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Music Contracts 101 Part Two: More Basics

Nov 12, 2007
Once again, music business contracts and recording contracts can be intimidating to all of those involved. Maybe you are starting your own label or are a new manager in the music industry, whatever your situation, you must grasp the basics involved in music contracts.

Our last article include some starter concepts to include in your contracts. Here are a few more to consider before getting anyone's John Hancock.

1. Will you have the right to sell the artist's merchandise on their premises? For the artist, this is usually their decision and at smaller venues, this should be a no-brainer. But, if you happen to be scheduling a performance at a larger venue, there may need to be some prior agreements made.

Some larger sites have specific rules for selling on their premises. For instance, they may want a percentage or they may have their own people sell these items.

2. OK, on to some more basics. In your music contracts you may have to include terms for meals, transportation and/or accommodations. This will often vary from performance to performance but it is something that must be defined. Will it be a corporate gig, a college show, a public venue or a private venue? Is the gig located out of town?

Things such as guest lists, number of guest passes and even dressing rooms have to be defined. Keep your artists informed and comfortable by defining this in their music contracts.

3. Who will produce the show and provide sound? You don't want to sound test and/or quality to be ruined by improper planning. Will the performer provide the sound and production aspect, will you or will the venue?

4. Good music business contracts cover the areas of permits, taxes and licenses that are involved in the performance and the venue. Remember, different place require a variety of these above mentioned items. Be informed and know what is required where.

5. Will you include a clause known as Acts of God? What are the terms if there is uncontrollable weather or if the artist gets sick? Sometimes one doesn't consider these common things but protect you and the party involved be defining these items in music contracts.

6. Royalties and licensing are huge in recording contracts. Make sure all your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed in this area. Suing is huge in the music industry so make sure all of the parties have the proper licensing and permission for all music performed and recorded.

7. Lastly, do you have any strict requirements for the artist or band? Remember, all gigs and venues are different. These requirements can vary from dress, to announcements to language or to eating. Either way, you need to clearly define what is expected from each artist in each venue.

This article and its predecessor clearly defines what needs to be included in all music business contracts. Your contracts will vary from person to person so make sure you revise each template you own for all your music contracts. Artists and venues vary and so will your recording contracts and music business contracts!
About the Author
Owner of Platinum Millennium publishing, former record label owner & national music industry seminar speaker/panelist. Author/creator of best-selling music biz books, courses, audio products & "How to" resources that helped 1000s. Go to http://www.musiccontracts101.com for more info on music contacts, recording contracts & music business contracts.
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