For many artists and bands the first contract that they have to face is the management contract. The manager will have a lot of responsibility and possible control so it is vital to get the right person and the right agreement.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The manager may come from various backgrounds – he’s a friend of the band, works already in the music industry, is an entrepreneur from a different industry or just has heard about the band’s potential and swoops in.
A manager should have one of the following but ideally all:
1. Money – it can be expensive process getting the band known;
2. Experience – knowledge of how the industry works and how it is changing;
3. Contacts – he has to know the right people and be liked and/or respected;
4. Enthusiasm – if he doesn’t believe in you then how is he going to persuade others?
Things you should be checking out for in the Management Contract
1. Make sure the management is not asking for upfront payments from you. That is a big, big no-no! These would be similar to vanity publishing deals but without the benefit of having a product. Stay away as they are simply trying to take money from you instead of making money for you.
2. Don’t take advice from the manager’s own lawyer – it will not be impartial and will ultimately benefit the manager. If the manager does not want you to see a lawyer then alarm bells should be going, not only because he sounds like he is trying to hide something but it also shows his business naivety. The reason George Michael was stuck in his “bad” deal with Sony was because he had had independent legal representation from a lawyer experienced in music law before he signed that contract. If he had not had that advice he may have been able to walk away and get a better deal.