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Managers, Contracts and What to Consider


Managers, Contracts and What to Consider.

In this fast-track world of MP3, apps, streaming and smart phones it would seem fair to say that many artist now release music tracks before they even have a manager and some may even question why they need a manager. But as your booking schedule gets busier and your popularity rises you are going to need someone that does all of the crappy jobs you don’t have the time to do anymore.

So what does a band manager do?

Well in theory there is a basic list of things that you can expect your manager to be sorting for you, these include:

*Identifying venues that are suitable for your act
*Contacting venues
*Organising gigs
*Keeping a schedule of all your gigs
*Making sure you get to gigs in good time
*Dealing with agents
*Researching the music industry and current trends
*Helping with rehearsal
*Dealing with other bands managers
*Looking after the financial aspect of things

In fact, the manager does everything but wipe your arse and playing the music so once you are an established act a manager is definatly worth considering.

But before you decide on getting a manager you need to consider the legal side of things and how to make sure you get the best out of your manager and don’t get ripped off or stuck with a bad manager. This is when you need to begin considering a management contract.

So what is a contract? Well a contract is a written or spoken agreement and intended to be enforceable by law should there be any disagreements in the future.

Obviously for the purposes of a management agreement the contract is going to be a written one. However, what things should you consider when laying out the terms of a management contract? Moreover, in what scope will the manager represent you? Without a doubt, the most common reason for artist/management disagreements is poor scope definition. By that I mean that the expectations of the band are different from the expectations of the manager.

This is what the contract will outline and therefore, it is critical to the success of a harmonious team that you get everything laid out from the beginning and this leads me nicely onto these pointers.

Note: There is no particular priority for these considerations and they are only suggestions.

So what is your manager going to do for you? Are they just going to sit behind a desk all day making phone calls or, on a wet Saturday night in November, will they be by your side helping to carry the drum kit! You need to find out how they are going to help you in everyday music life.

Career Advancement:
How are they going to advance your career? Get them to outline what gigs they will be getting you, the types of venues you will be playing , how they intend to promote and market you. The simplest thing to ask is where do they see the act in 2 years time. If they can give you an answer that meets your expectations then that is a good starting point for further negotiations.

How long will the contract last? Moreover, will there be a trial period? As the impartial writer of this article, I can only suggest that you consider offering your manager a trial period. This is to make sure that you are both singing from the same sheet and that the manager does everything promised.
In addition, it is worth bearing in mind that the manager may want to back out of any agreements, so it can be beneficial to both parties.

Remember you are not only a musical act, but you are also a business and as you become established you can command a good payout either fixed or by door entry. This means you will be getting paid to play gigs and you need to make sure that a proper set of financial records are being kept. These are to record all of your incoming and out going expenses. So you need to establish who will be looking after these financial records. Because you do not want the tax man breathing down your back at a later date.

Does the prospective manager have a plan as to how he intends invest profits into your future? Consider things like new equipment, recording studios, transport costs, public liability insurance.

Confirm what expenses you will be paying your manager, for example; will you be paying for that hotel room the manager has booked for their brother-in-law because he helped carry a guitar to the gig. This may sound silly but establishing things like this can save serious complications and arguments later.

What percentage of your income is the manager going to take? And will the commission be before or after all the expenses have been paid? Put simple will the manager take commission from the profits made or the turnover?

You may have more than one manager to choose from and you need to consider how best to make the final choice and there are some simple things to bear in mind.Lets say for example your prospective manager has managed boy bands for the last five years and you are a 7piece rock band. Will that manager have sufficient industry contacts to make the move from boy band to rock band? It’s certainly worth considering.

Payment and commission is also another factor to think about. Lets say your mate Jimmy has said he will manage you and only wants beer money on a gig night as payment, but he has never managed an artist in his life. Do you really want Jimmy managing your future musical career? Or would you prefer a manager who wants 25% of all profits but has 10 years of relevant management experience and can guarantee you gigs every weekend and a bundle of festivals over the summer, its just another thing worth considering.

As I have already said these are only things to consider and you may think that many of them don’t apply to you. Nevertheless, by having the extra knowledge you now know what things to consider when considering a manager.