One of my favorite (and most common) roles at Tunedly is Project Manager. When I talk about it with songwriting friends, I tend to get these responses:
“Well…I mean, I can be MY OWN project manager, right?”
“What does that even mean?”
“Why does a song need a project manager?”
These are all great questions. I never thought about any of this before I became a PM, but now that I’ve seen projects both with and without one, I can tell you exactly what my role is and how to decide whether or not you need one.
Project Managers for Songwriters
Here is a basic list of the things I do as a PM:
1). Oversee the Progress of the Song
This is probably the most important part of the job. I make sure everyone knows what their role is and keep the schedule running smoothly. I help the session musicians turn in their respective parts on time. If the musician needs an extra couple of days, I have to determine if we can wait for them or if we need to move forward and hire someone else (this can, of course, be the client’s call if they’re set on using someone specific). Any snags in the schedule fall to me to ensure that the project keeps going.
2). Resolve Client and Musician Issues With the Project
I had to state “with the project” because some issues are beyond my control. I’m sorry you don’t get along with your mother-in-law, but that kind of falls outside of my scope as Project Manager, haha. Anyway, in music projects, sometimes people don’t get along, or sometimes someone isn’t a good fit for the project. It’s nothing personal (usually), so it’s my job to make sure the client is happy. For example: Maybe you hired a singer you thought would sound great on a song, but now you’re hearing it and you’re not thrilled. You can email me and tell me the issue. I can either have the singer make specific edits to suit your needs or I can replace them. If a musician has an issue with a project, I can troubleshoot things and talk them through it.
3). Project Production
I hesitate to call myself a Producer on all projects, because sometimes clients know exactly how they want it to sound and I simply carry that out. There are many times, however, where I produce the song as well. If someone brings lyrics to us and gives us free reign to direct it, we have a lot of room to produce. I choose what instruments we’ll use and who will play them. I coordinate it between who has the time (I tend to know everyone’s schedule), the specific skills for the project, and the ‘feel’ we’re looking for.
4). Song Advice
Clients often aren’t sure if their song ideas are good. They want feedback, critiques or sometimes just encouragement. I can give advice about the song structure, the likelihood of a major artist picking it up (keep in mind, though, that no one can guarantee that!) and even just personal feedback like how I felt listening to it. I can also give the song direction based on the client’s goals.
How do I know if I need a Project Manager?
If your project is small (maybe just guitar and vocals), you might not need a PM. When you’re 100% sure about your song’s direction and know how to get there, you might not need one. If you know what musicians you need and have an open deadline, you can probably do without one.
How do I hire a Project Manager?
Head over to Tunedly and get started on a song! You can choose me if you want, but you don’t have to. We have great PMs who can help you complete the song in your head.