One of the most important contracts an artist will sign is an
artist management contract. Entering into a written
management agreement will make it clear the services a
professional artist manager will or will not provide to an artist
and make it clear how the manager will get paid.
This agreement sets forth a broad range of agreed upon
parameters related to the structure and details of an artist’s
career and the various sources of revenue generated.
Choosing a personal manager is a critical moment in an
artist’s career and a document such as this indicates in detail
many important financial and informational guidelines that will
govern the legal aspects of a relationship between an artist
A manager should have one of the following but ideally all:
Money – it can be expensive process getting the band known
Experience – knowledge of how the industry works and how it
Contacts – he has to know the right people and be liked
Enthusiasm – if he doesn’t believe in you then how is he
going to persuade others
Band Management Contracts
There are a few basics to keep in mind about music manager
Doesn't Have to be Complicated!
Should be Mutually Beneficial
Should be Signed in Good Faith.
The Job Expectations
The Management Fee
The Manager's Expenses: Your manager should not be out
of pocket for business expenses for promoting your band, but
you need to reach an agreement on how expenses will work.
Words of Caution: Music manager contracts can be very
specific to your circumstances, and so the advice above is a
guide and does not represent not hard and fast rules.
Management Contract Checklist
1 Manager Details
Company or individual? (If company, can artist terminate if key individual moves on?)
2 Artist(s) Details
Contracted as group or as individuals (or both)
Australia, Australasia, World?
a. Initial period (*up to 3–4 years. Probation period?)
b. Options to extend (and if so, at manager’s option or by agreement?):
iii. Performance triggers (*Record deal? Publishing deal? Income turnover figure?)
5 Management Outside “Home” Territory?
a. Who selects (requires artist consultation or approval?) b. Who pays (manager normally pays, out of
Artist Management Checklist
a. Commission percentage (*10–20%) b. On what? Are the following excluded?
i. Recording & Video costs
ii. Live performance costs (agents, supports, sound and lights? Accommodation, trucking etc?) iii. Merchandising costs
7 Services Of Manager
a. Exclusive manager?
i. What types of deal require artist’s personal signature?
ii. How much of the artist’s money can manager spend at any one time? e. Reporting of actions/activities
8 Arrangements For Banking And Accounting a. Bank account
b. Signatories/Authorised Operators
d. Who keeps books & where? Business management (manager or outside book–keeper)? e. Right to Audit
9 Remuneration Upon Termination Sources of income:
i. Recordings (released during Term or within period following)
ii. Publishing (songs released during Term or within period following) iii. Live work (gigs booked during
Terms, occurring after term)
10 Post–Termination Commission
a. Period (2–5 years) (other than where terminated for manager’s breach)
b. Percentages (decreasing each year)
The Contract ‘Term’ or Length
The length of your agreement with the music manager is a
good place to start. You will need to agree upon a term and a
contract cancellation policy.
A fair contract term is a one year agreement, with an option to
extend the agreement at the end of the year if both parties
agree. At that point, you can look at negotiating longer
agreements, but a one year term is a good trial term for both
parties. Be wary of giving the music manager options to
extend without your agreement; if you do, you can be forced
to stick with a manager you don't want.
Be sure your contact specifies how both parties can leave the
If you are an artist, try a one release deal
The manager will be exclusive to the artist.
What this means is that the artist may not hire anyone else to act
with the same capacity or with the same authority or to provide the
same services as the manager.
The artist will have the right to hire a lawyer for legal advice, a
booking agent for employment or booking opportunities, a business
manager to handle the artist’s money, etc. And in fact the manager
will work with all of these people.
While some manager’s contracts will not make this clear, other than
to state that the manager is exclusive, an artist should try to make it
clear in the contract and a manager should be flexible and realistic
enough to understand that the artist will need others to assist in the
Another important and highly negotiated set of terms in the contract relate
to the authority the manager will have to do things on behalf of the artist.
The manager usually wants authority to: (i) negotiate contracts on behalf of
the artist; (ii) be the sole representative to third parties; (iii) accept payment
and deposit the payment into a bank account; (iv) pay third parties for
services, and; (v) make publicity decisions and authorize the use of the
artist’s likeness and name in publicity matters.
There is a balance between what the manager can do without the artist’s
approval and not slowing the manager’s efforts down to obtain the artist’s
approval on all things. Again, if the manager has a good reputation and
represents many successful artists, the artist usually will have less need for
oversight in these areas than if an the manager is just starting out. An artist
should insist on being apprised of a manager’s actions on the artist’s
behalf, especially matters dealing with money. But the artist should try to
avoid micro managing his or her career, after all this is why the manager
Managers are generally paid a percentage of the band's income: often 15% to 20%.
In addition to their percentage, managers should not have to cover any expenses out
of their own pocket.
There are some things a manager should NOT get a cut of. These including
You should be aware that there are many different kinds of management deals out
there, and the changing face of the music industry has meant a change in
management deals. Essentially, the way musicians make their money is in flux, and
since the income of the musicians is directly tied to the income of the
managers, managers need to make sure they are able to tap into the new sources of
Any deal between musicians and managers should be negotiated up front and
revisited when significant events occur that could drastically increase or decrease
the band's income.
Task 1: Artist Management
1. Peruse a wide range of artist management contracts
as listed on the forum
2. Start to pull ideas/lines from these to create YOUR
own unique artist management contract template so
that you have one ready to go for your artist
3. How is yours different to your classmates? Share
4. What other ideas have you included in your
5. Post to forum for my perusal