One of the most important relationships in music is between the artist and his or her manager.
The manager’s specific role will depend on the manager and band, but generally the manager advises and directs the artist in connection with all matters relating to the artist’s professional career in the entertainment industry.
That’s pretty broad. As such, it’s important that the artist and manager are on the same page about the manager’s role, and also about their collective goals, and expectations of each other.
There may be a verbal or written agreement between the artist and manager. The two may have decided verbally that the manager will help the artist and in return get 10%.
The challenges with this arrangement include that “helping the artist” isn’t clear, and likely means something different to each. The 10% is 10% of what – money from opportunities the manager obtains directly, or 10% of music sales and tours? What about royalties?
Point being, having a verbal agreement to help an artist in return for 10% can lead to arguments, an expedited end to the relationship, and/or fear that the other person will take legal action at some point if there’s a lot of money involved.
A written agreement between the artist and manager should outline the details of the relationship to ensure that the artist and manager are on the same page, which helps to avoid conflict in future.
A management agreement doesn’t guarantee there won’t be conflict, but it does make the parties talk about the tough questions early on. It’s easier to have a conversation about how to divide up money before there’s money to divide.
There are some clauses (sections) of the management agreement that can either be drafted (written) to be advantageous for the artist, or advantageous for the manager. Ideally, both the artist and manager fully understand how each element of the agreement could be structured, in order that the agreement is reasonable.
One of the purposes of this article is to go through some of the essential clauses that would generally appear in a music management agreement.
The manager is more likely than not, the artist’s only manager, but the artist may not be the manager’s only artist. If the artist isn’t the manager’s only client, it may be helpful for the artist to get a minimum commitment of time that the manager commits to provide.
The amount of time that the agreement covers is referred to as the term. The term may be for a specific number of years. Also, it may have extensions which could happen automatically unless one of the parties informs the other by a certain time that the term shouldn’t extend, or perhaps based on certain thresholds. A threshold may be obtaining a certain level of income. For example, a term might be one year, and extend to a second year if the artist has obtained a certain level of income in the first year.