In June 2024, we published the third part of our Managing Expectations series.

Following a previous focus on evolving business models in music management (2019) and the role of producer & songwriter managers (2021), 2024’s report – the Workforce Edition – explores the experiences of management companies in scaling up, employing staff and freelancers and expanding their operations.

Alongside results of an extensive survey of 176 MMF members, the publication features exclusive interviews with a range of prominent UK managers, alongside a step-by-step tool kit of tips and advice about building a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable business.

The MMF has drawn four cross-sector recommendations from the research:

The MMF: must continue to provide support to our membership, helping them to build their skills and knowledge through our education and professional development programmes.

MMF members: should continue to invest in training and development for their staff (such as MMF’s Essentials of Music Management course and PPL/PRS registration webinars). They could also consider offering part-time work options and explore innovative financing models.

Industry bodies: should advocate for better industry practices such as timely payments, standard contracts and stronger support for parents, carers and those on maternity leave, particularly freelancers.

Government: should provide increased support for practical apprenticeships and training programmes in skills relating to music management

Download the 2024 report

In December 2021, we published the second part of our Managing Expectations series, focussing this time on producer and songwriter management. The new edition comes at a time of intense focus around this specific sector of the business – including ongoing debates around streaming revenue splits for songwriters, the rise of new-generation publishing companies, the investment boom in audio-visual content, or the growing recognition by financial markets of song catalogues as an “asset class”. Read more here.

The report concludes with four key recommendations:

For the MMF to further support the diversification of skills development for songwriter / producer management, and increase advocacy for their contribution.

For industry partners (especially labels and music publishers) to sign up to the Government’s Prompt Payment Code aimed at supporting the sustainability of small businesses and freelancers.

For wider support of streaming market reforms – including an overhaul of “black box/unallocated” distributions and to dismantle cumbersome so-called “royalty chains” that diminish songwriter and producer payments.

To work with members of the Council of Music Makers to promote greater business sustainability, especially around issues of wealth management, financial planning and pensions.

Download the 2021 report

Our 2019 report ‘Managing Expectations’ is underpinned by a survey of more than 180 music managers as well as in-depth interviews conducted by Music Ally’s Eamonn Forde with managers representing acts including The 1975, Gorillaz, Mumford & Sons, Robbie Williams, J Hus, Little Simz, Nick Cave, The xx, Blue Lab Beats, Two Door Cinema Club and Bill Ryder-Jones.

In detail, it examines how managers support talent development, their relationships with record labels, the diverse and expanding skills set they require, the challenges around mental health, and the evolving commercial models between music managers and both their creative clients and industry partners.

Other key survey findings include:

The improving diversity of music management: Reflecting wider changes in the MMF’s membership, 42% of survey respondents identified as female, while 20% were non-white. Their client base is also increasingly diverse with 73% representing artists, 42% representing songwriters, 33% representing producers, and 17% representing DJs.

Managers do not operate in a silo: While the majority of music managers assume responsibility for their clients’ recorded and publishing-related businesses, a significant number also oversee social media (76%), PR and promotion (65%), tour management (57%), bookkeeping (48%) and legal services (23%).

Managers are established first-stage investors: Artists, songwriters and producers are increasingly reliant on direct financial backing from their management, particularly in early stage development. 74% of respondents claimed to have invested their own money into current client’s careers. 35% used personal savings, while 40% have received no outside investment.

Live music represents the most significant revenue stream: Followed by recorded/publishing advances, PRS royalties, streaming payments and PPL royalties.

Concerns remain over the commercial sustainability of music management businesses: 26% of respondents work full-time of part-time in another part of the music business – and while 25% earn more than the national average, 56% earn less than £10k per annum from music management, and 21% earn nothing at all.

Drawn from these findings, the MMF have identified five potential barriers that may prevent music managers and their clients from reaching their potential:

Download the 2019 report
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