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2008 lecture notes on artist management, University of Glasgow popular music studies

2008 lecture notes on artist management, University of Glasgow popular music studies

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  • 1. Artist Management John Williamson Popular Music Studies: The Music Industries 14th April 2008
  • 2. Contents
    • Locating the manager in the music industries
    • Areas of responsibility / What managers do.
    • Management Qualities/ Skills
    • Changes in music management
    • Management Contracts: key clauses and issues
    • Shaun Ryder - a case study
  • 3. LAWYERS (CONTRACT ADVICE, ETC.) PUBLISHERS (A&R, SONG EXPLOITATION) ARTIST MANAGEMENT
      • RECORD LABELS (A&R, MARKETING, BUSINESS AFFAIRS)
    ARTIST MANAGER
      • TOUR MANAGER (LIAISON WITH VENUES, PROMOTERS, MERCHANDISERS, ETC.)
      • ACCOUNTANTS (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT)
    AGENT PRODUCERS
  • 4. Managers - the role
    • Centre of all artist’s activities.
    • All business transactions go through manager
    • Changing role of managers / more professional/ education/ creativity
    • Management organisations - Music Managers Forum, etc.
    • Larger management companies vs. individuals
  • 5. Managers - the role
    • Managers integrally involved in putting a team around the artist that will be with them throughout their career
    • Decisions made in conjunction with artist, usually on recommendation of manager
    • Managers then take on the day to day liaison between business advisors and artist.
    • Managers may also take on personal as well as business role - this varies and depends on needs of artist.
  • 6. Managers - the business role
    • Central part of job is negotiation - and dealing with contracts
    • Advice taken from lawyers and accountants
    • Key contracts in managerial career:
      • Recording - possibly more than one
      • Publishing - before or after recording?
      • Producers - negotiating with their managers
      • Merchandise - often advances involved
      • [Management]
  • 7. Managers - the personal role
    • Personal management may involve:
      • Dealing with relationship problems
      • Dealing with financial problems/ management
      • Dealing with health problems/ illness
      • Dealing with inter-band tensions
      • Dealing with members leaving / problems
  • 8. Managers - responsibilities
    • Usually outlined in contract, but by their nature can be vague:
      • Accounting for monies received: book-keeping, tax returns, invoices, VAT
      • ‘ Using reasonable endeavours to ensure that the Artist gets paid’.
      • Consulting / Liaising with artist over career impacting decisions
      • Advising artist as to appointment of ‘team’
  • 9. Choosing a manager - skills and experience
    • Experience - track record? Success?
    • Personal characteristics - trustworthy? How well do you know them? Personality?
    • Reputation
    • Business or Creative? (or personal?)
    • Location / office
    • Time - how many other jobs/ artists?
    • Contacts - how extensive? International?
    • Negotiation - skills, approach
    • Taste - how much do they like the music?
  • 10. Contemporary Changes
    • Move from individual entrepreneurs to large companies - e.g. Sanctuary, Big Life, etc.
      • Advantages : economies of scale / power
      • Disadvantages : less personal attention
    • Increased attempts to connect management with records and publishing
    • Seen as a more ‘respectable’ profession thanks partly to organisations like MMF.
  • 11. Contemporary Changes
    • Music Managers Forum:
      • ‘ giving managers the status they deserve’
      • Access to conferences, seminars, etc.
      • Networking events
      • ‘ strengthening’ management contracts
      • Pursuing payments
      • Lobbying
      • New technology
      • Links with other industry bodies
      • Handbook
  • 12. Contract issues: term
    • How long? Measurement in:
      • Years
      • Album cycles
      • Terminable upon notice (6 months by either side)
    • Normal length is in the 3-5 years region (sometimes with option)
    • Longer may be seen as restraint of trade.
    • Often a trial period of 6-18 months.
  • 13. Contract issues: territory/ scope
    • Usually for ‘all areas of the entertainment industries throughout the world.’
