Redefining CommissionableYou can pay your manager according to a revised version of what constitutes commissionable contracts as defined in your management agreement.The word renewals is extremely dangerous and will drag along your former manager’s entitlements well into what are actually new deals that you and future managers may make.For example, let’s say you had a record agreement that expired after the delivery of six albums.Your original manager would have been entitled, by contract, to commission all six of them.Let’s say there are four more album delivery requirements added by the amendment, for a total of eight that remain.The original manager may be entitled to a commission on the additional albums.Even if you terminate the original record agreement, or it expires on its own terms after you have recorded the originally required six albums, if you subsequently renew it, the renewal may be commissionable as well.When negotiating termination settlements, it is important for you and your attorney to catch and change those things that you may not have had the leverage to change during the initial negotiation of the agreement.Variations on Standard SettlementsWhen contemplating what an artist can achieve in a negotiated settlement with a manager, there are other things that an artist’s attorney can pursue beyond just seeking a reduction or termination of commissions.In situations in which the artist’s manager is also his or her production company, the artist can seek to acquire control over the master recordings produced during the period of the agreement, agreeing to pay over to the production company a larger share of income derived from the exploitation of these master recordings.Even if you are not able to acquire control over your master recordings, you may be able to eliminate or shorten the period during which you would traditionally be prohibited from rerecording songs contained on those master recordings.Don’t be precipitous and seek to rid yourself of old problems just to strap yourself with new ones.Finding a personal manager who has everything you are looking for is difficult enough.Finding one person who can handle all aspects of an artist’s business is not only practically impossible, but, as we shall see, possibly not even desirable.Financial planning is incredibly important, perhaps the most important time spent by artists, songwriters, and record producers other than their creative time.Whom do you look to for the kinds of services that you cannot expect from your personal manager or lawyer?A financial advisor.The accountant’s role is more limited than that of a business manager.The designation business manager incorporates many functions, including those of tax preparer, personal assistant, bill payer, accountant, and auditor.Business managers are not engaged to perform these functions as distinct jobs, with separate fees negotiated for each one as would be the case with an accountant.Their very reason for being is to assume responsibility for all of these functions all of the time.Most artists tend toward selecting a business manager as their financial advisor of choice.Here I explore the reasons why and the things you should look out for in choosing your business manager.They do not help you manage your finances or keep records for you.The business manager’s role is something else entirely.They can also outsource work that requires a kind of expertise they might not have themselves, for example, audits.Sounds like an old movie?Everything but the green eye shade.Formal audits can come later, if necessary, but in many cases an error uncovered by a desk audit can be corrected immediately, often avoiding future duplications of the error.Unfortunately, you have no choice but to depend on other people to do for you what you would do for yourself if you had the time or the training.Absent is any regular tax planning or budgeting, and the client has no real awareness of the bottom line insofar as assets and liabilities are concerned or any true sense of the total financial picture.These meetings should be inviolable.Only an emergency should keep them from taking place.For a touring artist, they can be held on the road.The artist’s lawyer, and sometimes the manager, should be at these meetings.Not all clients really want to know the truth about their financial health.So in whose hands is the responsibility for the psychological cure going to be placed?The business manager’s.Speaking of reality, here is an example in which an artist can be jolted into the truth.A good business manager will always give you the bad news as well as the good.If your business manager is not straightforward with you, he or she might sign the document on your behalf.The business manager will already have your power of attorney in order to sign checks, open bank accounts, and handle other financial arrangements.In such a case, you wouldn’t suspect anything was wrong unless you were diligently observing the ins and outs of your bank account.It is not only you, the artist, who benefits from openness and honesty.Sometimes such audits will turn up illegal practices.Sometimes it is comforting to know that all is in fact well.That will have positive resonance for both of you.