My Path To Managing The Oats

Posted: July 4, 2012 in About Me, Advice, Bands I Like, New York, Promotion
Tags: , , , ,

When I announced that I’m now managing a band in NYC on Sunday, some people (okay one person, I’m not exactly big time here) were curious about the events that led to that decision. Here I’ll tell the tale of how I came to manage them, from first meeting to now, with a sprinkle of advice thrown in (you know how I do).

NMS and Determined Networking

A few weeks ago, I attended the New Music Seminar at Webster Hall and posted about it here. What I didn’t mention was the band from Mexico that I met on the first night, the opening concert.

Before the show, there was a “red carpet” of sorts for all the media to take pictures and do quick interviews. I only had my iPhone so I was mostly there to see who was at the concert and hopefully learn a little more about the seminar. There were a couple bands that walked through that had the potential to play my preferred genre of music, one of which was The Oats.

I am not the most social person. Every outing takes a good deal of energy from me and I have to force myself to walk up to new people and start a conversation. But that’s exactly what I did. The first band did NOT seem interested in what I had to say…they replied with obligation and gave me their card, but they clearly had better people to talk to. Refusing to be deterred, I walked up to the next band in the hopes of, at the very least, getting their information and finding some new music. I didn’t realize I was starting a friendship and a partnership.

The Oats were very enthusiastic about meeting new people (my friend was with me) and we talked for a bit about their sound (The Pixies, The Strokes, The Libertines), their story, and my aspirations in the music business. We exchanged information and went our separate ways.

Networking Tips (Trust me, I know this shit. Thanks Google!):

  • Be Confident – If you don’t believe you’re an interesting person to talk to, no one else will either, and they’ll quickly run the other way
  • Have A Conversation Starter – With those bands, I opened by confirming their band name and inquiring about the genre of music they play. It can be anything from complimenting an article of clothing to asking about their position in the music industry.
  • Focus On Them – People love talking about themselves
  • Get Their Contact Info – Ask for a card, a number, or an email, and make sure not to lose it!
  • Follow Up – Send a quick email saying how great it was to meet them and include an open-ended suggestion to meet or work together

Follow-Up and A Show At Public Assembly

After the New Music Seminar ended, and I actually had some free time again, I sent out a follow-up email saying I liked their music and asking for a list of show dates. Of course, they added me to their mailing list (good move guys) and sent me a free download (and again!) along with their calendar. Naturally, I went to their next show, which was at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. At 8pm on a Sunday. What I’m saying is there weren’t many people there.

Despite the small crowd, The Oats rocked it and made the perfect self-deprecating joke, without making it awkward. They also enlisted the help of a rubber chicken to ask for emails from the audience. I was really starting to like this band.

After the show, my friends and I invited them to hang out back at our place, have a beer, and play some music (as we’re wont to do..). Even with their Mexican accents (meaning language barrier), they fit in with us Berklee kids. Musicians gotta stick together, you know?

The Rest Is History

But I’ll tell you about it anyway. We started hanging out more regularly, talking about their time in Toronto and how the radio stations in Mexico don’t like bands that sing in English, and I just became determined to help them build a fan base here in NYC. I checked out their online presence, gave them a few tips, and promoted shows through my social media profiles. Then, I got them a gig in Boston (THIS FRIDAY AT MACHINE). Occasionally, they’d mention they were looking for a manager, but, seeing as I don’t have any experience, I was resistant to offering my services (I was scared shitless that I’d mess it up).

But, after talking about my experiences with my internships and previous concert planning and promotion, along with all the help I’d offered them and my enthusiasm for their music, they asked me to be their manager. And, as you know, I said yes.

Sign Your First Band (Advice For Aspiring Managers)

  • Go to ALL THE SHOWS
  • Find a small band or two that you really believe in, based on their music and their dedication
  • Introduce yourself as a person interested in music business – and their band (don’t mention management yet!)
  • Prove Yourself – Because you lack the experience, you have to help them before bringing up management…give advice, help with promotion, book them a gig, whatever is in your capabilities to do
  • Mention that you’re interested in managing bands, if they seem interested, talk about how you would help them and let them know that if they need a manager, you would be glad to help
  • Wait – there isn’t much you can do after this without the risk of seeming desperate, so let them think it over and if they bring it up again, you’re golden

So now we’re in the development stages of this collaboration. We made a contract (always do this – ALWAYS), set some goals and guidelines, and are working non-stop to make it all happen.

Sometimes it all feels like a dream. Two years ago, I never would have believed I would be where I am now, or would have gained so much knowledge and so many connections. It’s a surreal feeling living your dream (forgive the expression). I wish everyone had the chance to be in my position, and that’s why I write this blog. I want to share my experiences from my pursuit of success in the music business, and I want those experiences to help as many people as possible, although even just one would make me happy.

If you want to see The Oats play live today at 4pm, check them out via uStream on Rew & Who!

Have a wonderful 4th of July everyone!

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Comments
  1. Dan Brown says:

    Kayleigh kickin’ ass and takin’ names, FTW. thnks for elaborating 🙂

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