Code of Ethics

NAPAMA's Guidelines for Ethical Behavior

North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA) is a not-for-profit membership organization that represents the interests of its members in the community of performing arts managers, agents, and professionals who connect artists to audiences regionally, nationally, and internationally.


The membership of the organization recognize that the NAPAMA Code of Ethics are an expression of their wish to maintain a high ethical and professional standard in all their dealings with other members and with third parties.


NAPAMA is comprised of members who engage in relationships in different ways.  For commercial members, the terms “Manager” may mean a ‘personal manager’ (who does not book) and an “Agent” who might arrange performances but does not sign contracts, can engage in management decisions or can work in “non-exclusive” relationship with artists.  Fine Arts “Managers” and self-represented artists may take on multiple roles in an artist’s career, both managing and booking.  For this reason, no “rules” can apply to all members in all situations.  The following is a guideline of best practices in a wide-ranging field of relationships and representations which differ from company to company, artist to artist. 


This Code of Ethics is meant to help clarify professional ethical behavior and will continue to evolve as the profession and the needs of our community change.


NAPAMA does not enforce, claim any authority or jurisdiction over the actions, behaviors or relationships between members or with the non-member community, and cannot mediate disputes or claims on behalf of its members. Nothing contained in this document should be construed as legally binding on any parties in a dispute. 


Throughout this document, the term “Manager” covers all companies who are full members of the Association, whether acting as agents or managers.


NAPAMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Behavior comprise the following:

  1. When entering into representation of an artist, the Manager should confirm their agreement verbally and/or in writing, either in a formal contract or in letter form. 
  2. Manager’s agreement should be fair and reasonable and specify terms of commission and billing cycle, the manager’s right to commission upon termination, commissionable activities, applicable represented territory, and any exclusivity terms that may apply to one or more manager representatives.
  3. Create provisions for contract renewal or termination (most agreements are in yearly or multiple year increments)
  4. Communicate in open and honest ways to enhance an Artist’s career
  1. Artists should clearly communicate their own needs, priorities and expectations to be expressed in contractual or agreement terms.
  2. The Artist is expected to meet their financial obligations to the Manager for any performances arranged by the Manager during and following the expiration of a representation agreement, whether or not that agreement is in writing.    
  3. The Artist is expected to refer all performance inquiries to their Manager according to the terms of their management agreement.

Although relations and interactions among Managers are not contractual in nature, they are emblematic of how others may expect to deal with us, our artists, and presenters. 

  1. Managers should respect the integrity of one another’s rosters. 
  2. Any split of commission between Managers should be agreed upon, in writing, in advance.
  3. When promoting their services, Managers should at all times maintain the highest ethical standard, and avoid unnecessary harassment and/or pressure of any kind.
  4. When a Manager is engaged by an artist to replace another Manager, the incoming Manager should use his best endeavors to ensure that the artist honors all reasonable contractual obligations entered into with the outgoing Manager. Alterations to those contractual obligations should only be made through good faith negotiations and agreement between the parties.
  5. All parties should be truthful, fair-minded and respectful when in conversation with artists, presenters and other Managers.

Managers and presenters represent entities beyond themselves: managers, performing artists, presenters, institutions, organizations, and audience. The Manager-Presenter relationship lies at the heart of NAPAMA’s profession, and requires mutual trust and commitment to the performing arts.

  1. Managers and Presenters should provide accurate, efficient and timely sources of information about performing artists.
  2. Managers should promote and represent artists they are expressly authorized to represent.
  3. Managers should articulate accurately the needs, capabilities, and availability of their represented artist as well as the services their represented artist is willing to provide.
  4. “Holds” and/or “Offers” should be requested and granted with the understanding that a decision will be made within a mutually agreed time frame that is reasonable for both parties.
  5. A contract should be requested and supplied when all parties confirm their intention to proceed in accordance with the terms of the engagement.
  6. In circumstances where funding subsidies are pending, there should be a written statement of understanding that addresses the outcome of both scenarios, detailing the nature of the performance with or without the subsidies. This is especially important if the lack of subsidies precludes the presentation. 
  7. Any changes to a contract should be promptly communicated to all parties connected to that agreement.
  8. In the event of a cancellation, the manager and presenter should work together to rectify through mutually agreeable postponement or settlement for services.
  9. Managers should provide or direct Presenters to Artist-approved marketing materials for use for the established engagement.

NAPAMA’s industry includes both entrepreneurial businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Training and professional development programs are limited, and offices are generally small. Because these factors contribute to varying degrees of employee turnover, the engagement and separation of personnel must be undertaken with great delicacy.

  1. Managers should mentor and educate employees in the practical and philosophical aspects of our business, including the need for a clear understanding of artistic quality and entertainment value.
  2. Conditions of employment should be clearly stated in writing.
  3. The disposition of monies which may be payable after an employee leaves the organization; and, any severance conditions, including provisions that preclude future work with artists on the roster during a specified post-separation time period, should be described in the Conditions of Employment.
  4. Formula-based components of remuneration, such as bonus payments tied to income thresholds, should be paid as specified in a timely fashion.
  5. Employees should be required to respect the confidentiality of internal communications, procedures, pricing structures and contacts of their current and former employers, as well as the artists and presenters with whom they work.

The evolving dynamics of our industry make the traditional “we-they” dichotomies increasingly inaccurate and counterproductive. The roles and functions of artists, managers, presenters, funding agencies, and service providers have become more fluid.     Nonetheless, crowded convention schedules, and problematic ratios among professionals in different industry segments, create extreme demands for contacts availabilities, a situation that offers possibilities for competitive conflict. 

The following guidelines are designed to avoid conflict.  

  1. Be polite, decent, courteous, and respectful of each other’s territories.
  2. Comply with Conference regulations regarding booth layout and audio-visual usage to allow full view of neighboring exhibits.
  3. Respect neutral space in which Attendees may circulate freely without aggressive solicitation.
  4. Be respectful and avoid the interruption of meetings among colleagues, in the exhibit hall, booth, or elsewhere.
  5. Managers should be judicious when contacting Presenters prior to a conference. 
  6. Keep digital marketing campaigns relevant and targeted to respect our presenting colleagues. Avoid numerous, repetitive e-blasts to the entire attendee list without discrimination or segmentation.

VII.    Professional Standards

  1. NAPAMA members should not engage in fraudulent, criminal or felonious activity.
  2. NAPAMA members should not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.