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How to handle royalty payments to artists.

I'm an agent and pay quarterly royalties to the artists I represent.  I'm setting up QB for the first time and need to enter the historical data to get started.  How, and in what order, do I enter the Customer Royalty Checks received and the subsequent payments I made to the artists I represent?
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The artists are Vendors for you. The payments to you are...

The artists are Vendors for you.

The payments to you are income. The payouts are expense. You should track Gross, even if you hold back a commmission.

You get to choose how to track this. The artists could be Sales Reps, if each sale is for one artist only. I also would consider how you want to use Items. If the royalties come from specific unit sales, such as Books, the Titles would be Noninventory Items. Now you can track and manage and report total sales and qty and pricing for each Title. The Royalty Payment would be done using the same Item, so that the items are something you set up as "two sided" meaning, you buy and sell it. That also means the payment for royalties lists the specific items and qty for royalties paid, and the artist can clearly see what and which and how many and how much.