Setting Up Your “Dream Team” Part 2

 In Entertainment Law Articles, Music Law

In the last article, we discussed two key players on your entertainment career “dream team” who will help you get that “Grammy” or “Oscar” one day – the artist manager and the entertainment lawyer.  In this article, we discuss to other key players that you need on your entertainment career “dream team,” – the “talent agent” and the “business manager.”

  • Talent Agent:  Together with your artist manager, who’s devised and implemented a great marketing plan for your first EP and your entertainment lawyer who’s made sure all the paperwork with your producers and guest feature artists are negotiated and signed, you’ve got a great “buzz” in the Entertainment Industry.  You’re blowing up so much that several talent agents are calling you offering to “book” live performance dates for you in various clubs around your region.  This is great news because the right talent agent can help you turn your “buzz” into “money” by getting you paid performances and even endorsement/sponsorship opportunities.  A talent agent is a person (or a talent agency) who solicits and procures employment opportunities for you in the Entertainment Industry.  They are usually licensed by the state in which they’re doing business especially if based in New York or California and in exchange for getting you employment, they receive a percentage of the gross fee that you’re paid.  Not only can a good talent agent get you paid live performance gigs in clubs, small to mid-size venues and arenas (when you become that superstar performer!), they can also get you employment opportunities in movies, television, commercials as well as endorsement and sponsorship deals.

In looking for a talent agent to represent you, get recommendations and check their experience and track record especially with recording artists in your particular music genre.  That’s important because if you’re a hip hop artist, it would be difficult working with a talent agent who specializes in booking country music artists.  As mentioned earlier, talent agents typically get paid a commission of 10% of your gross performance fee or guarantee.  Although it may be unavoidable if you’re a new artist, try to avoid signing exclusively to a talent agent or talent agency.  It’s better to sign a non-exclusive talent agreement so that other talent agents can compete in getting you paid engagements or opportunities.  They’ll be more motivated to hustle up work for you if other agents are in the mix.  Whichever talent agent gets you the best paid opportunities or makes you the most money might be the one you consider eventually signing exclusively to.

  • Business Manager:  Now that you’re successfully touring the country and getting paid, it’s time to consider hiring the fourth key member of your entertainment career “dream team” – the business manager.  Since you’re never home these days, somebody has to pay your bills and make sure Uncle Sam gets paid come April 15th!  A good business manager’s job is to oversee your financial and business affairs.  He or she can be an individual or work for a company and will maintain your various business entities (i.e., corporations or LLCs) and most importantly, will make sure your taxes are filed and paid to the IRS.  A business manager will assist you in creating a budget and paying your bills so long as you require them to provide you with a monthly accounting statement detailing who or what is being paid.  In some instances, you may even want to be notified by the business manager before bills or invoices are being paid or checks are being cut or you may want to personally sign off on all checks before they’re sent out.  Remember, it’s your money and at the end of the day it’s up to you to know or be aware of how it’s being spent!  Obviously, you want to make sure that the business manager is honest and has an excellent reputation because he or she will be handling your hard-earned cash.  A good business manager will have the experience (preferably in the Entertainment Industry), the credentials (are they a C.P.A. [Certified Public Accountant] or work with a reputable one?), the track record (successful clients) and great recommendations.

Business managers will usually charge an hourly fee or will charge a percentage of your gross income under management, usually no more than 5%.  Please note however, that a business manager is not a financial advisor.  A financial advisor is licensed to advise you about preserving and growing your wealth by investing in stocks, bonds, etc.  A business manager generally isn’t licensed to provide you with investment advice although they may be able to recommend financial advisors to you.  Financial advisors get paid either a flat fee or a commission on whatever financial product they sell you or a combination of both.  In order to preserve or grow your wealth, at some point, you will need the services of a financial advisor on your team also.

As an artist, there will be other players that will join your team.  Stylists, hair and make-up professionals, vocal coach, personal trainer, etc. are all potential members of your entertainment career “dream team,” but the “core four” – artist manager, entertainment lawyer, talent agent and business manager are the “starting four” of your entertainment career “dream team!”  Choose them wisely!


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  • Christian

    Is there a payment plan on the artist submission package?

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