This is one of many reasons that bands fall out and split up. In the beginning you might believe that you and your band mates are above needing recognition for songwriting but as soon as your start earning money and songwriting royalties come into play, you’ll wish you had something in writing.
Delivery of the goods
By this we mean what would happen should one of the band members duck out and leave you in the lurch partway through a 15 date tour? Can they just leave you with no repercussions or do they need to give you a bit of notice? This needs to be detailed in your band contract.
There are things that need paying when you are in a band but who is responsible? The chances are that if there is no formal arrangement in place the same couple of people will keep shelling out the cash from their own pocket. Some members may not have the cash flow to pay expenses but the person who is paying may want some assurance that they will eventually be reimbursed.
If you’re recording an album or something and you need a couple of extra guitarists, are these guys now a part of your band? Or are they simply freelancing ‘extras’?
It’s possible that you may have made purchases as a band and maybe even taken out loans as a band. What will happen when your bank breaks up or one member leaves? If you are planning on making major purchases for instruments and equipment it is essential that you know where you stand.
- Jun 17 2011
As with any specific industry there is a whole load of jargon that you won’t understand so it is important that you have a basic knowledge of key terms you will find in a music producer contract.
Different music producers’ work in very different ways and so it is essential that you have written into the contract what is expected of the producer. Some producers prefer to be very hands on and have a creative input, whereas others will take a back seat and ensure that the songs are recorded correctly. Decisions around the role the producer has needs to be clarified and written into the contract before the project starts.
In the industry it is very common for record producers to be paid for their work in advance so it is important that this is stated in the contract. You are more likely to be able to pay a record producer after the project if they are less established.
Are you allowing your producer first refusal on the remix? This is a common but fairly unpopular clause in music producer contracts as it means as the artist you might struggle to get the track to someone else. Always try and negotiate yourself out of this one.
Who pays the producer?
If you are not paying the producer but perhaps a third party such as your record label, this needs to be in writing. Most music producers would probably request third party payments in writing anyway. An ideal set up would be for you/third party to foot the bill if the overage is your fault, and the producer to soak up their own costs if going over budget is down to them.
This is an extremely important part of the contract. Unless you want to relinquish rights to your own work it is essential that you clearly state that all finished recording and master copies are exclusively owned by you.
- Jun 17 2011
The issue has arisen from whether digital revenues from retailers should be considered a sale or a license. Until now record labels have always paid artists as if they were a sale which offers around 12-15%. However, FBT Productions claimed that they should be treated as licenses – 50% of revenue.
The law suit from the estate of the late Rick James states:
"By this lawsuit, Plaintiff seeks to compel UMG to account to and pay its other recording artists and music producers (i.e., those not directly involved in the FBT litigation) their rightful share of the licensing income paid to UMG for downloads and mastertones of the recorded music licensed by UMG to these entities."
Newer and more modern contracts between labels and artists clearly state how the digital royalties will be split, but earlier ones are less clear cut. The class action suit could have a significant impact on the music industry as any artist can join the class.
- Jun 17 2011
An artist or band manager runs the business side of an artist such as booking gigs, promotion etc. The goal of a manager is to run the business, whilst the artist or band can focus on what they do best – create music.
This will largely depend upon where the artist is within their career.
A signed artist should expect their manager to:
• Manage everyone else working with or for the artist such as agents and merchandisers
• Negotiate expenses with the record label
• Act as a liaison between the label and the artist or band
An unsigned artist should expect their manager to:
• Book studio time and practice sessions
• Send demos to record labels, radio stations and online networking sites
• Network with ‘important’ people
• Book gigs and invite record labels and local media to the shows
• Any other PR
• Arrange travel and accommodation for tours/gigs
Contracts & Agreements
You should ensure that you have a written agreement when acting as the manager for any artist or band – even if it is a group of friends. If you are being paid, it is important that the percentage is stipulated in the contract. Other things that should be included are what the band/artist expect the manager to do, and vice versa; what happens if the manager and artist are to part. It is particularly important that a contract is signed when you have an informal arrangement to ensure that you don’t get stung.
Your salary will depend on the success of your acts as managers are usually paid a percentage of the acts income, typically between 15 and 20%. Any financial deal should be revisited if an event has had a significant impact on the band’s income – positively or negatively.
Getting into the industry
The first step is usually to manage personal friends, or artists who live in your local area. Volunteer to work for free whilst you are learning, offer to help out bands who are struggling to keep their website updated or organise gigs. Other routes into the business include internship opportunities at management companies. Don’t take no for an answer.
- Jun 17 2011
What do you want the promoter to do?
As with all relationships in the music industry, different people have different expectations from music promoters so the job description needs to be clearly set out in the contract. For example, do you want the promoter to arrange your accommodation on your behalf? Take note that any bookings made would be coming out of the artist’s pocket – not the promoters. Another example is promotional material – who is responsible for creating the posters, flyers and so on? All this information needs to be clearly set out before any working relationship is established.
Payment will depend upon what deal has been agreed as you could be paid a flat fee decided before the contract is signed or a door split deal. A door split deal is usually more common for indie artists as you simply take a share of the ticket sales with the promoter. The promoter is likely to take back any costs associated with your performance and then split the profits, typically around 70% to 30%. On a door split deal the artist should always take the majority share, not the promoter.
What expenses can the promoter reclaim?
This is up to the artist and needs to be put in writing in the contract, but common expenses that can be reclaimed from the fee include the venue hire, the rider, and hire of equipment, and accommodation.
What should the contract cover?
A good contract should cover the date and time of the show, the venue, the length of the artist’s performance, any soundcheck times, the accommodation arrangements, whether the artist can sell merchandise, the ride and the deal.
- Jun 17 2011