Artist Management Contracts Explained [+ Free Sample Template]

musician signing management contract

What Exactly Is an Artist Management Contract?

The music industry is a complex beast, full of opportunities but equally rife with pitfalls. A handshake or verbal agreement simply won’t cut it when you’re playing for keeps. 

An Artist Management Contract serves as your legal safety net, ensuring that both you and your manager know exactly what’s expected. From how you’ll be promoted to how the money flows, it puts everything in black and white. It’s not just about protecting your interests; it’s about setting the stage for a harmonious working relationship, where everyone knows their lines and cues.

In this article, we dissect the most important parts of an Artist Management Contract in an easy-to-understand, jargon-free way.

Looking for the free sample Artist Management Contract? Download the link below and check out our article to get the ins and outs.

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Scope of Management: What’s In and What’s Out

When it comes to the management of your musical career, not all contracts are created equal. The scope of your Artist or Band Management Contract can range from a laser-focused set of tasks to a broad spectrum of responsibilities. For example, your manager’s professional activities could span booking and scheduling gigs, negotiating contracts and deals, managing your public relations and media outreach, and even overseeing your marketing and social media strategy.

The geographical scope is another crucial element. Will your manager represent you locally, nationally, or even internationally? Knowing the territorial limits can prevent any future discord, especially if you’re eyeing gigs beyond your home turf.

Then there’s the question of sub-management and delegation. Can your manager outsource certain tasks to industry specialists or hire a co-manager for overseas territories? Perhaps they might collaborate with PR agencies or legal advisors on your behalf.

In essence, the contract defines the boundaries and spells out the activities your manager will oversee. It sets limits on their authority, right down to specifics like whether they can negotiate endorsement deals for you. It’s crucial to delineate these details in the contract to avoid any ‘lost in translation’ moments later on. By being this detailed, you’re setting the stage for a transparent and accountable management relationship.

The Manager’s To-Do List

Obligations and Responsibilities

Managing a band or artist isn’t a one-note job; it’s a multifaceted role that demands expertise in various domains. So, what exactly should be on your manager’s to-do list? Let’s break it down.

Career Development

First off, your manager should be fully invested in your career growth. This means not just booking gigs, but also strategising on how to elevate your brand. They might even help you collaborate with other artists, bands, producers, and songwriters to enrich your music portfolio. Got your eye on a music award or a record label contract? Your manager should be the one making those dreams actionable plans.

Money Matters

Managing finances is another key area. Your manager will likely handle everything from negotiating payment terms for gigs and endorsements to ensuring you’re paid promptly. They may also have a role in financial planning, helping you decide how to reinvest in your career or even save for a rainy day. They’re the one who makes sure the numbers add up so you can focus on the music.

Public Relations and Image Management

Last but not least, let’s talk PR. Your manager should be adept at managing your public image. This could mean anything from handling media interviews to crafting press releases and managing your social media profiles. In today’s digital age, a single social media post can make or break a career, and your manager should be savvy enough to navigate these waters skillfully.

In a nutshell, your manager wears many hats. They’re not just your booking agent; they’re your career strategist, financial advisor, and PR guru rolled into one. And all of this should be explicitly outlined in your Artist Management Contract to ensure everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet.

Your Side of the Deal

What’s Expected from the Artist

Being the star of the show doesn’t mean you get to leave all the heavy lifting to your manager. An Artist Management Contract is a two-way street, outlining not just what your manager will do for you, but also what’s expected from you in return. So, what should be on your to-do list? Let’s get into it.

Availability and Responsibilities

Your time is your most valuable asset. The contract should specify your availability for gigs, recording sessions, and promotional activities. Can your manager book gigs for you on weekdays, or are you only free on weekends? The more detailed you are here, the fewer scheduling clashes you’ll face later on.

Financial Contributions

Most management contracts require the artist to cover certain expenses. This could be anything from studio time to tour expenses, and even promotional material. Clear guidelines on what you’re financially responsible for can prevent awkward conversations down the line. Are you expected to chip in for a publicist or cover the costs of your own stage gear? Make sure it’s in the contract.

Public Image and Reputation

Lastly, your public image isn’t just your manager’s responsibility; it’s yours too. The contract might outline expected behaviour on social media, during interviews, and even in your personal life to some extent. The goal is to maintain an image that aligns with your brand and appeals to your fan base.

