So you want to be a band manager?

Adam Wilkinson is one of the people to thank for bringing 5 seconds of summer to the music world. He discovered them many years ago when they were all just young teenage boys and helped mould them into the band they're today. But how did he get to that stage?  If you have any interest in working in the music industry specifically as an Artist/Band manager then this interview is just for you!

For those who don't know what does the job of a band manager actually entail?

This is always the hardest question to ask. It entails everything. You're a business manager essentially, running your own business as well as your clients (bands) businesses. You do a lot of legal work, accounting work, you're shaping and influencing your clients creative direction, listening to demos in the studio, touring with your clients, employing tour managers, lighting directors, graphic designers and you're pretty much a psychologist to your clients. It's a tough gig but very rewarding. 

How did you get into your line of work? (study or experience etc.)

I've been working in the entertainment industry since I was 16. I started out creating a small promotions and marketing company in Sydney. From there I progressed to setting up an internship recruitment program for people who wanted to get into the entertainment industry. I began doing a few internships with band management companies, which lead onto working on touring music festivals in an artist liaison capacity.
That lead into working with touring bands such as Muse and Foo Fighters. I ended up getting a job at a recording studio which had an artist management division which I also did some work for. I was approached by a larger recording studio and asked to come on-board as their manager. It was there that I worked with some huge names in music such as Coldplay and INXS and it was there that I discovered 5 Seconds of Summer! I also studied at JMC Academy in Sydney which was instrumental in learning the skills required to know how to manage a band!

How long have you been a band manager for?  

I've worked in music since I was 16, but 5SOS was only the second artist I have ever managed!

When did you first decide you wanted to be a band manager and why?

To be honest, I actually didn't want to be a band manager. Prior to being an artist manager, I managed record producers and spent most of my time in recording studios. When I discovered 5SOS, I knew that I didn't want to manage another band but I really couldn't not take them on!

If you could change something about the music industry what would you change?

Only one thing? haha. The music industry is great, but there really needs to be more government regulation and legislation around the industry. It's too free for all and not as controlled as it should be.

What do you think is needed to be a successful band manager?

Drive, determination, impeccable communication skills and be a great business manager/sales person.

Have you always had an interest in music or was it more of the business side of the job you enjoyed?

You can't work in music if you don't have an interest in music! I have never really had the desire to learn an instrument or join a band if that's what you're asking but I've always had an interest in music.

What are some of the best parts of being a band manager?

The freedom that can come with it. You're not chained to a desk from 9-5 like most jobs. The financial rewards can also be immense if you strike it lucky and work hard.

And the worst?

The lack of freedom that can come with it! haha. You don't get a break, ever. Whilst you're not chained to your desk 9-5, you're working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Christmas Day is really the only day that you can turn your phone off, especially when you've got artists around the world.

Did the artists you managed have very similar music styles or varied? Did this help or hinder your job in anyway?

I've only ever managed two artists at any one time. I didn't want to take on any more than this. One was 5SOS and the other was an alternative pop singer named Bree De Rome. You could say that they were quite different.

What different factors do you look at when deciding who you will or wont manage?

Many different factors. I wouldn't take on any more than three artists at any one time. They either had to be very special and/or have a lot of traction and activity present already in order for me to take them on.

What advice would you give to up and coming bands/artists in regards to the music industry?

Work hard. Take what you think working hard is and times it by 100. Don't expect days off. Don't underestimate the power of social media. 50% of your time should be dedicated to social media. It's the most important way to engage with your fans in the early stages

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Definitely discovering 5SOS. It'll be hard to beat that one..

You can find Adam on Twitter.


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