Niko Michault from Push Management shares his experience as a manager..

How did you start your career in music and how did you end up in artist management? 
I started by carrying around friends in bands instruments after shows. They liked me so they asked me to be their manager and a year later, when I turned 20, we were on the road supporting The Libertines.  From then on I didn’t stop touring and I also began to write reviews for the BBC Online and Orange online. Eventually my tour managing brought me to work with Jack Savoretti and a couple of years later he asked me to take over MGMT. At that point Danielle was still working as an interior designer when she discovered Jack’s track “Soldiers Eyes.” She immediately got in touch with him as she wanted to use the track for a competition run by the charity she was setting up to bring Israeli and Palestinians together through artistic collaboration. Jack and Danielle hit it off and he recommended we both get to talking about management. Since then we have developed PUSH Music Management and today we have four acts including Jack Savoretti, Demons Of Ruby Mae, Gizmo Varillas and Sebastian Sternberg & Pedro Vito.

At what stage should an artist be looking for a manager?
Never! The manager should find them… And if they have not been found by one yet that means they are not ready.

What are the main 3 things you look for in a band before you consider adding them to your roster?
1. Music we love and want to share with our friends. If we can’t do that we will not be able to convince anyone else.
2. Work ethic… We have to find someone who is willing to work harder than us because if they do not have the drive or ambition we will not be able to act as a substitute.
3. The beginning of a career. We receive a lot of submissions with people telling us how they are the next biggest act in the world, yet they have nothing to show for it. However if someone sends us a story of how they have been touring, releasing music, engaging with the media and building a fanbase it is interesting. Ultimately though we will look at the fancies and if they can sell small shows then it’s the start of something we can build on.

Which area do you find the most challenging part of breaking a new act?
Finance. This is the biggest impediment to building new act’s careers. As revenues in the music industry has declined so has the development of new acts… This is a natural cause and effect situation but still a difficult one. Record labels no longer develop acts, they wait for managers to do this  and although there are more and more funding opportunities, the demand is so high few manage to actually obtain any.

How necessary is it now days for bands/artists to have a complete product (in terms of recordings etc) when approaching management? 
Having a recording is probably the last part of the puzzle… That might seem a little contradictory to what we have said before but as long as there are tracks online for potential fans to listen to when they discover the artist and something to share with media the rest is all about touring and promotion. The only time you need top quality recordings is when there is sufficient demand from a substantial fanbase and this always comes last.