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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Spiller

What is the Talent Agency Act?

Updated: Dec 31

A performer on a stage

The California Talent Agency Act (“TAA”) was designed to regulate and license talent agents, and to protect artists from unlicensed individuals. The Act requires anyone who wants to open a talent agency to obtain a license from the state of California.

Who falls under the Talent Agency Act?

Any person or corporation who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists, except that the activities of procuring, offering, or promising to procure recording contracts for an artist or artists shall not of itself subject a person or corporation to regulation and licensing under this chapter.” See Labor Code §1700.4(a).

What are the origins of the Talent Agency Act?

The TAA was enacted in 1978 in response to widespread reports of abusive practices by agents and managers in the industry. The law requires agents and managers to disclose their fees and commissions to artists, and prohibits them from engaging in certain types of behavior that could be considered unfair or coercive. For instance, it prohibits agents from charging talent more than 10% of their income, and prevents them from taking any ownership stake in their clients' careers. The act resulted from the fact that Artists were often taken advantage of by those in the business world because many artists lacked the knowledge, sophistication, or resources to protect themselves.

What is the most common violation of the Talent Agency Act?

The most common violation of the TAA is when talent managers act as agents without first obtaining the requisite license. A talent agent is a person or business whose job is to find jobs for artists, and who must have a license to practice. Conversely, talent managers focus on providing career guidance and business management. If a talent manager starts acting like a talent agent by soliciting and procuring jobs for artists, without a license, they are in violation of the Talent Agency Act.

What are the consequences of violating the Talent Agency Act?

If the parties are in violation of the Talent Agency Act, the Labor Commissioner or arbitrator can: (1) void the parties’ contract, (2) strike out an illegal provision of the contract, and/or (3) order the talent manager to give up the profits they gained from violating the Act.


In conclusion, Artists need to be aware of these practices and to make sure that any agent the Artist works with has obtained the proper license and is registered with the Talent Agency Registry.

This article was contributed by Hannah Noëlle Johnson, a legal intern at Spiller Law.

Spiller Law is an advisor to startup businesses, entertainment and media companies, and artists. Feel free to schedule a free consultation.


Spiller Law is a San Francisco business, entertainment, and estate planning law firm. We serve clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and California. Feel free to arrange a free consultation using the Schedule Appointment link on our website. For other questions, feel free to call our offices at 415-991-7298.


The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers are advised to consult with their legal counsel for specific advice.

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