A&R and Manager Advice

Music Industry Managers Scam Artists

Music Industry Managers Scam Artists

The music industry, like any other, is not free from unscrupulous individuals seeking to take advantage of both budding and established artists. Many artists have fallen victim to managers who act as middlemen, promising to strike gold but bringing only grief and hardship. Most of these so-called managers act under the guise of providing services such as promotion and marketing or promise to open doors to prominent producers and labels. Let's delve into how these scams work and find the best ways to avoid them.

Understanding Manager Scams

The prevalent music industry manager scams usually involve unfair contracts, upfront fees, false promises, and lack of transparency.

Unfair Contracts

Many fake managers compel artists to sign contracts where most earnings go to the manager. They often use legal jargon to confuse the artist, followed by high-pressure tactics to get the contract signed quickly.

Upfront Fees

While some managers may require a small upfront fee, extortionate costs are a red flag. Scam artists often ask for a huge amount of money upfront for "promotional activities", with vague or overblown promises of success. When the payment is made, they are often unreachable or unresponsive.

False Promises

Fake managers usually promise connections to big labels, lucrative gigs, or high-profile collaborations. But without a credible track record, these are usually hollow promises designed to lure artists into a financial trap.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

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Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

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Lack of Transparency

Scam managers are often very secretive about their activities, making it hard for artists to gauge where their careers are heading. They typically avoid giving straight answers and instead confuse artists with industry lingo and vague statements.

Identifying and Avoiding Scams

Knowledge and diligence are your main defense against scams. Here are some tips to escape the trap of scam managers:

  • Conduct thorough background checks on potential managers before signing anything.
  • Carefully examine any contract offered by a manager. If unsure, seek legal advice.
  • Never accept vague terms. Insist on clear explanations and transparency.
  • Be wary of managers who demand a significant amount of money upfront.
  • No manager can guarantee success, so steer clear of those who make such promises.

Music Industry Managers Scam Artists Example:

Imagine a young band named "The Unseen" that plays alternative rock. Having built a decent local following, they are keen to establish a stronger online presence. A person claiming to be a manager approaches them, promising to make them the next big thing. He talks about landing them a record deal and getting them to play at top local venues. He asks for a high fee upfront, a sizeable percentage of their future earnings, and wants the contract signed immediately.

This is obviously a huge red flag. The Unseen should immediately conduct a background check on the so-called manager before the thought of signing any contract. They should also ask for references and verify the promoter's claims.

Indeed, it's a jungle out there in the music industry, and artists need to be extra vigilant about who they trust with their careers. Remember, only through diligence and understanding can you prevent scams and ensure your career stays on the right track.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common tactics used by managers to scam artists?

Common tactics include overpromising and underdelivering, charging for unnecessary expenses, taking a higher percentage of earnings than agreed, not providing transparent accounting, and forcing artists into unfair contracts that limit their creative control and financial independence.

How can I recognize a potential scam by a music industry manager?

To recognize a potential scam, look for red flags such as lack of references or a poor reputation in the industry, requests for upfront payments, guarantees of fame and success, high-pressure sales tactics, and contracts with vague or convoluted terms.

What steps can I take to protect myself from manager scams?

To protect yourself, thoroughly research a manager's background and seek references, have a music attorney review any contracts before signing, understand the terms of your agreement fully, and maintain control of your finances and decision-making.

Is it normal for managers to ask for payment upfront?

While some legitimate managers may charge upfront fees for specific services, it's not standard practice in the industry. It's essential to be cautious and understand exactly what the fees cover and ensure that they are justified and clearly outlined in a contract.

How can I safely terminate a contract with a scamming manager?

To safely terminate a contract, consult with a music attorney to understand your legal options based on the contract's terms and obligations. They can guide you through the process of legally distancing yourself from the scamming manager without infringing on the agreement and subjecting yourself to potential legal action.

What legal actions can I take if I've been scammed by a manager?

