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Recording Contracts and Your Rights

Aug 17, 2007
Your rights when it relates to recording contracts and the ones you are giving up are important to understand for any newly signed artist. This will be identified as your "Grant of Rights" clause in your new music contract. Please make sure you have a solid understanding of this and all it entails.

A Grant of Rights clause documents the rights that you permit the record company to have control of once you sign the music business contract. The first thing this clause will define is that the company will have sole control over any masters or copyrights from anything you record during the term of the contract.

The second point that is discussed is that the company has the exclusive right to distribute or reproduce any recording throughout the country or even internationally.

The third point will be that the label is the absolute owner of any record, album or work that you have created during the contract. Meaning, it belongs to them, not you. It is something to think about.

You may also have to agree that you will be exclusively retained by the recording company and will not work for or record with any other label or with any other individual during the life of your music contract.

Lastly, you may have to grant the company the right to use and publish your name, likeness and any biographical material for promotions or other activities. This is pretty standard in every music business contract.

Honestly, as you can see, you will have a lot to think about when in comes to signing music contracts with major labels. Although it may have been a lifelong dream of yours, it might end up seeming as if you sold your life away. But keep in mind that this is going to be the case with any music business contract with any label. You have a lot to think about and discuss.

The Grant of Rights clause is the clincher for some people to refuse but honestly, if a recording contract is what you want then you are going to have to agree to their terms. Your only other options are to start your own record label or join an independent label who has less restrictive requirements. But if signing with a major label is a dream come true for you then go for it, just educate yourself on what you are getting into.
About the Author
Online music industry's most recognizable voice-the former owner of an Indie label-current owner of Platinum Millennium Pub. & music industry seminar speaker/panelist. Author/creator of 40+ best-selling music biz materials & other "How to" resources, that helped 1000s of people. Visit http://www.order-yours-now.com/ for more information on music contracts, recording contracts & music business contracts.
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