilera was the one to reach out.” So if you’re a beatmaker/producer just starting out, the question of whether or not to go with a producer manager is really a question of exposure. If you feel that the exposure a producer manger can get you is above and beyond what a beat broker can provide, then getting a producer manager might be the way to go. Just make sure that the producer manager’s responsibilities and obligations are well-defined in writing. It’s also a good idea to include benchmarks (set goals) within the language of any agreement that you enter into with a producer manager. But before you actually commit to an agreement with a producer manager, remember this: savvy beat brokers are more likely to go to better industry parties than producer managers.
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