If you've been scammed, you can consider legal actions such as filing a lawsuit for fraud, breach of contract, or misrepresentation. However, the first step is always to seek advice from a qualified attorney who can provide specific guidance for your situation.

Are there warning signs specific to the music industry that indicate a scam?

Yes, warning signs include a lack of successful clients, promises of exclusive access to industry events without substantiation, and pressure to make quick decisions about contracts or financial commitments without adequate time for review and consideration.

How important is a background check on a potential manager?

Conducting a background check on a potential manager is crucial. Verify their track record, speak with previous clients, and confirm their reputation within the industry to ensure they have a history of legitimate and ethical business practices.

Where can I find trustworthy reviews or feedback about music managers?

Trustworthy reviews or feedback can be found on industry forums, through word of mouth from other artists, on review sites specific to the music industry, and through professional music industry associations that may provide lists of credible managers.

Can you negotiate the terms of a music management contract?

Yes, it's not only possible but advisable to negotiate the terms of a music management contract. Every contract should be tailored to fit the specific needs and expectations of both the artist and the manager, ensuring a fair and mutually beneficial agreement.

What percentage of earnings is typical for a manager to take?

The industry standard percentage for a manager's cut of an artist's earnings typically ranges from 15% to 20%. However, this can vary depending on the level of the artist's career, the manager's involvement, and the specific services provided.

How do scams in the music industry affect an artist's career?

Scams can have devastating effects on an artist's career, including financial loss, damaged reputation, missed opportunities, and emotional distress. They can also create mistrust in the industry and hinder future business relationships.

Are there any organizations that can help artists who have been scammed?

Artists who have been scammed can seek assistance from organizations such as the Musicians' Union, Help Musicians, or local arts councils. These organizations may offer legal support, advice, and sometimes financial assistance to artists in distress.

Should I ever give a music manager access to my personal bank accounts?

It is generally not advisable to give a music manager direct access to your personal bank accounts. Financial arrangements should be made through proper business channels, and any money transfers should be documented and agreed upon within the management contract.

What credentials should a reputable music manager have?

A reputable music manager should have a proven track record of successfully managing artists, a network of industry contacts, knowledge of the music business, and ideally, referrals or endorsements from respected industry professionals or organizations.

How frequent should communication be between an artist and their manager?

Communication frequency can vary, but it's important to have regular and open communication to discuss ongoing projects, career goals, and financial matters. This should be outlined in the management agreement to ensure that both parties' expectations are met.

When entering into a management contract, what are key points to consider?

Key points to consider when entering a management contract include the duration of the contract, the manager's responsibilities, payment structures, expense handling, decision-making processes, and contract termination conditions.

Can a music manager make decisions on behalf of an artist without their consent?

A music manager should not make significant decisions without the artist's consent. While a manager may handle day-to-day operations, major decisions involving finances, creative direction, and contractual agreements should be made jointly.

What resources are available to learn more about avoiding music industry scams?

To learn more about avoiding music industry scams, artists can access resources from music industry trade associations, educational materials from music business programs, legal advice from entertainment attorneys, and guidelines from government agencies that regulate trade and commerce.

How do successful artists manage their relationships with managers to avoid scams?

Successful artists typically have a team of professionals, including a trusted attorney and financial advisor, who help scrutinize management contracts and engagements. They maintain clear and consistent communication with their managers and stay actively involved in all aspects of their career decisions.

We hope this blog was helpful to you. Feel free to share this information with other artists who might benefit from it. Want to write and manage your music career better? Check out our other guides on Lyric Assistant and get started today.

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

Music Industry Insider 2024: The Ultimate Contact Handbook

Unlock the key to your music career. This game-changing resource puts over 3,000 of the most influential music industry contacts at your fingertips.

Connect directly with the top A&Rs, Music Managers, Producers, Record Labels & Booking Agents who can elevate your music to new heights. With all the content information you need, including email addresses and phone numbers. Don't just dream of success, make it a reality.

Embrace Music Industry Insider and open doors to limitless opportunities in your music journey.

trustpilot 1

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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