TPS #006: Why Managers Need Agreements

Author: Andre Mullen - 3.5 min Read

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“The beginning of wisdom is to define.” – Aristotle

In today’s issue, I want to share 4 reasons why managers need agreements from an unpleasant (and somewhat painful) experience I had with an artist as a younger manager.

I know that this is a bit of a controversial subject, as some managers have verbal agreements with their clients.

I’m simply speaking from my own experience, which has led me to increase my own level of professionalism by making sure everything is in writing.

The names used are not actual names. I would definitely get in trouble if I named dropped. 

Anyway, let’s get into it.

REASON #1: Agreements establish accountability

Dill, an artist manager I knew then, referred me to Remmie, an indie hip-hop artist who needed a manager to represent him as he signed a distribution and marketing deal with a distribution company.

I was excited and Remmie needed a manager.

So we verbally agreed to a 3-month “working relationship”.

A management agreement makes an artist manager and an artist accountable to each other via the agreement’s details on paper.

What are the role and responsibilities of the manager? What are the role and responsibilities of the artist?

How can a “working relationship” be established without it being detailed?

It cannot.

REASON #2: Agreements manage expectations

Remmie got to work. I got to work.

He was filming videos and putting last-minute touches on his album.

I was talking with the distribution company’s marketing and press teams.

I was also reaching out to my radio and video contacts to give them a heads-up on who I was working with.

Remmie and I were working separately, but not together.

A management agreement explicitly details the expectations of the artist and of the artist manager.

While they are not exhaustive – expectations grow throughout an artist’s career – they work as a good baseline.

Even though we were both working, we weren’t working together.

Our communication was based on what we had done and what we were doing.

And our expectations were starting to differ.

"Without a management agreement, artist managers don’t have clients - they have dependents."

REASON #3: Agreements detail how you are compensated

I put in work for Remmie.

Every day, I was on the phone, sending emails, and on Zoom calls for his project.

I was preparing invoices, sent out press kits, and scheduling interviews.

All of this was under the verbally agreed 3-month working relationship.

A management agreement explicitly details what an artist manager would make (”commission”) for work during the term of the agreement.

The agreement will also include what is not commissionable (what an artist manager doesn’t get paid for).

The work I put in yielded paid opportunities after the album dropped.

I never saw any of that money.

REASON #4: Agreements protect from “injuries”

Two weeks before the “expiration” of our verbal agreement and a week after the release of his project, Remmie calls me.

He tells me that he feels that he wants to manage himself.

“I’m going in a different direction”, he says.

The agreement solidifies the working relationship between the artist and the artist manager.

A management agreement is designed to protect both parties – the artist and artist manager – from injuring one another.

I did 3 months of work, contributed to Remmie’s album charting on iTunes and Billboard, and had no client.

3 months at 25 hours a week for a total of 300 hours.

All for free.

Not having an agreement in place put me in a position of loss and regret.

Artist managers are professionals that conduct business on behalf of their clients.

Agreements help them to be accountable and responsible to do.

Without a management agreement, artist managers don’t have clients – they have dependents.

I really hope that my story helps you understand the need to be professional in working with an artist client – or any client – for that matter.

See you next week.

If you’d like access to the FREE artist management agreement templates, you can get them here –> Management Templates

Whenever you’re ready, here are two ways I can help you:

1. I’m offering a Growth Strategy Session. Let’s put together a growth strategy for your and/or your client’s business for FREE.

2. I’m also conducting a FREE Systems Audit to see what systems you are using and optimize them.

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