A Brief Introduction About the Artist Management Contract
The world is full of artists in the fields of music, literature, theatre, etc. Sometimes, an artist might decide to hire a representative or a manager to help propel their career growth. This is when an artist management contract is useful. This allows the artist to plan for their career enhancement.
The agreement lays down the terms like the artist manager salary, authority of the manager, obligations of the manager, and the artist, etc. It makes things clear for the artist and the manager in the future. Through this contract, a manager starts acting on behalf of the artist, about the terms of the contract. A written contract, as opposed to an oral agreement, brings in certainty and security.
This contract is also known as the talent management contract. It equips an artist to go ahead with a plan that is charted by the manager and open doors that were closed before.
Who Takes the Artist Management Contract?
The artist manager contract is entered into by a manager (an individual, partnership, company, organization) offering professional talent management services and an artist (an individual, partnership, company, organization), willing to have his or her talent represented at any stage of their career. The contract does not require an artist to be well-established. Many budding artists have also entered into such contracts. Anyone, from any field, can enter into such an agreement.
An artist management agreement is taken to establish a working relationship between the artist and the manager. It is a deal that benefits both parties.
Purpose of the Artist Management Contract
A manager’s role is significant in an artist’s professional life. The manager provides guidance, counsel, and advice on different career-related aspects along with negotiating deals and helping scout for lucrative projects. The artist management agreement serves the purpose of listing down what the manager is expected to do, and what the artist’s duties are, especially concerning the compensation.
The purpose of the agreement is also to serve as a record of what was agreed upon between the two parties, which protect their interests in case of a dispute in the future. The agreement imposes a duty on the manager to act above his/her self-interest and in the best interest of the artist.
Contents of the Artist Management Contract
Details of the parties
Firstly, the agreement must contain the names and contact details of the parties and introduce what the artist does, for example, whether the service of artist management for the music business is needed or is it for a writer – this should be determined. If the manager is a company, write down the name of the ‘key man.’
Secondly, it should contain a clause for compensation and mention the exact percentage of earnings the manager is entitled or the monthly salary the manager is to be paid. Are any post-term commission involved? The mode of payment, the frequency, and the percentage should also be mentioned.
Thirdly, the contract must mention the term of the agreement, including the start date and end date. The question of whether the term can be extended and under what circumstances is also a part of this section of the agreement. The details of the termination of the contract are also crucial.
Rights & Duties
Fourthly, it should contain the rights and obligations of both parties. This is very important as management contracts can be very vague, allowing a leeway. Performance conditions can be inserted in this section of the agreement. The artist must be able to terminate the contract if those conditions are not met, as an additional safeguard. Also, to what extent can the manager act on behalf of the artist must be included.
Accounting & Expenses
This section details the business expenses the manager can do and the amount beyond which prior approval of the artist may be required. The artist can also ask for the auditing of the manager’s accounts concerning their professional relationship.
Also, lastly, it should have the signatures and the date of signing in the end.
How to Draft the Artist Management Contract?
While drafting the artist management contract, keep these things in mind:
- Be clear and concise while drafting the agreement. Keep the principles of natural justice in mind.
- List down what the manager is supposed to do for the artist, exhaustively like promotion, liasoning, drafting a career plan, etc.
- Decide whether the manager will incur any business expenses and draft a clause for the same (generally, an artist is solely responsible for all business expenses). The agreement can have a provision for prior approval in expenditures above a pre-decided amount and an account for the costs.
- Insert a clause that broadly defines what constitutes a breach of contract.
- Write down the geographical limits in which the manager will be working for the artist, if any.
- Mention the governing law and jurisdiction.
- Insert a clause for dispute resolution procedures and the place where it will take place.
- Make sure that limited power of attorney is granted to the manager, not a general one. The things that the manager can do ‘on behalf of’ of the artist must be listed clearly.
- Draft a clause that protects the artist from the non-exclusivity of the manager. The provision can help ensure that the manager is giving enough time and efforts for the artist in question, despite working for other artists.
- Draft a clause to determine when the termination can take place (in case of bankruptcy, breach, etc.)
- Include a provision outlining the ‘fiduciary relationship’ of the manager towards the artist.
- Insert the clauses of indemnity, severability, force majeure, and other boilerplate legal provisions.
- Most importantly, it must have a signature line at the end for the parties to sign.
Before signing the artist management contract, it is essential for both parties to be on the same page. Because of the specific nature of the professional relationship, certain requirements might come to light only after some rounds of negotiation. Negotiation can play a significant role when it comes to artist management agreements. Compensation is the biggest part of the agreement, which can be negotiated upon.
[Also Read: Performance Contract]
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Artist Management Contract
An artist management document has its pros and cons. This list will help you decide whether you need one before you get to the drafting stage.
- For the artist, it is an excellent option as all the negotiation, liasoning, pitching, promotion, etc. is taken care of by the manager.
- It saves time and streamlines the career path for an artist as a manager understands the industry and how things work.
- Often, the manager is entitled to a hefty compensation, making this a lucrative business deal.
- It is a legally binding document that can be enforced by law. It also serves as a record of the terms agreed upon.
- Drafting an agreement can be expensive as it might involve professional legal assistance.
- Hiring a manager may incur a budding artist lots of money as generally, about 10-20% of the gross earnings of an artist goes as compensation to the manager.
- The manager may not upkeep the fiduciary relationship – a good manager makes for a good management deal; a bad manager can make things go downhill.
- An artist might not honor the payments, that may begin a long legal battle.
- The contract is vulnerable, and it can fall apart due to constant disagreements between the artist and the manager. Intellectual differences can also make the contract a burden and a futile exercise.
What Happens in Case of a Violation?
When either the manager or the artist, violate their rights or obligations according to the contract entered into by them, either of the parties can sue the other for breach of contract, in the court of law or adopt an alternative dispute resolution procedure(1), as agreed upon in the contract. The basic remedies of breach of contract(2) – rescission, restitution, reformation, specific performance, and claiming monetary damages is available to the injured party.
Many artists and manager ‘try’ their professional relationship before signing the agreement. This phase allows them to get to know whether the professional relationship is fruitful and to know the working style. This saves time and resources. Referring to a talent management contract template is a good idea to know the general terms of the agreement.
Having an artist management contract is fast becoming the norm for artists across the globe, who want to take their career to new heights. A well-drafted agreement can go a long way in creating a mutually beneficial relationship for the artist and the manager.