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Q: “Where can I get a boilerplate producer-manager agreement?”

An RP visitor wants a standard form of contract between a producer and their manager. But should he sign on the dotted line?

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A Audio Masterclass visitor asks, “Where can I get a boilerplate producer-manager agreement?”

The questioner does not say whether he or she is the producer or the manager, but I'll guess it is the producer.

'Boilerplate' in this context means a standard contract. Sometimes 'boilerplate' refers to a standard clause in a series of contracts that are otherwise tailored to their individual application.

The simple answer is you don't sign a standard contract. Any agreement between a producer and a manager must be decided on the basis of negotiation. Every producer has their own skills, track record and requirements, and so does any manager.

A newbie producer will have a very weak bargaining position and the manager will be able to insist on terms that favor the management's side. A producer with a string of hits will have much more bargaining power.

As a newbie producer approaching a manager who looks after a string of producers, it is likely that you will be offered a standard contract on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. If that manager has a good record of success, you should probably take it.

And in all cases, you need the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in the music business.

However, having said all that, it doesn't hurt to have an awareness of what a typical contract would contain. You can find a selection of contracts at www.musiccontracts.com

You could use one of these contracts as the basis for an agreement, but it would be unlikely that you would be doing the right thing for yourself just to sign it as-is. And don't sign anything without competent legal advice.

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By David Mellor Monday December 17, 2012
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