I cannot stress it enough. You should never sign a contract without thoroughly going through it first. Especially when it has to do with your music career.
Fortunately, my message was heard loud and clear by a new client of mine, who we shall call Mr Songwriter. He was presented a rather lengthy 360° recording, publishing and management contract by a well established record label, who we shall call The Record Label. Well to my client’s fortune, the contract was riddled with numerous clauses which have the potential to jeopardize his music career, and which were spotted early enough to prevent damage. Some of these clauses were obvious, whereas most where subtle! The subtle clauses are the ones you must be careful of.
I was approached to read through the contract and weigh in. I did just that, and have decided to share my report with those of you interested. Given the time constraints and the length of the contract, I could not do a clause-by-clause rumble, as my report would have been easily 30 pages in length, so my meager 7 pages will have to do. Read it if you actually want to get an idea of the type of contracts that still exist. Many people think that the big scary contracts I warn them against are like ghost stories – some believe, others don’t. The truth is, they exist (the contracts that is, not necessarily the ghosts).
Click here: Report on The Record Label Contract
I always have an open door policy when it comes to contracts. Contact me first before signing, and I can steer you in the right direction. It’s so easy for a lawyer to advise you before entering into a contract, but it is almost impossible, not to mention costly, to get a lawyer involved after the contract has already been signed.
My latest infographic will explain all the ways artists can make money in the music industry. Some ways are better than others. I compiled a list of what I thought is the best, and what artists should focus on first. But depending on the artists, how long they have been around or where they are in the world, it might change.
Feel free to share . Knowledge is power.
Last week Monday (18 Sep) I got an opportunity to address interested ears on my passion i.e. music law. It was a more intimate environment where every 15min I’d address a new group of about 10 people (did this 5 times). It was great for me to be among so much talent. Quicket, What’s on in Cape Town and Drifters Brewery all did a phenomenal job in hosting this event. Be sure to be at the next one.
I am also proud to announce that as of last week, I am now a member of the Copyright Alliance, which is a group of industry specialists who formed to protect our copyright laws. The goal of the Copyright Alliance is to address issues raised in the new Copyright Bill and to ensure that author’s rights are properly protected, something the new Bill doesn’t seem to care about. Fortunately, those that are party of the Copyright Alliance are in an excellent position to give input as it comprises of members from all the fundamental music institutions in South Africa (i.e. SAMRO, CAPASSO, DALRO, RiSA, SAMPRA, MASA and MPA SA etc.)
Participants reading my infographic
Giving musicians “the talk”
This year I’ve been asked to speak at Music Exchange (MEX) on a topic I’m dearly passionate about. Music law, specifically contracts in the music industry. I got some brochures printed for those attending. I’m quite excited to have something that I’ve worked on (the infographic) being turned into a tangible product.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of music contracts, the pitfalls and what to avoid etc. catch me this year on Sunday, 10 September at 12h00
Have you ever wondered what a music contract looks like without the legal jargon – then scan through this infographic which has some of the most common clauses you can find in a standard record label / publishing contract. I have ‘translated’ the entire contract into an easy to read non-legal jargon based contract i.e. as if the person who drafted it is your drinking buddy. If you are interested, you are welcome to download it just so you can see how bad these contracts can get. Please think twice before signing anything.
▼ Download Here ▼
Record Contract without legalese