The Management Contract That Every Artist, Songwriter, and Producer Should Have
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The following comes Steve Gordon, regarded as one of the top attorneys in the music industry. Last week, he outlined 11 contracts that every artist, songwriter and producer should know. So here’s the first one: management contracts.
In this installment, we will discuss management agreements.
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As I wrote in “Now You Know Everything about Music Managers,” managers have never played a more important role in the music business than they do today. If you have taken or are ready to take the next step in your music career, you probably need one.
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A good manager advances the career of her client in a variety of ways. Traditionally, a manager provided advice on all aspects on the artist’s professional life, used her relationships to generate opportunities, negotiated deals when the opportunity to do so arose, and helped the artist select other members of the “team,” such as accountants, lawyers, booking agents, and publicists. A manager’s principal job was, however, searching for the “holy grail”—shopping the artist to record labels, particularly the majors, with the hope of signing a lucrative recording agreement. Signing a record deal meant a payday for both the artist and the manager. Managers work on commission, so the goal was to sign with a major label and negotiate the largest advance possible. In the 90’s, when I was a lawyer for Sony Music, we paid advances to new artists ranging from $250,000 to upwards of $500,000. If the artist caught fire, both the artist and the manager could become very wealthy from record sales alone. Those days are largely gone. [...]