Effective Negotiation Strategies in the Entertainment Industry

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Negotiating agreements in the film, television, or music industries requires a fundamental understanding of your objectives and industry-specific knowledge. Unfortunately, many clients who are conducting negotiations do not have the experience, ability, or know-how that the people or entities they are negotiating with do.

This is when the services of an entertainment attorney can be invaluable. These attorneys will wind up playing several roles, including that of a business consultant, educator, and negotiator for their client.  Keep reading for some helpful tips and negotiating strategies for when negotiating entertainment contracts.

Limit the Initial Term of the Management Agreement

Managers will try to “lock-in” artists to a management agreement for as long as they can. Usually, there is a longer “initial term” in the agreement for it to remain in force. Sometimes, this can be for up to five years. During this initial term, the artist does not have an “easy out” if they are not thrilled with the manager’s services.

Most attorneys, including John Branca, recommend that an artist shorten the contract’s initial term, especially in situations where they have never worked with the manager before. Suppose an artist wants to move on to another manager after the initial term has passed. In that case, they can do this easily, instead of getting into a lengthy and expensive legal battle while trying to break the contract early.

John Branca on Being a Music Lawyer from John Branca on Vimeo.

Limit the Reach of Career Management Provided to an Artist

If you work in the music industry, finding a manager who is skilled in managing musicians as an exclusive manager for possible modeling or acting careers in the future is not the best move. However, most managers want the exclusive right to manage an artist’s activities throughout the entertainment industry. If you are working to appoint a new manager with the skills to manage artists in a single field of the entertainment industry, this is the only field where they should be managing the artist’s activities.

If an artist takes up acting in the future, they can find a manager that has the skillset to manage actors. This is better than being forced to use the manager for their music career.

Use the Services of a Professional Bookkeeper

The purpose of a management agreement is to outline how the manager will handle the day-to-day activities of an artist and how the artist’s finances are managed. This is due to the manager being paid a set commission from the earnings an artist receives.

In most cases, it is necessary to have a separate bank account to deposit an artist’s earnings. The manager will usually want to serve as the bookkeeper for this bank account for a smaller artist. In this case, the manager will have almost complete control of the funds that come out of the account while interested in the funds being used to pay the commission and other related expenses.

When it comes to negotiating agreements, it is good to keep the negotiation strategies and information here in mind. This will help ensure the desired results for the contract are achieved.


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