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

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