Haulix Advice: Defining the roles of a manager, tour manager, publicist, & lawyer

Hello and welcome to return of our Haulix Advice series. This column is dedicated to helping developing artists and industry professionals navigate the waters of a DIY career in music. If you have an idea for a future installment of this series, or if you have a question you’d like us to tackle in the coming weeks, do not hesitate to email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts.

As your career in music begins to develop, you will eventually reach a point where you will want to at least consider hiring other people, such as publicists and managers, to work with and for your music. This can be a very exciting and fast-paced time if you surround yourself with the right team, and in this post we aim to help you understand the roles those individuals will fill so that you can determine what you need when the time comes.

In order to clarify their roles, I asked Jen Appel, founder of The Catalyst Publicity Group, What artist’s expectations should be in regards to the work performed by managers, tour managers, publicists, and lawyers. This is what Jen had to say:

Manager: When a band can no longer scout for new opportunities at the level they are at or handle their current work load a manager would be the next best step. A manager can be as in depth as arranging the day to day duties of each member to shopping for labels and networking the band around the industry professionals. A band should only actively seek management assistance when necessary. Having the band well organized and in place before reaching out for management will only make the working relationship a lot easier.

Tour Manager: A tour manager represents the band while on the road. The tour manager is the right hand man for the manager, merch person, crew and publicist. They are in charge of many items while on tour such as making sure the band arrives at the venue on time, they get paid at the end of night, and set up any press while on the road.

Publicist: A publicist is necessary to bring on to a bands team once all assets are solidified (music, branding). A band shouldn’t approach a PR team if they have no content ready to release. Once a band has a nice marketing package ready to go and they feel they’ve hit a wall with setting up their own interviews a PR team can help package a marketing plan together and focus on securing press. The goal of a publicist is to properly present the band to the public/press/fans.

Lawyer: A lawyer is a great person to have on a team when it is necessary. A lawyer is able to negotiate contract deals on behalf of a band and make sure that a band isn’t get screwed over in a deal. The lawyer looks after the bands best interest and is there to lend advice along the way.

It’s important to note that every business relationship is different and the deals you develop with the individuals you choose to surround yourself with may not match these guidelines exactly. Before adding anyone to your team take time to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish and research who would be be suited to assist you in accomplishing that task.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.