Many bands and musicians after toiling away on the gig circuit are likely to get their first taste of “success” by being offered a management deal. Having booked your own gigs and public appearances you are naturally going to be more than happy to get such a deal. There is no doubt that having management and PR should be considered as a stepping stone. But it is very important to be aware of the consequences of being tied to a management deal.
Know Who You Are Signing To
It sounds obvious but you must find out as much as you can about potential managers- How long they have been in business? What type of artists do they already have? How have they helped them so far? (getting in touch with artists on their books is vital). Once you are satisfied that they might be right for you then you can look at the deal.
So, it is very important to discuss these issues with fellow band members or musicians before you sign anything or even look at a contract.
Most management deals will involve the Management Company having the sole and exclusive right to exploit you as a band/artist. Among many things, this means that only they can book your gigs and arrange promotional events. This can suit some acts but if you have been booking your own gigs then you may want to continue to do this. Otherwise you could lose local support if you are seen to turn your back on the places that gave you your first break. Therefore, you would want to insert a clause that allows you to carry on making bookings. Importantly the management company should not be able to claim a commission on these bookings.
The length of term in any contract is always important and very much subject to negotiation. Flexibility is the key here and all term lengths should be reflective of what the offering party is planning to do with the artist. Recently I’ve found that term lengths have shortened as they become more project specific. This suits both parties and is always recommended.
Not All About The Contract
So, the key to assessing whether a deal is right for you is to have an open mind and test the waters as much as possible. Over the years I have analysed contracts that seem very forward thinking and beneficial to the artist. Once reality sets in though, certain complications can arise that a contract simply can't cover. Communication is key and there must be a clear, regular dialogue between the artist and the manager and their team.
The nature of the music industry means that nothing is guaranteed and risks have to be taken. The rewards though can be endless.