Music Venue Owners and Managers


Exploring this Job

If you aren't actively involved in band or chorus, get involved while in school. To manage or own a club, you should be familiar with music and what makes music "good." To gain experience in business administration and management, volunteer to help coordinate school plays, band or choral performances, or any other production. Any and all experience helps, beginning with organizing and managing band equipment, for example, to working as a stage manager for school plays.

Part-time or summer jobs as stagehands, ushers, or other positions are available at theaters, outdoor music festivals, and other venues. Many music shows are held in bars and other facilities catering to the over-21 crowd, so be prepared to look elsewhere for opportunities.

College students interested in music facility management can often locate valuable internships through contacts they have developed from part-time jobs, but their college career services offices can also help to line up internships.

Professional organizations within the field also sponsor opportunities to learn on-the-job. The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) offers internships to qualified students. Typically, participating facilities that serve as sites for IAVM internships are responsible for the selection of their interns. While some of these facilities aren't specifically geared toward music shows, much of the management skills and responsibilities are shared and will provide you with a wonderful opportunity to learn firsthand.

The Job

Music venue managers, like other facility managers, coordinate the events that occur in the club with the services and people who make those events possible. This involves booking bands, hiring and firing workers when needed, and overseeing electrical workers, sound technicians, bar staff, security guards, and other employees who keep the club running. Depending on the size of the music venue, managers may have different job titles and specialized duties, such as sound manager or restaurant and bar manager.

Larger music venues may contract work to outside vendors. This may include security, food and drink services, or electrical work. It is the responsibility of the music venue manager to hire such contractors and to monitor the quality of their work.

Finally, it is the manager's duty to make certain that the music venue, its workers, and the services offered are in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations.

Music venue owners are concerned with much more than the internal workings of the club. They must be sure they have the proper finances to open a club and keep it running. This may require months, if not years, of research and long-term financial planning. Another crucial issue owners must consider is how their club compares to others in the area. Are ticket prices reasonable? Does the venue offer enough seating or space for patrons to dance? Is the club safe for concert-goers? To determine these answers, owners may visit other music venues to investigate their design, organization, and music schedule.

In general, music venue owners and managers spend most of their time in their office or within the club itself, supervising the day-to-day management of the facility. Club owners determine the organizational structure of the facility and set personnel staffing requirements. As staffing needs arise, the manager addresses them with the owner, who then sets the education, experience, and performance standards for each position. Depending on the size of the venue, hiring may be conducted by a separate personnel director. However, in most small music clubs, the manager is usually the one to sift through stacks of resumes whenever a position opens up. Usually, all policies and procedures having to do with the morale, safety, service, appearance, and performance of venue employees are determined by the manager.