Sometimes we forget that by having a music career, you are turning your band into a business. With everything else, you want to make sure that you have yourself covered and protected as well as keeping the people around you protected. You can easily find contract templates online and do this yourself. We do suggest if you are really serious about your career that you seek out proper legal advice. Here are the different contracts that every serious musician should have.
A Songwriter Partnership Agreement – If you are in a band or if you are working on a song with someone else, you want to have a contract stating who gets what percentage of the song. You don’t want to be fighting over this later if your song makes it big.
A Co-Publishing Agreement – You need to determine who gets what percentage of the publishing rights to your song. Your best bet is to do this upfront. You need to be in agreement with your other songwriter (if you have one.)
Artist Management Agreement – You’re in a good place with your career if you need a manager. You need a contract with this person to decide what percentage of what the manager is entitled to. You also want in writing at least some sort of goal plan and strategy that this person will provide for you. Consider terms of what will cause a breach of contract and if/how you can get out of this contract if it’s not working out with your manager.
Tour Management Agreement – Much like your artist management agreement, you are going to want to do the same thing with your tour manager. They are going to be responsible for a lot of the decisions being made when you hit the road. You need to know where everyone stands and what everyone expects.
Live Performance Agreement – When you play a show, you should be getting paid. You need to make a contract with each venue stating what you will get paid, when you will get paid and how. This will eliminate any friction when the show is over and you’re expecting a certain amount of money. If you have a signed agreement, they have to follow through with it.