Published Jun 01, 2006Terry McBride is co-founder and CEO of Vancouver-based powerhouse Nettwerk Music Group. Nettwerk Management includes top-selling artists Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Stereophonics and Sum 41. Nettwerk Productions has released over 400 albums with worldwide sales in excess of 100 million. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2003.
At what point do you think a band really needs a manager?
I think a band needs a manager when theyve performed a number of local shows that theyve booked themselves, a few open mics or things of that nature, and they really have their songs down. But more importantly, they know who and what they are. If youre still looking for who and what you are, its not time for a manager yet.
Besides talent, what attributes make a band an attractive prospect?
Hard working, nice people. And then the music.
What makes a band "unmanageable?
Ego, more ego and even more ego. You cant manage an ego, because what is an ego? You create an ego based upon other peoples views of you, so everyone around you is influencing how you act. Think of the essence of what a singer-songwriter is they write from within. Well, if youre not writing from within and youre writing what everyone else wants you to write, thats what makes them happy, not what makes you happy. So its very important that an artist be self-confident and be very comfortable with who they are, and usually those are the people that dont have egos.
What are some of the mistakes that bands make when theyre looking for management?
Theyre not ready and they think that a manager is what they need to get to the next level. What I find is that managers tend to come along at the right time. If youre out there looking for them, you wont find the right manager. If youre out there doing what you basically love to do, they will come along, because they will hear about you, and its almost better that a manager finds out about you versus you shopping for the manager.
What would you say is the number one cause of death, once the management is in place, in the artist-management relationship?
Probably the communication between the artist and the manager, in that the artist doesnt listen, and the manager doesnt listen, and that it really becomes whos running the show versus realising that this is about having both parties say yes. If one party says no and one party says yes, its almost better just not to go down that road.
What do you think a really good manager is going to bring to a band?
The best thing that they can bring to a band is to educate the artist on the business and make them realise that this is their career not the managers career. An artist should listen, should ask questions, should understand fully everything that theyre basically doing. The manager should explain why, and give options and recommendations about which road should be travelled based upon their experience. But a manager has to realise that every artist is unique and different. You cant use the template for one and apply it to another. You might be able to apply the principles but you cant apply the template. Education, education, education!