Code of Standards


This Code sets forth the standards of professional conduct and preferred business practices governing the relationship between members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Agents and Managers that represent them.

This code may be used to assist Agents/Managers and AGMA Artists in negotiating and arriving at a fair, equitable and mutually beneficial business relationship. Each Agent/Manager and Artist who utilizes all or parts of this Code shall strive to attain, achieve and maintain the most exemplary levels of quality, honesty and integrity.

When used in this Code, the word “Agent” includes every agent, manager, personal representative, person and business entity representing AGMA Artists for the purpose, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, of securing performance bookings or other employment for such Artists and who conduct compensation negotiations with regard to the employment or services of such Artists.

I. Essence of the Code

  1. An Agent’s relation and obligation to Artist shall be that of a fiduciary, and each Agent shall perform in such a manner as to advance and protect the best interests of each represented Artist.
  2. An Agent is further obliged to maintain strict confidentiality about an Artist’s personal information, opinions, discussions, consultations, correspondence, contractual deliberations, etc., shared, developed or gleaned during the course of this fiduciary relationship, as well as any information, derived from any source, that is potentially damaging or injurious to an Artist. No Agent may breach such confidential trust for any purpose, including an Agent’s personal memoirs, without a specific written prior release from the Artist.
  3. The respective responsibilities of each party shall be specifically set forth by the Artist and the Agent in a written agreement, which agreement may freely incorporate therein, portions, or the entirety, of this Code. No such agreement shall be valid for a term in excess of three (3) years, nor can it renew itself.
  4. No Agent shall charge any Artist a retainer or other regularly recurring fee, or any charge for expenses that are not specified and completely documented.
  5. Every Agent shall be entitled to receive and collect commissions from an Artist in accordance with the schedule and provisions set forth in this Code for any and all employment secured by such Agent for, and performed by, such Artist.
  6. No Agent shall charge, or attempt to collect, commissions from any Artist for per-diem, transportation, housing, or other advances or reimbursements made to Artist by others for Artist’s expenses.
  7. An Agent shall be entitled to be reimbursed by Artist for all reasonable expenses actually incurred by the Agent, with the Artist’s prior consent, on Artist’s behalf, but Agent must account to the Artist for all such expenditures. The Artist shall have the right to examine the pertinent books and records of the Agent at reasonable times.
  8. No Agent shall discriminate against or in favor of any Artist because of his or her race, sex, age, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or membership in AGMA or other labor organization.
  9. Every Agent shall promptly forward to Artist all communications from AGMA that are addressed to Artist as well as all business or personal communications addressed to Artist in care of Agent.
  10. Artist shall fully, fairly and completely abide by all of his or her obligations to Agent.
  11. An Agent may terminate his or her agreement with an Artist if the artist fails to remit appropriately due commissions to the Agent in a timely manner. An Artist may terminate his or her agreement with an Agent if the Agent breaches his or her fiduciary duty to the Artist, rejects any offer of employment for the Artist without the Artist’s informed consent, or fails to pay over to such Artist in a timely manner any monies due to the Artist. An Artist may also terminate said agreement if the Agent should fail to secure any present or future employment for the Artist during the first ___ consecutive days of said agreement. [Note: Depending on the level of experience of the Artist, it is recommended that 90-270 days be entered as appropriate.] By mutual agreement, Agent and Artist may determine to jointly terminate their agreement at any time.

