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Management dilemma - I need your opinions

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mikegug, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    I am in a kind of unique situation – ideas?

    I informally (no contracts) manage and mentor two Christian artists: EZ (rapper) and TR (rock band) in the local Northern CA scene.

    We play about once or twice a month at churches/youth groups. Band fees and merch sales are slowly but steadily rising commensurate with the artists’ talent and reputations.

    I have managed/mentored TR (the band) for 6 years. Less than a year ago we started taking EZ with us to gigs so we can help him and allow TR to bill themselves as kind of a traveling mini-festival giving great value to the show.

    Playing churches, we get anywhere from $40 plus 100% of merch sales to $350-$600 plus 100% of merch.

    Here’s the dilemma: EZ is getting to be more of a crowd favorite. He’s good. Up to this point, aside from large pay days, I have not paid him, as he was pretty green. He gets free booking, promotion, gas and an opening slot on the bill.

    Now a label is very interested in him, as he actually is pretty good. Soon, I can see a venue asking specifically for EZ and assuming that TR will tag along for the ride.

    I feel the need to formalize the pay structure when band fees are involved.

    Why didn’t I pay him before?: I took a cue from the current tour practices of knowing that labels will pay tours for the privilege of having their new artists open just for the purposes of exposure and to live off merch sales.

    I book all the shows, I drive to the gigs, I run merch table for both artists, and act as a roadie when needed.

    Boy, typing this out really helped... How about this - Maybe I need to formalize everyone’s roles in the booking process… i.e. Whoever the venue requests as a headlining artist, they will be the ones to receive the big payday and the other artist will act as the “new act” on the “tour”.

    I think I like that idea. However, you guys are great in coming up with ideas.

    I might not have to worry about this next year, if he gets signed anyway... :meh:
  2. Hmm. Start here ---> As a manager you need a good written contract between you and the artist you’re representing!!!
  3. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    We have met the enemy... and he is us.

    I'm sure others will disagree, but if you are making money off somebody, I don't think there is any justification for not passing some along. Just because someone is desperate to play doesn't make it right to take advantage of them.
  4. pay them both. contracts. the end.
  5. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013

    Probably won't be a problem soon though if EZ has legitimate label interest.

    While I do not believe this is always true, I'd have to say this would be something to keep in mind when posting a question of this nature, to a musician's forum ;-).
  6. So I have absolutely no experience managing a band, but I think you are making it too complicated.

    As an employee, I am willing to work for a certain amount of pay. If my employer just started giving me random amounts of money based on things I have no control of and no transparency into, I would be pissed.

    Personally I think you are making it too complicated. Pay each some agreed upon amount per gig. It really doesn't matter how they fall into getting the work, that's your job to worry about.

    I'd also make the rates clear to the client and let it be their choice. Want the rapper, it costs $___.. Want the band, it costs $___. Want both? It's $___. And if someone only wants one then of course its your job to try to upsell them.. "Hey the band really smokes with the rapper on board, how about I send you some demo tracks to check out?"
  7. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    I hear you all. Thanks.

    No, I am not a monster. Turn off the flame throwers. :help::bag:

    I have paid him in numerous ways, not listed here. When I said I didn't pay him, I was simply addressing band fees collected. He has been compensated over the months, but I feel the need to formalize compensation.

    Please note: He didn't request it, I am doing this proactively because it is right. And when we would get multiple hundreds of dollars for shows, I have paid him.

    So I am just thinking out loud. What percentage does the headliner get? What percentage does the opening act get?

    More outloud thoughts: I shouldn't/can't assume, anymore, that the venue requests are for the band... I really need to ask.
  8. Ouch - however, the thought crossed my mind too. ;)

    +2. Yep

    EDIT: OP, yeah it the right thing to do, and when we say pay them, we mean $$$ money!!! ;)
  9. -Kramer-


    Dec 9, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    I really like this idea. One thing I have to add, if one act is the 'star' and the other is the opener, come up with a set split of the pay. Say 70% headline, 30% opener, each group keeps merch pay from their own merch. Easy for each group to understand, easy for you to keep track of, should be good all around.
  10. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    Yeah, I see this approach working well.

