Managing Act

With Indian bands becoming bigger and popular, the band manager has become indispensable. But what do the mini Brian Epsteins do?

Delhi's electronic outfit Jalebee Cartel is busy making music for their upcoming gig in Mumbai, but it is Ritnika Nayan, their manager, who has been working late nights and early mornings for the past two weeks. She is getting everything, apart from music, in place for the show. "The money aspect has been negotiated with the promoters, and I have to finalise the logistics and travel details," says Nayan, as she awaits the band's flight tickets and hotel bookings.

Coordinating everything from the band's travel and business deals to recording contracts and endorsements, the managers, the mini Brian Epsteins, make sure that their mini Beatles can focus on music. "Managing a band means taking care of every aspect of the singers' lives, leaving them free to concentrate on their music," says Vijay Nair, 24, who started his company Only Much Louder six years ago and manages acts like Pentagram, The Raghu Dixit Project and Them Clones, among others.

Dhruv Jagasia, 28, has been managing the folk-rock band Indian Ocean for the past two years and is presently travelling with them for their back-to-back shows in South Africa. "Before the show, I make sure the sound check starts on time and all other technical aspects are taken care of," he says, "and during the show I emcee and network with people."

While it is not a conventional career, it seems to be becoming a viable one. "If a band does well, we do well and vice-versa," explains Nayan. While a manager can earn anything up to Rs 50,000 a month, it can go higher depending on the artist one is managing. "It is a seasonal business, since the number of shows goes down in summer," says Jagasia, who also manages MiDival Punditz. When he is not a band manager, he moonlights as an RJ and actor.

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