Musical artists guild outlines agent code

First step in three-part strategy

HOLLYWOOD — The American Guild of Musical Artists has enacted a voluntary code of standards for agents and managers representing AGMA members with the goal of preventing what it claims is a “plethora” of unethical practices.

The union, which reps opera singers and ballet dancers, said the code is aimed at assisting singers when negotiating agreements with agents and managers.

“Many of our younger solo artist members asked us for help in resolving complaints about their agents,” said Linda Mays, AGMA’s national president and a singer at the Metropolitan Opera. “It became quickly apparent that the best way in which to address this issue on an industrywide basis was to create a code of standards that would outline which practices are acceptable and which are not.”

“Inappropriate and unethical” conduct listed in the code includes monthly retainers that produce no jobs, bills for monthly expenses that are never expended, disparate treatment based on age, race and sex, and agreements with agents that self-renew forever.

AGMA said the announcement is the first step in a three-part strategy to alter the way in which agents rep singers and dancers. It plans to incorporate the code into a formal and binding agreement that would be offered to agents and managers; ultimately, AGMA would amend its constitution so that singers could use only those agents and managers who agreed to abide by the code.

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