    • BUT :
      • Some artists exclude America
      • US manager would be responsible to the UK one
      • Often problematic - both financially and practically
    • AND many artists exclude non-musical activities:
      • Film activity / agent
      • Literary agent
      • Different issues if artist already has involvement in another industry (e.g. Natalie Imbruglia)
  • 14. Contract issues: payment
    • Managers get paid commission on artist’s earnings not fee or salary.
    • Manager is a partner in risk - has incentive to earn money for act.
    • Often a problem for managers at outset of career but can be well remunerated if successful.
    • Commission rate is usually around 20% (has increased since 1970s) but many variations:
      • Sometimes higher for ‘manufactured bands’ - more costs, risks
      • More successful artists can negotiate % downwards
      • May vary according to manager’s involvement
  • 15. Contract issues: payment
    • What income is commission paid on?
      • Income deriving from the term of contract
      • Usually based on gross income after deduction of expenses:
      • Recording income : advances and royalties (problems of inclusive deals)
      • Publishing income : advances and royalties (fewer expenses involved). Issue over performance income?
      • Touring income : many tours make no money. Does manager commission on:
        • Gross income?
        • Gross Profit?
        • Net Profit (after expenses)
        • A fee?
  • 16. Contract issues: payment
    • Managers may also earn from other sources of income - for example:
      • Sponsorship
      • Merchandise
    • Depending on nature of agreement.
  • 17. Future Commission
    • Managers are also entitled to post-term commission = income received after they cease managing, but generated by records released during term.
    • This is usually on a decreasing rate - 20% for 0-5 years after, 10% for 5-10 years, etc.
    • Post-term commission can hinder artist in search for new manager.
  • 18. Other contractual issues
    • Managers can claim expenses but not for overheads - e.g. office costs
    • Approval - sometimes expenditure over a certain level needs artist’s approval
    • Accounting - manger has to provide regular statement of income and expenditure to artist.
    • Often disputes over methods of accounting/ control over accounting
    • Termination - under certain conditions (bankruptcy, dishonesty, illness, etc.)
    • Key Man Clause - in case of management company
  • 19. A few other points
    • Problems of verbal agreements
    • Importance of balance between artist and manager
    • Legal advice - artists and manager must have different lawyers
    • Need for managers to focus on limited number of artists and not spread resources too thinly.
    • Most contracts governed by English law - Scots law is different, but very few precedents.
  • 20. A case study: Shaun Ryder
    • Case went to Court of Appeal in 1999.
    • Ryder vs. William Nicholl (employed by
    • Radioactive Records)
    • Radioactive signed Black Grape in 1993
    • Advance of $74 000.
    • Nicholl and wife took $10 000 comm.
    • Ryder’s lawyers rejected initial contract
    • Nicholl took contract to studio.
    • Ryder ‘used cannabis more or less
    • continuously’ in studio & signed.
    • Ryder ‘freaked out’ by paperwork
  • 21. Shaun Ryder
    • Initial success of Black Grape, especially touring
    • Nicholl irked by clause limiting tour income to net tour income - attempted to change
    • Accused Ryder’s accountants of delaying payments - they were no longer employed by Radioactive
    • Ryder’s lawyer advised escape from contract on grounds of restraint of trade on the grounds of length of term and post-term commission
    • Nicholl counter-sued for breech of contract
  • 22. Shaun Ryder
    • Judge’s findings included:
      • ‘ undue influence’ may have been used to get Ryder’s signature on contract
      • Terms ‘unreasonable restraint of trade.’ ‘cannot be justified’
      • But also questioned role of Ryder’s lawyer, who had delayed attempts to question enforceability of contract
      • Awards made to both parties- Ryder received £73 000 costs + £143 000 damages; Nicholl received £56 000.
  • 23. conclusions
    • Artist management is arguably the most complex - and varied - task within the music industries.
    • Requires communication, administrative and negotiation skills.
    • Changing business - including artist/ manger relationship, contracts.
    • No two management arrangements/ contracts are the same.