MMF report reveals earnings breakdown for artist managers

MMF report reveals earnings breakdown for artist managers

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has published the latest edition of its Managing Expectations series of reports. 

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

Alongside results of a survey of 176 MMF members, the publication features interviews with a range of prominent UK managers, alongside tips and advice about building a sustainable business. 

With the vast majority (90%) of respondents being self-employed or freelance, 60% say that they earn less than minimum full time wage. There are also unpredictable workloads and the inherent lack of a safety net (only 26% of respondents say they contribute to a pension).

The gender pay gap is an ongoing issue in management: 22% of women in management earn over £30,000 compared to 29.6% of men 

There are opportunities for higher earnings with 11.1% of female respondents earning £50,000-100,000, compared to 9.9% for male managers.

At the top end of earnings, 2.2% of female managers and 7% of male managers reported income above £100,000.

According to the survey, overall 17% of respondents earn over £50,000. Median gross annual earnings for full-time employees was £34,963 in April 2023.

With the majority receiving income on a commission basis and not participating in rights ownership, music managers may be more vulnerable than other music-based SMEs. 

The study found a significant drop in managers continuing to operate in the field after five years. Meanwhile, respondents reported a steep decline in apprenticeship and internship opportunities – the latter have reduced by 50% since 2019. 

There are also a number of more positive trends. For example, the research shows a 30% increase in management companies investing between £2,500-£5,000 in skills development and staff training, as well as evidence of MMF members accessing commercial loans and grants – including those provided by its Accelerator Programme

It’s vitally important that the MMF continues to listen to the needs and demands of our members

Annabella Coldrick

The MMF has recently embarked on a major expansion of the professional development services offered to the full spectrum of our membership. 

These initiatives range from the Essentials of Music Management training courses for new managers, the Accelerator Programme and an annual advanced managers retreat planned for January 2025 (with support from PPL). The MMF has also completed an extensive programme of engagement with Welsh-based managers through a partnership with Creative Wales and launched a new partnership with Generator in the North East.  

The MMF has drawn four cross-sector recommendations from the research, including support for membership and help to build skills; encouraging investment in training and development; and urging industry bodies to advocate for better industry practices such as timely payments, standard contracts and stronger support for parents, carers and those on maternity leave, particularly freelancers.

The organisation also wants the next government to provide increased support for practical apprenticeships and training programmes in skills relating to music management.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive, MMF, said: “It’s vitally important that the MMF continues to listen to the needs and demands of our members, however big or small, and that we can build upon our existing range of services and training. The Managing Expectations reports are an important component of this process, allowing us to understand the views of music managers around the UK, and providing them with a practical toolkit of advice, tips and recommendations - in this instance, on how to expand their workforce.  

“Such an approach to knowledge sharing is at the heart of all we do, whether that’s with our Essentials of Music Management training courses, our groundbreaking Accelerator Programme supported by YouTube Music, our partnerships with Arts Council England, Creative Wales and Generator or the Advanced Managers Retreat we are planning with PPL for January 2025.”


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