1. Who is the manager?
You will need to investigate the identity of the manager, his/her expertise, financial status and standing in the industry. A good manager is worth their weight in gold, a bad manager can end up doing a lot of damage to an artist's career. Talk to the other artists that have been represented by the manager find out what their experiences have been. If relationships have turned sour, find out why.
2. How long is the contract for?
a) Consider the term of the agreement, do not lock yourself into an agreement which could prove to be unproductive.
b) Impose conditions on the manager to ensure s/he obtains a recording agreement with a major record company within say, the first twelve months of any management term, check if s/he has a clause that gives you the opportunity to get out of the contract if you want to.
c) After the second year ensure that a reasonable income level has been reached so that if you are not earning a certain sum of money you can again get out.
Do not enter into a long term agreement. Three years is usually right and in some cases up to five years may be acceptable. Do not agree to a roll over term as this may lead to bad habits. The management situation should be reconsidered at some point from both the artist's and the manager's point of view.
3. How much money does the manager get paid?
Consider the percentage payable to a manager. Twenty per cent is the norm although established artists often agree to pay only fifteen percent.
4. How does the manager calculate his/her commission or wages?
Understand the basis upon which commission is calculated.
Managers should not commission recording costs, video costs, producers' advances and royalties, recoupable tour support and the like. Managers should not commission live work on a gross basis (before costs have been taken out) but on a net basis (after costs have been taken out) so that the artist does not make a greater loss than he or she is making in the normal course of events, due to the management commission. Always limit live management commission to income earned after the cost of PA, lights and agents have been paid.
5. What happens when the contract ends?
Consider how management commission is considered after the end of the term. Managers should only earn income after the end of the term on recordings made and compositions composed during the management period and there should be a cut off point at some point in the future. In any event full management commission should no longer apply after the end of the management agreement, there should be a reduction tailing off at some time completely.
6. Who keeps track of the money?
Consider the accounting provisions. Make sure that if the manager does collect your money s/he keeps proper books and records, s/he keeps personal money in a separate back account from that of the artist which bears interest and that the artist has the right to inspect the manager's books.
7. Who is employing whom?
The manager is employed by the artist and not vice versa. You can consider the manager having all of the artist's income paid to the artist or their accountant who will then pay the manager.
8. How can the artist keep artistic control or get out of the contract?
Put in clauses obliging the manager to do certain things on the artist's behalf which would enable the artist to break the contract if the manager did not comply. Clauses such as full consultation clauses, abiding by the artist's wishes and aspirations clauses and the like are important.
9. Whose Lawyer should the manager use when negotiating on behalf of the artist?
Ensure that the manager is in liaison with the artist's professional advisers, accountants and solicitors so that the artist retains control over the artist's affairs.
10. What about the manager's expenses?
Consider the question of expenses. Managers should not have carte blanche to spend the artist's money, there should be a financial limit on expenses and the manager should not be able to spend money unless it is reasonable, necessary and exclusively incurred on the artist's behalf.