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Book Excerpt - You Better Ask Somebody

By Bob Baldwin | January 10, 2013

Staying on Top of Your Career in the Friggin’ Music Business

As a longtime recording artist, producer and composer, Bob Baldwin has learned some important lessons about thriving in the music business. In his new book, You Better Ask Somebody! ($10,, Baldwin gives other musicians the benefit of his 20 years’ experience, offering practical tips on working with managers and agents, securing publishing rights and royalties, navigating tour production and more. Here are a few sample tips from Chapter 2, “Management/Artist Contract 101.”

Trial Period “When you start a new job, what happens? You are hired; then you go through a ‘trial period.’ Ninety days is the normal period for everyone to get acclimated to one another. Well, the same should apply to a new business relationship between you and a manager. Try a trial six-month period to see how the relationship unfolds and list your reasonable goals. If you find that he or she has misrepresented you on more than a few occasions, you may want to think about dissolving the agreement immediately; send a letter, and move on. A clause such as, ‘Manager agrees to uphold the name and likeness of artist in the highest of business integrity’ can set the record straight upfront and make sure you are not being misrepresented while you are hard at work doing other things.”

Pay Your Manager, Not Vice Versa “You are the artist and the employer and are responsible for your taxes at the end of the road, so keep your paperwork decent and in order. Read all contracts thoroughly and, also, have all deposits sent directly to you. When you pay over $600 to anyone, including your manager, during a calendar year, get a signed W-9 from that individual, preferably before you pay him/her. Pay your manager quickly and without delay so there’s a trust developed there as well.”

Get All of Your Contracts, and Read Them “If you are doing business with a manager who does not want to reveal his contracts, then you may want to reveal to him Donald Trump’s favorite The Apprentice line: ‘Mr. Manager, you’re fired!’ This is your business that you are generating. If you don’t generate the revenue by doing what you do (perform, record, produce, etc.), then a manager ultimately would have nothing to manage; therefore, all contracts should be reviewed by you.”

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