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Songwriting Guides > Management > Management contracts
Songwriting Guides
Management contracts

Management contracts are there to make clear what is expected of the artist and the manager. In the past, contracts would list everything a manager is expected to do, from negotiating record deals to providing the exact contents of the dressing room rider. As more and more standards have been established in the music business through organisations such as the Music Managers Forum, contracts provide for managers to offer the standard services expected of a manager in the music business and to do what is reasonably expected to further an artist's career.

A manager may even invest extra resources to get you going.

The contract is also about money. Generally the rate for a manager ranges from 10 to 25 % of gross earnings. If an artist is successful then generally they can negotiate a 10-15% rate. An artist starting out in the business can expect to pay the higher rate. This is justifiable, as a manager will have to put in more work to further your career and may even invest extra resources to get you going, and will want to see a return on that investment (whether time or money).

As an example, if your manager is on 20% and you signed a £200,000 record deal then your manager would get £40,000 of that money.

It is not usual for managers to take commission from the portion of advance money used to pay the costs of producing an album, funding a tour, making a video, buying equipment or other necessary outlays.

For example, the record deal advances you £200,000, and £100,000 of this is specified to cover the costs of an album and video. The manager will take 20% of the £100,000 left. That's £20,000.
Different formulas apply for touring income. Touring is so expensive that artists are grateful to break even. Part of a manager's job is to organise tours, and it's a huge effort, so the artist and manager need to come to an agreement as to how any profits will be shared.

It may be that a tour makes £30,000 in ticket sales and the manager gets 20%, i.e. £6,000, leaving £24,000. But costs could come to £25,000 leaving the artist £1,000 out of pocket. A solution would be for the manager instead to take 20% of the profit once costs have been paid. This would be 20% of £5,000 - leaving £4,000 for the artist.

These are illustrations of what could happen. In the event of a manager approaching you, or you finding someone you want to manage you, you must seek advice from a music lawyer as every situation is different depending on the parties involved. Usually a manager will have his or her own lawyer and may recommend this law firm to you. Remember it is better to get a music lawyer independent from your manager.

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Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Performing Working with Other Writers In the Studio Publishers Record Companies Management What Does a Manager Do? Do You Need a Manager? What do you want your manager to do? Finding a Manager A Brief Look at Contracts Ending the Relationship Staying on Track
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