Labels should have physical distribution already set up, as well as other deals in place where your music may play (such as radio). 360 deals are common, but unlike not too many years ago, these are now much more realistic, but you should not sign with a label just because they offer you a deal. Take a copy of the contract with you, and see an attorney. Run the numbers mentioned in the contract. Understand your deliverables to them, and their deliverables to you. You are not becoming an employee of the label, and the label does not work for you. The contract formalizes a working agreement for a certain period of time. Labels can own the master recordings and monetize that particular version of your song.
NOTE: These days, labels do not develop artists. You are on your own on that. Remember, you are You, Inc. Labels want you to come to them fully formed, ready to go. That means you have to have your sh** in order. That’s where a manager can be very helpful.
Managers manage your business. They work for you. You do not work for them. They may get a flat fee, or they may get a percentage of your gross or your net, depending on your deal. There are no one-size-fits-all managers. Not all managers will do the exact same sets of functions. (See note below this paragraph.) I know some managers who function as legal (they are an attorney), booking agent, bookkeeper, and more. I know other managers who specialize in one thing only, such as one highly focused function: Confirming royalty statements from PROs are correct each month. Have weekly or monthly staff meetings with your team so that course correction happens gradually, you keep your finger on the pulse of all aspects of your business, and so everybody can feel the team spirit.
NOTE: Managers cannot manage a new artist because there is nothing to manage. You must have something going on regularly and come to the point where you can’t handle it all for a manager to now do what they do. In other words, if you do not have a business, why do you need a business manager?
Publishers take your original songs and market them to other artists on your behalf, monetize the melody and lyrics in other ways, and keep track of where and when your song is making money. Publishers can also own the master recordings and monetize that particular version of your song. If you are not a song publisher, that is, if you are not listed with your PRO as a publisher, and you sign up with a publisher, you are in effect giving away half of your potential earnings on each song.
NOTE: The two money-making creative sides of your song are writer and publisher. If you do not have your finger in both pies, I have to ask why not?