Our final and concluding part of what is copyright protection pertaining to music looks at artists representation and everything that this includes. There are actually four different kinds of representation an artist may choose to employ. Which are, Personal Managers, Agents, Business Managers and Lawyers.
A personal manager is like a jack of all trades, he will work closely with the artist on every facet of his career. This can be anything from publicity, assisting in material selection, planning of long term career development, selecting a tour manager and booking agent, acting as a liaison mediator between the artist and the record company, in fact the list is almost endless. Personal managers are not usually salaried, they take a percentage of the gross receipts of the artist, plus expenses etc.
An agent is responsible for finding work for an artist. They are sometimes referred to as booking agents but essentially, they do the same job. An agent usually takes a commission as compensation for their work, the average percentage is ten percent from the gross receipts of any engagements, bookings or jobs that the agent secures. This commission may differ due to a few factors including: state laws, the popularity and fame of the artist, and the period of time they have been in service. Nearly every country requires an agent to be registered and licensed before they can receive any form of payment.
A business manager would commonly be a certified accountant and would look after every financial aspect to do with an artist’s career. Responsibilities can be to produce audited accounts, handling the payment of bills, advice on all monetary matters including investments, helping to form new companies and subsidiaries.
Business managers are also reimbursed by commission payments, that can be as much as five percent of the artists revenue, or alternately they may charge an hourly rate. Both agent and managers will not usually offer any representation without a contract, and any legal documentation such as contracts should really be cleared by a lawyer prior to signing to secure the interests of the artist.
Having legal representation as an artist is something that cannot be ignored. The music industry is rife with fraud, at every corner there is the possibility of getting ripped off. And once a contract has been signed it is legally binding, this is the case with business managers, agents, record companies, producers and so on. In the U.S attorneys have to be licensed by the state they are practicing in, so the artist has protection in who he is securing as legal representation. Attorneys and lawyers can either be paid by the hour or also receive reimbursement as a percentage of the deals they negotiate in.
You may think that all this is a minefield to understand, and legal and business aspects are not the first thing that a musician is interested in. But they are an unfortunate necessity that cannot be ignored. The courts are full of lawsuits concerning music industry disputes, usually with artists trying to reclaim monies either fraudulently taken from them, or simply the misunderstanding over what the contracts really meant when they signed them. Copyright law is one protection that artists can rely and fall back on when times are tough and action must be taken.