• Launched at ESNS, the European Music Managers Alliance and Rotterdam’s Erasmus University publish a groundbreaking study collating the views of more than 350 music managers across the Continent 
  • The survey indicates music managers are well educated, self-trained and self-starters. The vast majority are self-employed or run their own business
  • 51% of respondents were women. The findings indicate they are paid less than men – regardless of experience – and less likely to be employed full time   
  • The findings also highlight demand for improved access to mental health and business support, alongside professional development, mentoring and education 
  • Respondents support economic reforms to the current streaming model and legislation to deliver fair remuneration to creators 
  • The report was launched on Thursday, January 18 at the ESNS Conference.

You can read the full report HERE:

The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) presents groundbreaking new research that explores the opportunities and challenges faced by music managers in Europe when developing the creative businesses of artists, songwriters and other music makers. 

Commissioned as part of EMMA’s EMMpower project, which is supported by a three-year grant from Creative Europe, the research was conducted by a team from Erasmus University Rotterdam and draws upon survey responses from 354 managers as well as a series of qualitative in-depth interviews. 

It is the most comprehensive research project of its type and will help deliver the goals of EMMpower, such as the development of pan-European professional development networks, as well as informing EMMA’s future advocacy work. 

Speaking ahead of ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag), where the research was presented to industry delegates,  Jess Partridge, Executive Director, EMMA said: 

“This groundbreaking research will help EMMA and the wider industry better understand the barriers faced by music managers across Europe, and ensure we can help them build sustainable businesses that support the widest diversity of  artists and other music makers. 

By engaging with a wide cross section of our community, the findings are able to underline fundamental issues such as the stark difference in the earnings of women identifying and male identifying managers, as well as gaining an in-depth understanding of how managers are developing their skills. 

“Despite management being at the centre of the music ecosystem, it can be a tough and isolating job that has to constantly respond to a rapidly changing context. These findings will empower EMMA to strengthen and connect the music management sector, foster diversity and enhance managers’ capacities. To ensure the European music sector reaches its creative and commercial potential, it is vital we better understand the needs of these individuals and how we can help them thrive.”

The findings reiterate the vital role played by managers as champions and builders of creative talent – while highlighting the increasing workload placed on modern management businesses and the demand for greater support with professional development and mental health provision. 

Those dynamics are pinpointed by Marie Dimberg, co-founder of Dimberg Jernberg Management, whose roster includes Roxette, Loney Dear and Jonas Åkerlund, in the report’s foreword. 

“Over the three decades that I’ve been a manager, I’ve seen the music industry go through several seismic changes. Today, our work includes A&R and branding, DSPs and social media, traditional media and marketing, touring and business management. At any given time, we handle hundreds of moving parts and complex issues, alongside the mental health and wellbeing of our artists. It’s very easy to put yourself last, and to overlook both your own needs as well as the demands of your own business. I’m happy to read this report, which captures our industry and highlights the challenges that managers face, with a focus on our role, independent of our clients.” 

The key findings include: 

  • Of 354 survey respondents, 53.9% were based in Western Europe, 25.9% in Northern Europe, 12.3% in Eastern Europe and 7.9% in Southern Europe
  • Although the majority (67.6%) have obtained university degrees, 96.5% say they are self-taught in music management and learned through experience
  • 58% are either self-employed or own their own business.  60.6% are paid on a commission basis
  • 78.3% manage between 1 and 5 clients
  • Although the majority of respondents (51.9%) were women, female managers are more likely to earn less. 51.5% of female respondents said they reside in the lowest income categories, compared to 27.1% of male respondents
  • The top 3 areas for professional support were identified as:  legal and contractual skills; music synchronisation; accounting and financial planning + brand partnerships/sponsorships (equal responses)
  • The top 3 challenges identified were: access to finance; time management and work / life balance; networking and partnerships  
  • Respondents indicate that the two most important policy items for EMMA to pursue include lobbying for the user-centric streaming model and legislation for fairer remunerations to creators.

The findings of the report indicate several areas where EMMA, alongside other music industry organisations and publicly funded bodies, may focus their efforts in order to further support the growth and development of the music management sector, and thereby strengthening the multifaceted European music industry. 

Key areas include:

  • Developing revenue streams and structures that ensure that the field of music management becomes an area where it’s increasingly viable to create sustainable businesses. Advocating for changes in the streaming model and for fairer remuneration is a key priority amongst respondents. 
  • Creating and implementing programs that address the gender imbalance and the lack of diversity in the field. 
  • Increasing mentorship opportunities and other avenues for strengthening the skills of managers, ideally while simultaneously creating a foundation for increasing equity and diversity. 
  • Access to mental health resources for both managers and artists is imperative. The findings indicate that this is an area that is ranked high as a challenge to managers, which may indicate that increased partnership across the industry to support the mental health and wellbeing of creatives and industry professionals is imperative. 

Given that this is the first pan-European study of its kind, an additional recommendation would be to build upon the findings in future research. The study indicates that areas such as gender equality and inclusion needs additional attention, and that topics such as the correlation between the number of artists managed and income levels may be explored in further research. 

The report’s findings and recommendations were discussed at ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) on Thursday, 18 January , the annual four-day showcase festival and music conference across venues in Groningen, the Netherlands, in a panel titled Thriving Or Just Surviving: Strategies For The Future of Management. 

Moderated by Jess Partridge, the panel included expert analysis from: 

  • Thea Zaitsev, Director/Founder, Tier Music / Music Estonia 
  • Neus López, Head of Export, Initiative Musik 
  • Nahuel Blaton, MMF Netherlands
  • Thomas Calkins, Lecturer, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
  • Petra Kauraisa, Communications Executive & Consultant 

EMMA co-hosted an invite-only Meet The Managers & Pop Authors drinks reception at ESNS with MMF NL and BAMpop Authors on Thursday 18th January. 

EMMA Chair, Per Kviman, joined the New European Vision on Touring: Taxation panel on Friday 19th January. 

You can read the full report HERE: