Earlier this week, I was asked how to balance getting paid by developing artists vs. enabling them to put the money generated back into their careers (or in some cases be needed to live) – This is a very grey area and one that can be challenging to figure out.

Some managers can afford not taking commissions at the beginning of an artists’ career. Other managers can’t afford to wait on being paid and need the money as it comes in, which I believe is perfectly acceptable.

If for any reason a manager chooses to not be paid for their work in real time (the month after it is received by the artist), I strongly encourage them collaborate with the artist and business manager to clearly define how these commissions will be deferred to a time when the artist can afford them. After all, the manager is putting in the work and deserves to be financially compensated for it.

In my experience, these conversations can be challenging and it’s important to have them to ensure you, the artist, and their team are clear on the framework of the financial relationship and you have addressed any concerns they may have. If you sense concerns still exist at any point, they probably do, and the sooner you can push them out in the open and address their root, the sooner you can continue to build the trust conducive to creating together.

If an artist does defer commissions, it’s important they remember nobody great works for free for a long period of time.

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