In sum, the Artist Management Contract isn’t just about what you can expect to receive; it’s about what you’re expected to give. From your time and money to maintaining your public image, you’ve got skin in the game too. Make sure the contract reflects that, and you’re setting the stage for a successful partnership.

Money Talk

Commission and Payments

Ah, the part everyone secretly dreads but absolutely can’t avoid: talking money. A crucial section of any Artist Management Contract is the financial arrangement between you and your manager. This isn’t just about what you’ll pay them, but how and when that money will change hands. Let’s dive into the details.

How Much Is Your Manager Worth?

First things first, how much commission is your manager entitled to? This is usually a percentage of your earnings from various revenue streams, and it could range anywhere from 10% to 20%, or even more depending on the scope of their responsibilities. Get this down in writing to avoid any future disputes.

When and How You Pay Up

Next, the contract should specify the payment schedule. Are commissions to be paid monthly, quarterly, or on a gig-to-gig basis?

Revenue Streams Subject to Commission

It’s crucial to define which of your revenue streams are subject to commission. Is it just the money from live performances, or does it also include earnings from merchandise, royalties, and even crowdfunding campaigns? The more detailed this section, the less room there is for misunderstanding.

To put it plainly, when it comes to money, clarity is king. The contract should leave no room for ambiguity about who gets paid, how much, and when. This ensures that when the cash starts rolling in, everyone knows exactly where it’s rolling to.

Option and Renewal Clauses

The Fine Print on Extending the Partnership

Now, what happens when you and your manager hit it off, and you’re keen to extend this harmonious business relationship? That’s where the option and renewal clauses come into play. While not the headline act of an Artist Management Contract, these clauses are the unsung heroes that could shape your career’s trajectory. Let’s break it down:

The Option to Renew

Many contracts come with an ‘option’ clause that allows either party to extend the agreement for a further period. This might be triggered automatically, or it could require mutual consent. The clause should specify any conditions that must be met for the option to be exercised, such as achieving certain career milestones or revenue targets.

The Mechanics of Renewal

How exactly does the renewal process work? Will it require a whole new contract, or simply an addendum to the existing one? This should be clearly stated to avoid any confusion when the time comes.

In essence, option and renewal clauses offer a framework for how your professional relationship with your manager could continue in the future. While it’s easy to overlook these clauses amid the excitement of starting a new partnership, they could be instrumental in how your career unfolds. So, pay attention to the fine print; it might just set the stage for an encore.

Performance Metrics and Targets

Goals and Milestones in Management

While music may be an art, the business of managing it is very much a science, governed by metrics, KPIs, and good old-fashioned goals. That’s why any Artist Management Contract worth its salt should have a section on performance metrics and targets. This isn’t about stifling creativity; it’s about creating a roadmap to success that both you and your manager can navigate.

Defining the Goals

What do you want to achieve with your manager’s help? Whether it’s landing a record deal, hitting a certain number of streams, or selling out a tour, these objectives should be stated clearly in the contract. They serve as common goals that both parties are committed to achieving.

Milestones Matter

Goals are great, but how do you know you’re on the right path? Milestones act as signposts, marking significant progress toward your bigger objectives. These could be intermediary steps like securing your first paid gig, getting featured in a prominent music blog, or hitting a specific number of social media followers.

By defining performance metrics and setting targets, you’re not just hoping for the best; you’re planning for it. These clauses give both you and your manager something concrete to aim for, adding a layer of accountability to your working relationship.

Approvals and Consents

Who Gets the Final Say?

In the dynamic world of music, not all decisions can be planned in advance. Sometimes opportunities (or problems) pop up that require quick, decisive action. But who gets to make those calls? The Approvals and Consents section of your Artist Management Contract sets the stage for decision-making, outlining who has the authority to give the nod or wave the red flag.

Decision-making Authority

In most cases, the manager acts on behalf of the artist, but there are limits. Can your manager accept a gig or sign a promotional deal without your consent? Or do you prefer to have the final say on certain matters, such as creative direction or collaborations? This needs to be crystal clear in the contract.

Veto Power

Then there’s the question of veto power. Are there scenarios where you, as the artist, have the absolute right to override a decision made by your manager? Conversely, are there situations where the manager’s decision should be final?

This section is all about balance, giving each party enough room to manoeuvre while setting boundaries to prevent overreach. It adds another layer of complexity to your professional relationship, but it’s crucial for avoiding misunderstandings and potential conflicts down the line.