II. Reciprocal responsibilities of AGMA Artists and their Agents 

  1. AGMA Artists recognize their obligation to perform engagements booked on their behalf by the Agent with the Artist’s consent and to pay, on a timely basis, all appropriate commissions due to the Agent for any such engagements. These obligations continue even after the termination of the agreement between the Artist and the Agent for any engagements previously booked by Agent with the Artist’s consent. Artists shall also be obliged to pay the appropriate commission(s) in the case of any engagement that materializes from an offer that was pending at the time of said termination, regardless of who actually finalized the terms of the engagement. For a period of twelve (12) months following said termination, any reengagement of the Artist by any employer to whom the former Agent had introduced the Artist and for whom the Artist had worked during the final twelve (12) months prior to said termination, shall oblige the Artist to pay said former Agent a split or reduced commission of no less than five percent (5%).
  2. Where the Guild Security Provision of any collective bargaining agreement between AGMA and an employer requires that an Artist be or become, and subsequently remain, a member of AGMA in good standing as a condition of employment, Artists shall comply fully with that provision, and no Agent shall represent an Artist that does not so comply.
  3. Whenever any agreement between an Artist and an Agent is terminated, the Agent shall issue promptly a letter acknowledging such termination, which letter shall include a final financial statement and a list of all future engagements booked by that Agent for that Artist as well as any pending offers of engagement.
  4. The maximum amount that an Agent may spend for advertising or promotion on behalf of any Artist without the Artist’s specific written advance consent is $_____ at any one time and not more than $ _____ per year. [Note: Depending on the financial resources of the Artist and the business practices of the agent, it is recommended that $20.00—$200.00 and $100.00—$800.00, respectively, be entered as appropriate.] No less frequently than once each calendar quarter, agent agrees to furnish the Artist itemized statements of all expenditures incurred since the previous such statement for advertising, promotion and any other purpose, according to the original bills.

III. Maximum Commissions

  1. No Agent may charge a commission on per diems, housing, round-trip travel, health and retirement benefits or on any AGMA-covered compensation that is less than AGMA scale plus 10%. “AGMA scale” shall be deemed to include contractual rehearsal and overtime pay as well as per-performance or weekly performance fees as required by the relevant collective bargaining agreement. At the Agent’s request, AGMA shall make available to Agent copies of the AGMA collective bargaining agreements which incorporate this information.
  2. The maximum commissions which Agent may receive from the fees paid to the Artist for all engagements booked by the agent with the Artist’s consent shall be as follows:
    Operatic engagements, including operetta, singspiels, musicals and other staged performances 10%
    Dance engagements 10%
    Regular concert engagements, including symphony orchestra, oratorio and recitals (except that no commission shall be charged for any recital given at risk and expense of Artist, or for the expense of engaging an accompanist 20%
    Broadcast of any live performance (of additional overscale compensation received by Artist) 10%
    Civic and community engagements
    [e.g., service clubs, sporting events, public ceremonies, religious services]
    Release in other media (of additional overscale compensation received by Artist 15%
  3. In those cases where Agent shall be entitled to commissions for the release of Artist’s work product in any other medium, Agent shall be entitled to continue to receive such commission, even after the termination or expiration of the term of the agreement between Agent and Artist, for whatever period of time in which Artist continues to receive monies, royalties or other financial considerations.
  4. Upon receipt of contractual fees by the Artist or other person authorized by the Artist, commission shall be promptly payable by the Artist to the Agent. In cases where Artist has not been paid because of Artist’s absence from performance without just cause, Artist shall remain responsible for payment of agreed commissions. In the absence of an advance, specific, written authorization from the Artist for each such occurrence, no Agent may intercept or in any manner arrange for any fees to be delivered to any person or any entity other than the Artist.
  5. Agents shall not charge any commission on bookings arranged, secured and negotiated solely by the Artist. Artist shall fully coordinate and apprise Agent of any and all activities and commitments in this area.

IV. Deal Memorandum

  1. Agents shall execute a Deal Memorandum with Artists for each and every employment opportunity obtained by an Agent for an Artist.
  2. Each and every Deal Memorandum shall include the specific requirements of the engagement, including dates and times of performances and rehearsals, and the compensation due to Artist, and the amount of commission owed by reason of such compensation.
  3. Each and every Deal Memorandum shall also include the arrangements for Artists’ transportation, housing, per-diem or reimbursed expenses, required publicity arrangements and other relevant terms relating to the performance of the engagement. Any so-called “lump-sum fees” which incorporate per-diems, housing, travel or other non-commissionable benefits, must be broken down on a separate schedule which specifically identifies the accurate net amount subject to the commission.
  4. Nothing in any agreement between an Agent and an Artist or in any Deal Memorandum shall contain any provision less favorable to the Artist than those set forth in this Code.

V. Resolution of Disputes

  1. Disputes arising between an Artist and an Agent shall be governed by, and resolved pursuant to, the law(s) of the state having jurisdiction over such dispute.