Music Contracts 101 Part One: The Basics

music contractsWhether you have been using a contract for years or if it is brand new for you, it won’t kill you to examine and perk up your music contracts. Ideally, you are going to want fair-minded music business contracts that are designed for precision rather than their negotiating strength on either side. The most important thing is you want to have everyone in on the deal on the same page. You want a fair contract so everyone is happy.

Although it is suitable (and believe it or not legal) to use a handshake or verbal agreement, it is extremely difficult to enforce in court. Trust is a huge factor in this type of agreement so unless you have a stellar reputation or you have true confidence in the people you are working, music contracts should not be agreed upon this way.

Money is usually one of the chief factors involved in recording contracts and music business contracts in general.

If you are an indie label boss or an artist manager and are looking for a brief overview of what is involved in your standard recording contracts or music business contracts then here are some important concepts to consider.

  1. Sometimes all you need is a date, agreed upon time and a simple signature from you and the other party involved.
  2. Next, you may want to define what is involved with their overall performance. Basically, what is expected of the artist? Is there a minimum length of time they need to perform? How many breaks will be allowed? What is the environment of the performance?
  3. It is crucial that the you and the artist have in writing agreed upon location of performance, the correct date and the time the band or artist needs to show up in music contracts.
  4. Money, money, money! Isn’t that what it all boils down to in the music industry? Will you have a set amount you will pay? What about a percentage of how many people pay at the door? Who will receive the payment? When will they receive the payment? How will they receive the payment? Will it be cash, check or paid in something such as free drinks or studio time?
  5. When it comes to recording contracts, the artist must grant explicit permission. Involved in this may be recording, reproduction, transmission and photography of the artist. Is it ok for you to record the performance? Can you print promotional materials with their names included? These things are crucial to consider.

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