Exit Plan

Termination and What Comes After

Let’s face it, not all relationships stand the test of time, and that includes professional partnerships in the music industry. It’s essential to plan for the possibility of parting ways, and that’s what the Exit Plan section of your Artist Management Contract is all about. Think of it as the pre-nup of your professional life. Here’s what it should cover.

Grounds for Splitting Up

What are the deal-breakers that could lead to the termination of your contract? This could be anything from failure to meet performance metrics to misconduct. Be specific about what constitutes grounds for a breakup so that if the time comes, both parties know the score.

Financial Settling

Ending a management relationship also often involves settling accounts. Who gets what, and how is it calculated? For instance, will the manager be entitled to a percentage of revenue from projects initiated during their tenure, even if the money comes in after the split? These financial clauses can get intricate, so be as clear as possible to avoid future disputes.

Intellectual Property and Licences

Last but definitely not least, what happens to the intellectual property? Who retains the rights to any music, branding, or promotional material created during the partnership? Make sure the contract spells out these details to prevent any legal wrangling down the line.

Breaking up is hard to do, but a well-crafted Exit Plan can make the process a lot smoother for both parties. It defines the how, why, and what of ending your professional relationship, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Special Provisions

The Small Print That’s Big News

You’ve heard the saying, “The devil is in the details,” right? Well, the Special Provisions section of your Artist Management Contract is where those details come to light. These might seem like minor clauses, but they can have a major impact on your working relationship. Let’s dive in.

Exclusivity and Non-Compete

Exclusivity clauses can tie you to a manager for the duration of the contract, preventing you from seeking management services elsewhere. Non-compete clauses could restrict your manager from representing artists who could be seen as your direct competition. These clauses can have long-term implications, so tread carefully.

Governing Law

Every contract is subject to the laws of a particular jurisdiction. Whether it’s the laws of England or another country, knowing the legal framework that governs your contract can be essential if disputes arise.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

In the age of social media, where news travels fast, confidentiality is more important than ever. Your manager will be privy to sensitive information about your career, finances, and perhaps even your personal life. A confidentiality clause ensures that what’s discussed in the boardroom stays in the boardroom.

While they may appear to be afterthoughts, these special provisions can be the linchpin of your Artist Management Contract. They cover the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘just-in-cases’ that you might not think of but definitely should. Reading the small print now could save you from big headaches later.

Conflict Resolution

When Things Don’t Go Smoothly

Even with the most watertight contract, disputes can arise. No one likes to think about conflicts, especially when entering into a new, exciting partnership. But it’s better to have a plan and not need it than to need it and not have one. Here’s how the Conflict Resolution section of your Artist Management Contract can serve as your safety net.

Mediation and Arbitration

Before things escalate to the courtroom, most contracts suggest alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. Mediation involves a neutral third party helping to facilitate a resolution, while arbitration is a bit more formal, often involving a legally binding decision made by an arbitrator. Specifying this in the contract can save both time and money.

If all else fails and you end up in court, what legal remedies are available? This could range from monetary damages to specific performance (forcing the other party to fulfil their contractual obligations). Knowing what’s on the table can influence how both parties behave throughout the life of the contract.

The Conflict Resolution section is essentially your contingency plan. It outlines the steps to take and the rules to follow if things get heated. While it’s a section you hope never to use, its presence provides a clear path to resolving issues and ideally maintaining the professional relationship.

Liability and Indemnification

Protecting Your Interests

In the realm of music and management, things can go south without warning. Perhaps a gig doesn’t go as planned, or there’s a mishap with copyrighted material. That’s where the Liability and Indemnification clauses come in. They’re not the most glamorous part of an Artist Management Contract, but they’re vital for safeguarding your interests.

Liability Limits

This section outlines the extent to which each party is liable for any issues that may arise. For example, if a gig is cancelled for reasons beyond your control, are you still responsible for your manager’s commission? Setting these boundaries can prevent unnecessary tension and legal action.


Simply put, indemnification is about compensation for harm or loss. This clause specifies the conditions under which one party must compensate the other for any damages or losses incurred. It’s like an insurance policy embedded within your contract, offering an extra layer of protection.

While they might not be the star of the show, Liability and Indemnification clauses are crucial players behind the scenes. They help ensure that even if things go awry, the legal and financial consequences can be managed smoothly, allowing you to focus on what you do best: making music.

