What Is an Artist and Manager Contract?

No matter how good an artist is on his or her craft, some things are just out of their reach, like managing themselves. With the pressure of making a name in the entertainment and music industry, it is somehow impossible for artists to deal with activities and opportunities alone. That is why it is important for them to have someone they can trust in boosting their careers. This is where an artist manager comes into play. Looking for a professional manager in the sea of aspiring ones is not easy. Hence, you have to pick one that you think is capable of handling your career. When working with a manager, you should discuss the terms and conditions using an artist management contract. An artist and manager contract is a written document that presents and defines the agreement between an artist and manager regarding services, commissions, rules, and responsibilities. It is an official document that legalizes and formalizes the agreement.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that the Agents and Managers for Artists and Performers industry have the highest employment level of 44.81 percent.

According to Statista, the Live Nation generated 421.71 US dollars in 2016 with its artist management business.

In the year 2021, the projected number of employees in the art, entertainment, and recreation industry amounted to 3.05 million, based on a Statista report.


Artist Manager: Roles and Responsibilities

Managing an artist is not that easy. There are a lot of responsibilities you need to take care of on behalf of the artist, from music promotions, booking shows, managing finances, interviews, etc. An artist manager is basically the backbone of an artist’s career. Without the help of these professionals, artists would not be able to make it to the top of the entertainment or music industry. To help you fully understand the significant role an artist manager plays in the success of an artist, we have broken down the diverse roles and responsibilities of an artist manager.

Gatekeeper and Spokesperson: The first important role an artist manager plays in the team is being the gatekeeper and spokesperson. An artist manager is responsible for representing the artist in public. By this, the manager reaches out to possible opportunities like partnerships and filters out career offers. The manager also makes small decisions, which sometimes artists are not aware of, to make the artists’ career successful—basically, the artist-manager relationship circles around trust. Next to the artist’s family and friends, the artist general manager is one of the closest people in an artist’s life.Team Engineer: Another role that an artist manager plays is the team engineer. They are responsible for coordinating the whole artist team. It happens when the artist’s career progresses, and partnerships with various people working on the different fields of the music industry have to be made. Doing this will have a great impact and long-lasting effect on the artists’ careers.Artistic Director: An artist manager’s responsibility as an artistic director is to coordinate music and video releases, tour and show strategies, and live performances. Artist managers are the final advisor for artists when dealing with the A&R, which stands for artists and repertoire. Managers are also responsible for looking for sponsorships from various companies that will help boost your career.Team Administrator: Lastly, artist managers are responsible for taking care of daily administrative tasks and errands related to the artist’s career. They make sure that everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Artist managers are also tasked with filling the gaps in the artist’s career, especially if the artist is still starting.

Artist and Manager Contract: Essential Elements

An artist and management written contract should outline the essential details about the working relationship of the artist and manager to ensure that both parties are on the same page. A detailed artist management agreement is also required to make sure that there are no conflicts in the future. Hence, an artist and manager contract must consist of the essential components to make the document accurate.

Duration of the Contract

One of the essential elements of an artist and manager contract is its duration. The duration of the contract may be for a specific number of years. Generally, the standard term for almost every artist and manager agreement lasts for one to three years. This timeframe gives the artist enough period to work with the manager to assess whether or not the manager has a professional and experienced management style. Moreover, they may have an extension agreement once both parties are certain to work again for another term.

Compensation of the Manager

Another important element that should be in an artist and manager contract is the payment. When it comes to the manager’s commission, the basic compensation is about 15 to 20 percent of the artist’s gross income. It should also be necessary to define what is commissionable and what is not. Furthermore, it is crucial to discuss the compensation for expenses that are related and connected to the artist’s career, such as travel and accommodation. 

Managers Scope of Services

Next to include in a formal artist and manager contract is the manager’s scope of services. By this, it is important to discuss what the manager is required to do during his or her term. These responsibilities are, of course, related to managing your career. Make sure to discuss each responsibility with your manager so that you both can agree on it.

How to Make an Artist and Manager Contract

The artist and manager contract is a necessary document that must be present before an artist and manager begin their partnership. Just like any other management agreement, the artist and manager contract outlines and defines terms that both parties must follow. So,  if you are about to work with a manager, you have to secure a formal and accurate contract first. Below are simple guidelines on how to make a professional artist and manager contract.

Step 1: Determine the Parties Involved

Basically, an artist and manager contract is a document that presents the exclusive agreement between the artist and the manager. So, to start with, you need to fill out basic information about the people involved in the contract. This section includes names, titles, and contact information.

Step 2: Identify the Contract Duration

Once you have already stated information about the parties involved, the next thing you need to do is to identify how long the contract will last. Is it a short-term or long-term contract? Typically, contracts would start from the short term to see whether or not both parties are compatible with working together. If so,  you may extend the duration of the contract.

Step 3: Define Roles and Responsibilities

Next is to define the roles and responsibilities the manager plays in your team. Discuss in your artist and manager contract the services that the manager will provide for you until the contract ends. You may present each in bullet points to organize your ideas effectively. Nonetheless, make sure that both you and the manager are on the same page with this one.

Step 4: Discuss the Compensation

After the roles and responsibilities, the next thing you need to present in your artist and manager contract is the manager’s compensation. How much percentage of your income will go to your manager? The basic rate for managers is 15 to 20 percent of the artist’s income. However, for some experienced and established managers, they usually get more than that.

Step 5: Discuss the Termination of Contract

In this section, you have to discuss the grounds for the contract’s termination and what happens during the process. Usually, the termination of the contract is due to the manager’s failure to handle his or her role and responsibility in the team. Make sure also to provide details about how the termination process goes.

Step 6: Secure a Signature

Now that you have already presented all the terms and conditions in your artist and manager contract, the last thing you need to do is to secure a signature from both parties. However, you have to make sure that you and your soon-to-be manager have agreed to everything written in the contract. This is to ensure that there are no misunderstandings and conflicts once you both start working.


Is an artist and manager contract legally binding?

Yes, an artist and manager contract is legally binding. That is why it is essential to think things through and pay attention to the statements written in the artist and management contract before signing it.

Is a manager necessary for artists to have?

Yes. As a recording or visual artist with a developing career, there are thousands of career opportunities and offers that will come to you. And sometimes, these opportunities come with several responsibilities that are way out of your control. So, the role of an artist manager is to attend to those responsibilities.

What is the average commission of managers?

The basis of the artist manager’s commission depends on the specific needs of an artist. It also depends on the manager’s status. If the manager is well-known and well-experienced in the industry, he or she tends to receive a higher rate. However, the most common average commission of talent managers is 15 percent.

How long should an artist and manager contract last?

The standard length of an artist and manager contract is a good three years. But, the artist contract can also last until five years, depending on the case by case basis. By this, an artist tends to extend the contract once he or she is compatible with the manager.

It is undeniably true that managers play an important role in an artist’s successful career. Whether you are just starting up with your career, it is always a great start to have someone who will manage it. It is also essential to discuss matters before you both start to work together. And this is where you make use of an artist and manager contract—a written document that enables you to outline terms and scope of work. If you need one, you may check out our posted sample templates.