We are celebrating Financial Literacy Month with advice, tips, and tricks from top music industry professionals all April long. Below, we sat with Tara Moore, Director of PS Business Management, to talk about her career, the role of a business manager, and her opinion on some of the latest trends in the music industry.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a business manager.
I struggled for a long time as an accountant by day and a gigantic live music fan by night. I hated the corporate accounting world and left that to pursue a job in the music industry. I worked in the record business for a bit, only to realize it was just as corporate as where I came from.
I honestly didn’t know what a business manager was before I was introduced to Phil Sarna by a good manager friend of mine. But when I learned about the role and the firm, it felt like I had finally found the career I had been searching for my whole life. It marries my accounting and organizational skills with my passion for music, art, and entertainment.
What is a common mistake you see artists in the music industry make? What could they do to prevent that?
Not saving enough. Whether it’s for taxes or for their future, most artists (most people!) hear the initial fee number and start spending that in their minds immediately. Every $100,000 fee you receive as an artist is automatically closer to $30,000 when it actually hits your bank account.
If you’re paying commissions, band members, studio rent, and then taxes, you should always assume 30% of that amount is actually going into your pocket. And ALWAYS reserve for taxes. That is a bill you do NOT want to be unprepared for.
Why is it important to have a business manager/ financial advisor in addition to a manager?
Income generation in the entertainment industry is so volatile. It’s almost impossible to budget and plan long term because there can be so much inconsistency from year to year. You may have huge advances in one year and then not see money again for several years.
It really helps to have someone monitoring all the ins and outs of cash for you and helping to keep a safety net underneath it all. Someone who can help you to plan, save and get a better understanding of all the moving monetary parts. Partnering with an experienced team can help in so many ways the artist probably never sees. Things like making sure to take all the correct tax write-offs, filing for CWAs or other foreign tax credits, applying for different artist and recording grants around the globe, ensuring audits are performed, royalties are paid at correct rates, and income is received accurately and timely.
How do you feel about NFTs as a new form of income?
Personally, I think it’s great. It’s a new artform, which is always going to be controversial in the beginning. And my comments may not age well, but at this point, I think it’s an incredible new income opportunity.
To me, I love the fact that artists and musicians have so many avenues to earn a living these days, seemingly more than ever before. Success in the entertainment industry can be fleeting. And fame can be a really horrible thing for some. It’s a phenomenon I’d like to see lessen over time. I only say this to describe a common situation of a star rising and quickly falling.
With other revenue streams like NFTs, avatar performance, AR, VR, etc., it just gives artists another lane to expand their businesses. A traditional business typically has a long runway to branch off into other industries or arenas without a lot of comment/pushback/notoriety. So, it’s great that all of these artists can do the same with their businesses and venture into tons of new opportunities.
To learn more about Tara and PS Business Management, visit their website here.