Artist Management: Manager’s Role, and What To Look For In A Management Contract

August 1, 2017

What Does An Artist Manager Do?


The phrase “music business” can be construed as an oxymoron. Suggesting that art is to be branded and sold for monetary gain, as opposed to sheer pleasure is difficult for some to digest. The role of an artist manager is to bridge the gap between creativity and business. This is a prime example of “specialization of labor”. The artist is left to perfect and execute their craft, and the manager is left to handle what they do best, which is making a profit.


It is my personal philosophy that a manager is not needed until the day-to-day business tasks are impeding the creative process of making music. However, if the talent is inept in business, finding a manager early on may be in their best interest.


The main goal of a manager is to represent the interests of the talent. They will help to brand and shop content to various different outlets in the music industry including, radio, retail, publicity, blogs, record distributors, record labels, etc.


A manager should either be well connected, or have a very strong passion and desire for the betterment of the business as a whole. The manager will generally be responsible for assembling a team that can tend to the different aspects of the career.


It is important to do your research on a manager in order to ensure that they have had a good track record with previous clients. Ask around and get second opinions.


The Management Contract


Once you have selected an artist manager that fits, it is time to enter into a contract. The fee of managers varies greatly, but most earn a commission of the net, or gross, income of the artist. Reasonable management contracts can allow the manager to earn up to 20% of the gross income – including record royalties, merchandising, touring, publishing income, etc.


Many times, there will be a “sunset clause” in the contract, which will specify the declining payments that the manager will receive in the event that the two parties cease to work together. This allows the artist to still earn payments for a few years from the work that he/she did while the two parties were in a working relationship.


It is important to have an entertainment business attorney review the contract before both parties sign it. Many artists have been taken advantage of as a result of not acquiring proper legal counsel.


About the Guest Blogger: 


Ed Wimp is an author, speaker, consultant, and owner of Wimp Entertainment. He is also a tour manager for R&B group Earth Wind and Fire. Ed's book "Building Fans, Fame & Wealth: The 18 Revenue Streams of Music" is a self-help work that is targeted at helping musicians to expand and diversify their income in their respective crafts.Social Media:, Twitter: @EdWimp, Instagram: @EdWimp

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