Drummer Talk 271 – Agents and Managers 301

Prof. Troy covers band managers on today’s episode.


From James: I love Drummer Talk and have been listening for years. I want to go back to the very first episode you have available and download and listen to them—one by one, and in order— but I can’t figure out how to get to the very first episode in the archives and begin the process of downloading. Is there a link that will get me to this first episode? Thanks very much!

From Craig: Hey, guys! Loving all the information from Troy on the different management sources for bands and artist. The inspiration that your show gives is priceless. Since listening to your shows I have started playing Tama drums (starclassic). Started building custom drums, started making custom drum wraps, and becoming more involved with the local music scene. I can’t wait to see where your inspiration leads me next! Great jobs guys, Craig. Check out my Facebook pages for the drums.


Topic Notes

When To Hire A Manager
Just before or just after signing a record deal or a major contract.

The Role of the Personal manager

  • Advise and counsel the band/artist in all aspects. Think COO of a corporation

The areas that a manager should have experience in are. Touring, Project Management, Income, Contracts/Licensing, legal issues, strategy and visioning.

Artist Development ( think producer meets manager )

  • Objective eye on the band/artist sound, image, performance etc.
  • Objectively identify choke points in the artist development. IE weak musicianship or song writing skills and providing solutions
  • Provide objective improvements to live performances and strategies to create a smooth product.

Business development / Procurement

  • General meetings: getting meetings with . Labels, talent agencies, publishing, graphic/web development, legal, and other entities
  • Researching and validating suitability of the previous said individuals and professionals
  • Working in collaboration with other professional in your team. Ie legal council, talent agencies, graphic/digital media etc.

All Aspects from start to finish project management

  • Creating the task to-do list for project
  • Managing tasks to completion
  • Making the work/work-in-progress and making it visible
  • Managing the Calendar IE Radio promotion, new media (Internet), sales and marketing
  • Organizing transportation to and from said events


  • Helping you find other team members: Business manager, Tour Manager, Talent Agent, etc.
  • Working with other members of your team: Business manager, Tour Manager, Talent Agent, etc.

Monitoring Physical / Mental Health

  • Being the ring of defense between the artist and the rest of the world

Types of management firms

Small start ups

  • A friend, a business person, club owner, etc.
  • The intern: because drummers cannot afford business managers they get free interns usually music students.

Mid level management firms ( Cam )

  • People with a large amount of experience/power or influence but have not been able to break a major artist like lady gaga
  • Usually have a well developed network in the industry and can get general meetings easily

Big Leagues ( Q Prime management )

  • A least a decade of experience and with a few phone calls can make things happen
  • These management companies are very well established but are able to take a bigger chunk of the pie

Management Contracts

  • Exclusivity: They will want to be the only company worldwide
  • Key Persons : The person who signed you to the company is your direct representative
  • Terms of the agreement: Year’s / Cycles / Tours /

Paying The Manager ( Commissions )

  • 10-30 % of gross earnings
  • Have a well defined contract that clearly spells out what constitutes gross income Ie recording advances.

Types of Payment Structures

  • Deferred: working for free until money flows
  • Escalation : starts at 10 or 15% then escalates to 20% as more income comes
  • De Escalation: starts at 20% then falls to “X” when more income is available


You must decide what is acceptable in terms of “reasonable expenses”

  • Typical expenses: transportation, mail, lodging, food ( within reason ) food for meetings,etc.
  • Do not allow: Rent, leases, office machines and equipment, car payments, entertainment memberships such as gyms/clubs etc.

Prorating & Limiting Expenses

  • Set monthly caps and single purchase maximums
  • Check the books monthly
  • Prorating: A manager has a big hit band with a larger budget. They then hide the AR expenses for their other bands they are shopping around by getting the more successful band to pay for it.
  • BK and the Montreal story

Resolving Disputes

  • Binding arbitration: the use of an impartial 3rd party arbitrator that imposes a resolution
  • Non- Binding Arbitration: impartial 3rd party arbitrator the determines liability
  • Mediation: 3rd party that tries to help everyone work through it.

Limited Power Of Attorney

  • What decisions can the manager make as to where or when the band band can play in case you are unreachable

Limited Power Of Attorney

Limiting the commission after the term of the contract expires

Music from this week’s Show

In closing…

  • Find out when new articles and next episodes hit by following us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/drummertalk) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/drummertalk)
  • Want to support Drummer Talk and help us to continue to bring news, reviews, articles, transcriptions, and videos to free to you? Please consider becoming a Drummer Talk patron. You can find out more information including patron rewards (like shout-outs, stickers, T-shirts, and more)  at drummertalk.org/support.  Patron levels start at just $1. Remember, every donation helps keep us on the air and ad free!
  • Have a topic suggestion or question for the show?  Let us know at www.drummertalk.org/contact

Next Week:  Agents and Managers 401

Thanks! You've already liked this