Force Majeure

The Unforeseeable and the Unavoidable

In the world of live gigs, studio sessions, and endless promotion, you’d think you’ve seen it all. But what about those events that no one sees coming? We’re talking natural disasters, pandemics, or even political upheaval. The Force Majeure clause is the legal industry’s equivalent of a plot twist, covering you when the unpredictable happens.

Defining Force Majeure

The first step is defining what actually qualifies as a force majeure event. Is it just natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, or does it extend to other unforeseen events like strikes and lockdowns? The broader the definition, the more coverage you have, but it’s a double-edged sword. Both parties need to agree on what counts.

Obligations During Unforeseen Events

The next part outlines what happens to the contractual obligations when a force majeure event occurs. Is the contract paused, or are certain clauses nullified? Maybe the manager still needs to scout for digital opportunities even if live events are off the table.

Resuming Normal Service

The clause should specify how and when normal service will resume once the force majeure event has passed. Will there be a grace period to get things back on track, or is it back to business as usual immediately?

Force Majeure clauses are like the emergency exits of your Artist Management Contract. You hope you’ll never need them, but if you do, you’ll be glad they’re there. They provide a legal framework for navigating the totally unexpected, letting you focus on the music, not the mayhem.

Record Keeping and Audits

Transparency in Transactions

In a business where money flows from multiple streams—gigs, merchandise, streaming royalties, and more—keeping track of it all can be a Herculean task. Enter the Record Keeping and Audits section of your Artist Management Contract. This isn’t just about keeping the taxman happy; it’s about maintaining a transparent and trustful relationship between you and your manager.

Documentation is Key

First and foremost, this clause sets out the requirement for maintaining accurate and comprehensive financial records. This could include invoices, receipts, contracts, and any other documentation that relates to your professional activities. It’s not just good practice; it’s often a legal requirement.

Right to Audit

But what if you have suspicions or simply want to ensure that everything’s above board? The right to audit clause allows you, or a representative, to inspect the financial records related to your career. This can usually be done at any reasonable time and often requires advance notice.

Reconciliation and Discrepancies

The contract should also specify what happens if discrepancies are found during an audit. Will there be immediate reconciliation, or is there a process for resolving disputes over the figures?

Transparency is the backbone of any good working relationship, and it’s no different in the music industry. The Record Keeping and Audits section ensures that both parties are held accountable, making for a smoother and more harmonious professional journey.

Don’t Just Sign, Seal It

Finalising Your Contract

So, you’ve combed through the legalese and negotiated terms, and you’re ready to make it official. Not so fast. The act of finalising your Artist Management Contract is a ceremony that deserves its own set of guidelines. After all, this is the document that will guide your professional relationship for the foreseeable future.

The Must-Have Professional Advice

Before you put pen to paper, it’s crucial to consult a music industry solicitor. This isn’t about sowing distrust; it’s about due diligence. A solicitor can flag any red flags or potential pitfalls that you might have overlooked. They can also ensure that the contract aligns with current laws and industry standards.

Documentation and Witnesses

Once you’re ready to sign, make sure it’s done correctly. The contract should be printed and signed by all relevant parties, with each receiving a copy for their records. For an added layer of legality, consider having the signing witnessed by a neutral third party. This can be especially useful if disputes arise later on.

Finalising the contract is more than just a formality; it’s the foundation of your future working relationship. By taking the time to do it right, you’re setting the stage for a partnership that’s built on trust, transparency, and a shared vision for success.

Sample Contract

Artist Management Contract Sample Download

You’ve made it through the labyrinth of clauses, terms, and legal jargon—congratulations! But we’ve got one more treat for you: a downloadable Sample Artist Management Contract to serve as your blueprint for success. Consider it your cheat sheet that you can use as a starting point to tailor a contract that suits your specific needs.

But remember, this is only a sample, and you should always get a contract looked at by a lawyer before signing.

Download Sample Contract

Your Career, Now Legally Bulletproof

With your newfound knowledge and our downloadable sample contract, you’re not just stepping into the industry; you’re making a grand entrance, legally bulletproof and ready for whatever comes your way.

Whether you’re an up-and-coming artist or a seasoned pro, understanding the ins and outs of these contracts is invaluable. It sets the stage for a relationship built on clarity, trust, and mutual success. In an industry known for its unpredictability, your contract serves as your steadfast anchor, keeping you grounded as you reach for the stars.

Ready to rock the next chapter of your music career?