Welcome back to Financially Literacy Month with Sound Royalties as we explore different financial topics in the music industry with seasoned industry professionals, like Chuck Lowe and many more! Check out our latest Q&A with business manager Victor Wlodinguer of Citrin Cooperman.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a business manager.
I have been a business manager in the music industry for over 40 years. I started out in a small firm mainly doing tax work for people in film and theater. My second position brought me to a firm working for musicians. That firm was where I developed my knowledge of the music business—mainly with in-concert appearance touring and business management, as well as servicing the personal management side of the business.
Thereafter, I partnered with other professionals to form our own boutique business management firm specializing in music by providing concierge services to musicians and other roles in the industry. We provided consultation, business management, royalty audit and administration, and tax work. I found enjoyment in providing entertainers with the business support they needed in order for them to focus on growing their brand.
What does it mean to be a business manager?
A business manager is an integral member of a team of professionals that may include roles such as a personal manager, a lawyer, a publicist, related record and publishing company executives, and more.
The business manager is responsible for overseeing the business side of the client’s operations. This includes advising them on tour accounting and financial management (including projections and budgets), contract review and negotiations, insurance review, tax compliance, and profitability optimization. Business managers also take care of personal finances, handle taxes, and provide advice on the client’s financial needs.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to a creative in the music industry?
As a financial professional, there are a few crucial points I often tell my clients. In order to accumulate wealth, a creative should be responsible with their spending, and they should consider investing their money instead of using it towards miscellaneous and frivolous purchases. They should also surround themselves with the right professionals to help them manage their money and keep them on track for financial success. Finally, no one is exempt from taxes—creatives should always look to keep their tax situation current and up to date.
What is a common mistake you see artists in the industry make? What could they do to prevent that?
As I mentioned, overspending is probably one of the biggest issues I have seen, along with not saving for their future. Keep your tax situation up-to-date, maintain a retirement plan that suits your situation, and listen to good advice from your team.
Why is it important to have a business manager/ financial advisor in addition to a manager?
Managers need to focus on the careers of their entertainers, and the number of responsibilities that come with that position means that they should not be involved in managing the finances of an artist. The separation of tasks is a necessity in order for everything to stay efficient.
In addition, an investment professional should be an additional team member as a personal manager may not always or necessarily have the skillset, experience, or the time to dedicate to managing the client’s investments and related finances.
For more info about Victor and Citrin Cooperman, click here. Watch out for our next Financial Literacy Month Q&A featuring Tara Moore, Director of PS Business Management!