When you sign a music management contract, one of the most important details is the percentage that your music manager gets. This is taken from your gross income, not your net income. This means they take a percentage before any deductions or expenses are taken out of your earnings.
If you’re not careful, you could end up signing away more of your earnings than you anticipated. Before signing a music management contract, take a moment to learn more about the pay that your manager receives. First, you need to realize that there is no standard definition of what it means to be a music manager. The position can vary based on the needs of the band and the structure of your support team.
For example, you may have a manager that manages all important decisions, such as booking gigs, working with record executives, and handling promotional work. Or, you may have a music manager that is just one part of your music management team. This can have a direct impact on how much your music manager earns.
Along with the exact role of your music manager, the current level of success for your band can have an impact on the percentage that your manager gets.
Music Managers for New Bands
If your band is relatively new or inexperienced, you can expect your music manager to get between 15 and 25 percent of the cut. They will also be reimbursed for their travel expenses and out-of-pocket spending on things related to managing your career.
The more responsibility that your band has, and the more help that you need, the more they will earn. If they are responsible for all of the business-side decisions, the percentage may be closer to 20 or 25 percent.
Music Managers for Intermediate Bands
If you have some level of success, then you may require a larger music management team. Instead of just working with a music manager, you may have a road manager or someone that is in charge of promotional work. These additional positions are roles that a music manager would typically handle on their own, for a new band.
So, depending on the structure of your music management team, the salary for these additional positions may come directly out of the percentage that your manager earns. In essence, they are paying out of their earnings in order to expand their support team and delegate tasks. You can still expect your music manager to take 25 percent of your earnings. But, the salary for additional support staff will come out of this percentage.
Music Managers for Established Bands
If your band is already successful, with record deals and a large fan base, then the structure of your music management team may change. As with an intermediate band, you may also have a booking agent. Though, this may be separate from the music manager position.
When you have a booking agent and a music manager, their earnings may be determined separately. For example, your booking agent may take between 10 and 15 percent of your earnings while your music manager earns a similar percentage.
Working with a Music Management Company
In some situations, you may find yourself working with a music management company, instead of an individual band manager. These companies may work with a new band and start with a lower percentage. They could ask for between 10 to 15 percent of your earnings and then add a clause to the contract increasing this amount as your band becomes more successful.
Final Thoughts on Paying Your Music Manager
An experienced music manager should be properly compensated. But, you still need to make a living. Before signing a contract, it is absolutely essential that you review the percentage that your manager will earn. Also, don’t forget about additional expenses.
You will need to pay for travel and out-of-pocket costs. If you feel that you’re getting the short end of the stick, then you should work with a lawyer, or someone with experience in the music industry, in order to review the contract. A contract is a legally binding document. Once you sign your name, you are obliged to follow the details of the contract.
Your manager can earn anywhere between 15 and 25 percent of your earnings. This is fairly standard. Other details that you should look into include the length of the contract and the continuation of payments to your manager after the contract ends. Yes, you read that correctly – your manager can continue to collect a percentage of your earnings after the contract ends.
They’ll still earn money from deals that they put together during the length of the contract. Before signing a contract, make sure that you’re ready for a music manager. Watch this short video in order to learn if you really need a music manager:
In addition to these suggestions, we’ve got more tips for you to use to advance your career. Check out our guide – Music Management for Indie Artists. This comprehensive book provides hundreds of tips to help you navigate your music career successfully.