LESSON 3. Contracts
A contract is an obligation to do or not to do a something. It could be an action like paying for studio time, getting paid for a performance, or even transferring ownership in your copyright.
A valid agreement comes into being when:
- There is consensus: you understand each other
- Performance is possible: your obligation can be achieved physically and legally
- You have capacity: your can create legal relationships and are not underage, insolvent or insane
- Required formalities: for example, the transfer of ownership of copyright has to be in writing.
The major agreements you may encounter when you begin in the music industries are:
- Songwriter and performer royalty splits (you pay for recordings)
- Digital aggregation (to get those recordings into online stores)
- Live performances (when artists get gigs)
Later, you may be asked to agree to:
- a music publishing contract (for your music)
- a recording agreement (to perform on a recording paid for by someone else)
- a booking agent agreement (when you’re can’t book your own gigs anymore)
- a publicist agreement (when you can’t handle the heat from social media anymore)
Be careful, as sometimes contracts can include a variety of rights. Take a look at this contract that gives ownership to both sound recordings (master) and music / literary works in favour of the record label (owner) with a royalty split to a performer / songwriter.
Listen to Mark Friedman, Nick Matzukis, Jonathan Shaw and Ivor Haarburger (2011)