Music Management Contracts | The Basics | 1500 Sound Academy icon

Signing music management contracts is a big deal. You’re entering a business relationship with a person (or team) who could make or break your career. At the very least, you could end up wasting valuable time and dealing with some headaches if you choose the wrong person. At the same time, the right manager can catapult you to the big stage and beyond.

Yes, contracts are a big deal, but at the same time, they don’t need to be complicated. As long as you approach this step in your career with caution, your contract should prevent any major problems. After all, it’s hard to argue with a clear, concise document willingly signed by both parties! Here’s what you should know before you sign music management contracts.

Anyone Can Be a Manager

It’s easy to assume that if someone offers a contract, they must be legitimate. That’s not always the case. There’s more risk involved in hiring a manager than other team members because, unlike other industry roles like music agents or lawyers, managers aren’t required to be licensed. In other words, anyone with a slick haircut and a business card can claim the role.

The unfortunate truth is that there are people out there who use artists as stepping stones to further their own interests. If someone you don’t know well offers to manage your business and wants you to sign music management contracts, approach the deal with caution. You wouldn’t just hire some random person off the street without researching their background, right? Don’t be so allured by the prospect of management that you miss the warning signs.

Keep It Simple (For Now)

In the early stages of your career, all you really need is a basic piece of paper that covers money, time, and labor.

  • Money: Managers typically receive 15-20% of all of your earnings. Outline exactly who pays for what and who receives profit from what.
  • Time: A one-year agreement with the option to sign again is standard. Be clear about cancellation terms so everyone is (literally) on the same page if it’s time to part ways and break any music management contracts.
  • Labor: Outline what duties are expected of your manager. Be concise. For example, will they cover merch costs and recoup the money after sales? Or is that expense coming out of your pocket?

Make Sure the Contract Can Scale

While some artists and managers operate on good-faith handshake deals, signing the paperwork is an effective way to protect both parties involved. Even if your manager is your best friend, you never know what the future could bring. Consider adding provisions if your current contract isn’t scalable. For example, if you end up booking a major tour, your manager might expect to be paid more if they’re going to be on the road full-time.

Enroll at 1500 Sound Academy Today

Navigating music management contracts requires a background in the music business. Our music business classes equip you with the knowledge and skills that are necessary to make sound decisions as your sound grows. We offer on-campus and live online courses, and you can take our whole comprehensive music program or sign up for individual courses à la carte. Ready to apply? Take charge of your career and learn the business side of the industry with 1500 Sound Academy.