A&R and Manager Advice

Music Managers Verbal Agreement

Music Managers Verbal Agreement

Navigating the music industry is challenging. One issue is the concept of verbal agreements between music managers and artists. Does a verbal binding hold water in the legal realm of artists and managers?

Understanding Verbal Agreement

Before an artist hits the stage, there's a myriad of backroom decisions that dictate their career trajectory. One significant relationship is between the artist and their manager. Often, this relationship begins informally, with a verbal agreement coming into play. But is a verbal agreement legally binding?

Verbal Agreements: Legally Binding Or Not

By definition, a verbal agreement is an agreement between two or more parties without any written documentation. In many sectors, verbal agreements are legally binding. But when it comes to the music industry, the waters get muddy.

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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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Grey Areas

Perhaps the most significant issue with a verbal agreement is the lack of clear terms. With a written contract, the specific conditions, expectations, and penalties are set out explicitly. With a verbal contract, these prove difficult to clarify.

The Law and Verbal Agreements

The legality of verbal contracts can vary from place to place. In some areas, a verbal agreement is legally enforceable, especially if it can be proven. However, in some aspects of the music industry, the law requires written contracts. Therefore, ensuring always to have a written agreement is in your best interest.

Why Written Contracts Matter

This leads us to the importance of written contracts. Too many artists have suffered because they relied on verbal agreements, which eventually fell through. Without a written agreement, an artist has nothing to fall back on legally if their manager does not fulfill their end of the bargain.

Let's consider a realistic example: An artist and manager agree verbally that the manager will get a 15% commission on revenues. A few months down the line, the artist makes a significant breakthrough, earning substantial revenue. The manager then claims they had agreed on a 20% commission.

Without any written evidence of their agreement, the artist is left in a precarious position. This scenario could have been avoided with a written agreement stipulating the exact managerial commission.

Navigating the music industry can be full of pitfalls, especially when it comes to agreements between managers and artists. Avoid falling into the trap of relying solely on verbal agreements. Hire a legal counsel or seek advice to ensure that your rights are protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a music manager's verbal agreement?

A music manager’s verbal agreement is an oral contract between an artist and their manager, outlining the manager's responsibilities and the terms of their professional relationship. While not written, it is a binding agreement if it meets the legal criteria for contracts within the jurisdiction in which it is made.

Is a verbal agreement legally binding for music managers and artists?

Yes, a verbal agreement can be legally binding if it contains all the elements of a valid contract, such as offer, acceptance, consideration, intent, and capacity. However, proving the terms of the agreement can be challenging without written documentation.

How can I prove the existence of a verbal agreement with my music manager?

Proving a verbal agreement can involve gathering evidence such as witness testimonies, emails, text messages, voicemails, or any other communications that reference the agreement. Consistent behavior in accordance with the agreement, such as payment records, can also serve as proof.

What are the risks of relying on a verbal agreement in the music industry?

The risks include misunderstandings about contract terms, difficulty in enforcing the agreement, and challenges with proving the agreement in court should a dispute arise. Written contracts are always advisable to minimize these risks.

How can a verbal agreement be enforced if there is a dispute?

If a dispute arises, enforcement would typically go through the legal system, where both parties present their evidence and a judge or jury determines the enforceability of the verbal agreement based on the credibility of the evidence presented.

What should be included in a verbal agreement with a music manager?

A verbal agreement should cover the scope of the manager's duties, the duration of the agreement, compensation terms, and provisions for termination, among other pertinent details of the working relationship.

Can I change the terms of a verbal agreement with my music manager?

Yes, verbal agreements can be changed with mutual consent. However, it is crucial to document these changes, preferably in writing, to avoid future disputes or misinterpretations.

What happens if one party violates a verbal agreement?

If one party violates a verbal agreement, the other party may seek legal recourse. Remedies could include compensation for any losses incurred or specific performance of the agreement's terms.

How does a verbal agreement differ from a written contract?

A verbal agreement is an oral contract that is not documented in written form, whereas a written contract is a formalized record of the agreement's terms and conditions that is signed by both parties.

Why is a written contract preferred over a verbal agreement for music managers?

A written contract is preferred because it provides a clear and tangible record of the agreement's terms, facilitates easier enforcement, and helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes regarding the agreement.

Can I terminate a verbal agreement with my music manager?

Yes, a verbal agreement can be terminated by either party, usually with reasonable notice. The specifics of termination would depend on the terms initially agreed upon by both parties.

What should I do if I'm unsure about the terms of my verbal agreement with my music manager?

If you're unsure about the terms of your verbal agreement, seek clarification from your music manager. It's also advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure that your rights and interests are adequately protected.

In what situations are verbal agreements commonly used in the music industry?

Verbal agreements may be used for informal or short-term arrangements, or when a quick decision is necessary. However, it's always better to follow up with written contracts to avoid potential issues.

How long do verbal agreements last in the music management context?

The duration of a verbal agreement in music management is typically until a stipulated end date, until a specific goal is met, or until terminated by either party in accordance with the agreed terms.

Can an artist have multiple verbal agreements with different music managers?

While it's possible to have agreements with different managers, it's important to ensure that the terms of these agreements do not conflict. Artists should also be wary of over-committing and should ideally document all agreements in writing.

What is the importance of trust in a verbal agreement with a music manager?

Trust is crucial since verbal agreements rely on the honor system and the shared understanding and expectations of both parties. A breakdown in trust can lead to disputes and potential legal issues.

How can I improve the clarity of a verbal agreement with my music manager?

To improve clarity, discuss all important aspects in detail and make sure both parties understand and agree to the terms. Follow up the discussion with a written summary that both parties acknowledge.

What are the best practices for entering into a verbal agreement with a music manager?

Best practices include having clear communication, verifying the manager's reputation, making sure all key terms are agreed upon, seeking legal advice when necessary, and documenting the discussion and terms in some form, even if it's not a formal contract.

If my music manager and I disagree about the terms of our verbal agreement, what steps should we take?

If a disagreement about the terms arises, try to resolve the issue amicably through discussion. If this fails, mediation or arbitration could be the next steps, and as a last resort, legal action may be necessary.

Can I have a verbal agreement reviewed by a lawyer?

Yes, you can discuss the terms of a verbal agreement with a lawyer to gain a better understanding of its legal standing and implications. The lawyer can also help guide you in transitioning the verbal agreement to a written contract.

What are the consequences of not adhering to a verbal agreement in the music industry?

Not adhering to a verbal agreement can result in damaged professional relationships, loss of reputation, and potential legal action, which could result in financial penalties or an obligation to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Did you find this article useful? Don't hesitate to share it with others who might find it beneficial. Explore other topics relating to the music industry on Lyric Assistant.

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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