    I am new to this, so I appreciate all the advise. I've never managed two acts before serving the same demographic.

    I am just a dad managing his sons' band, and now this rapper comes along. I am not about to tell him to take a hike because I don't want to have to figure this out. He's a great kid. Very teachable..., and yeah... he may be gone anyway.
  11. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    It's hard to tell by your post, but you mention you manage these two bands. How exactly are you managing them if their only gigs are with you, and are apparently, sometimes unpaid?

    If you book a show, and collect the money, then pay the band that makes you a booking agent or a promoter, not a manager. Even the term Booking Agent is a bit untrue as this is all off contract. Every Booking Agent, and most promoters, I've worked with, that were on the up and up (and many that weren't), used a contract,.

    As a result, just to let you know, if you ever attempted to get these folks to sign something based on your current management relationship, and ever tried to prove you were the "manager" of these acts, in court, you would probably lose. In California there are a lot of laws governing this type of conflict of interest that would prevent you from enforcing a contract, in this case, if litigation came into play. Which it would.

    Hard to tell if you're angling for this, but, if you are, heads up.

    Not trying to be flamethrower-y but....this situation, especially in California with the film industry and their dysfunction, is tricky.
  12. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    Good assessment and good questions.

    I am just a dad managing his sons' band, and now this rapper comes along. I am not about to tell him to take a hike because I don't want to have to figure this out. He's a great kid. Very teachable... He's a friend of my two boys in TR (the band).

    3 of the 5 musicians in question are still in high school.

    All parents receive semi-regular P/L Statements. We have semi-regular band meetings to discuss band direction, future expenditures, recording, college, etc... we are fully transparent.

    My management isn't like the kind you get from the "management industry" (for the good and bad of it). I am not a booking agent. I have a non-music 40-hour plus/week job.

    Yeah, unpaid gigs are fewer now, but when a struggling church calls, I do not decline them because of lack of funds. We get merch, so gas is usually always covered. If not, I pay for it.

    Thanks everyone for all the responses. I am finally starting to hone in on what I need... It looks like I need to find out what the percentages are typical for openers vs. headliners. Do we like 70/30?

    And then I need to ask the venue who they want as a headliner.

    FWIW: I have done this for 6 years and not taken a dime. No, not even those countless times where I certainly could have and no one would have known. I don't want anything. Fees go to gas, food and recording.

    And I am CERTAINLY not a saint. Sometimes the band pisses me off SO BAD!!!!! I have to blown off some serious steam to my wife numerous times! :eek:
  13. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    tbz, yeah... I just re-read my original post. Now I see where this question came from. No, I am not setting myself up as EZ's manager. I mentioned the label to demonstrate his quickly increasing quality.

    When we sat with the label people, they just talked as if I wasn't his manager (which I am not, and I am fine with that).

    He really is a great kid and he deserves success and PROPER compensation.
  14. preside


    Aug 7, 2010
    Scottsdale Az
    Well to me you sound like a pretty cool dad, get this cleared up (70/30 sounds good) and youll be a cool manager as well.
  15. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011

    And I like 70/30 too.

    So: I will present this to the band and I am interested in hearing their reaction. I may have to present this idea a couple of times, as this will be a real paradigm shift for them. They've always been the big dog on the bill.

    But with the way EZ internalizes and applies advise I give him (and alot of it from this forum), his show gets better everytime we go out!
  16. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    "I have paid him in numerous ways, not listed here."

    The more you try to get cute, the worse you look. Just my opinion and my last word.
  17. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    It wasn't cute, it was curt. (now that's cute)
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Since it's a family affair, I suggest sharing the support and money with the young rapper, and wishing him well when he moves up to the next level. The idea of a "menu" of prices works well.
  19. at least Dad is trying to work it out now which is better then not....
  20. the 70/30 doesn't work for me......
    It should be a 50/50 thing until EZ signs with the label

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