by Ben McLane, Esq.
At some point in an artist's career he or she may consider the question of whether a representative - usually a manager - is necessary. Before one becomes involved in such a relationship, several factors should be considered.
First, the artist must evaluate career needs and objectives. If the artist does not have the time or connections to achieve these things, a manager is probably a smart career move. Basically, a manager "advises and counsels" the artist with relation to the artist's profession. Although this is somewhat ambiguous, the manager will oversee all aspects of the artist's professional life, and in particular will deal with record companies, publishing companies, film producers, booking agents, etc. Keep in mind that for some artists, depending on their unique situation, an attorney, accountant or booking agent may be the type of representative they need, instead of a manager.
Second, the artist must locate an interested manager. Probably the best way is for a manager to find the artist. If an artist is playing live dates and is developing a following, it is just a matter of time before a manager will approach the artist. The artist could also contact prospective managers through local directories, such as the Yellow Pages of Rock or the Industry Sourcebook.
Third, the artist must find the right manager. Beware of any manager that wants the artist to sign a contract on the spot or who makes grandiose promises of success. The artist should seek out a real professional that honestly believes in the artist and likes what the artist is doing. Marks of a professional would be: (1) having a meeting to discuss the artist's needs and ideas the manager has for developing the artist; (2) letting the artist know that although the manager cannot promise success, that if all involved work together, the artist's potential has a better chance of being recognized; (3) suggesting that the artist have an attorney review any contract before the artist signs it. The bottom line is to find a manager that the artist trusts and with whom the artist can communicate.
Once the artist has chosen the proper manager, the manager will expect to make a percentage of the money that the artist earns, generally in all aspects of the artist's entertainment career. The commission rate normally is fifteen to twenty percent of "gross earnings" (i.e., before deductions).
Since an artist/manager relationship can last for many years, it is not an affiliation that the artist wants to enter into with haste.Copyright 1998, Ben McLane
11135 Weddington Street, Suite #424
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Telephone: 818.587.6801 Fax: 818.587.6802