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Manager Of Producers, Engineers, And Mixers


These managers direct and oversee clients’ careers, including looking for production opportunities, publicizing achievements, negotiating contracts, and other business functions.


“You've got to be able to get along with people. At the end of the day you can be the smartest person in the room, but if you anger people or alienate them, you'll fail.”

Working at a recording studio or in the A&R department at a record label is good training for managing producers and engineers. Read recording updates in the music trades and study the liner notes of albums to become familiar with who produced, engineered, and mixed what records.


“Being organized and able to solve problems as they arise. Problem solving is a big part of what I do,” says Frank McDonough. “My particular gig is very service oriented. My clients are providing a service to people and I have to be accommodating to people when representing them.”


McDonough is up early and in the office by 7 a.m. Throughout the day he listens to music, but his attention is focused on answering e-mail and working the phones. “For instance, RCA just signed a new band and they're looking for a record producer. They want ‘the guy’ who produced whatever band sold ten million records last year, or they want ‘the guy’ who mixed Santana's ‘Smooth’ record, or whoever. I represent some of those people and others who don't have those credits, but are creatively similar. I act as a matchmaker by saying, ‘Have you considered this producer? They might be someone you'd want to talk to.’ I know it's hard to imagine how that would consume 12 hours a day, but it does.”


“My job is an out-of-the-way niche in the music business. I'd be surprised if there were a hundred people in the whole country who did this job. My advice is to find someone who does this work and work for them. That's about the only way to gain the knowledge you need. A&R is about the only other job where you would learn the skills and make the connections you need to represent producers and engineers.”


“There is potential for a lot of conflict and arguing, and that's not why I got into the record business. Some people enjoy a good argument. I don't. It's my nature to want everyone to come away feeling good and that they got a fair shake.”


“What I love the most is being exposed to new music. I like being involved with people who are creating that music. However tiny my role is, I like that I have a part in bringing that music to fruition.”


Frank McDonough credits his career in the music business to being a failed rock star. After playing guitar in bands during high school in St. Louis, sure that one day he would be a star, he appeased his father by enrolling at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Although college was just a cover for playing in bands and trying to land a record deal, he still managed to graduate before a contract materialized. Needing a temporary job to pay the bills until he got signed to a label, he found work in the aerospace industry.

After three years, McDonough says, “I realized that working for a living might not be as temporary as I first thought.” He decided that if he had to work while waiting to be a rock star, it should at least be in the music industry. He got a job in A&R administration at Arista Records in 1988 on the strength of his aerospace computer skills. “At the time, they were keeping track of quarter-million dollar recording budgets on giant ledger sheets. I think I got there just after they graduated from using quills to actual ballpoint pens,” he laughs. “I had experience with computers and spreadsheets. That is why they hired me. At Arista I got a good sense of what each department did, and I knew I didn't want to work in promotion or retail and I didn't want to work in publicity.” That knowledge was an asset when an offer to manage record producers came in 1992.

Thinking that management might be interesting, he took the job. When the owner of the company he was working for made a career change in 1995, McDonough and a group of his clients moved to Moir Marie Entertainment. Together, McDonough's diverse and talented roster of producers, engineers, and mixers have worked on recordings for AC/DC, Aerosmith, Black Crows, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, Def Leppard, Goo Goo Dolls, Loudmouth, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, John Mellencamp, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Lou Reed, R.E.M., Santana, Stone Temple Pilots, and Shania Twain.

After six years with Moir/Marie, McDonough decided to form his own company and established McDonough Management LLC in 2000. His new roster of clients have produced recordings for Babyface, Tool, Live, and Switchfoot. www.mcdman.com

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in the Music BusinessMANAGEMENT - Personal Managers: Artist Manager • Manager • Personal Manager, Manager Of Producers, Engineers, And Mixers