Instead of rushing to sign your life and money, it`s best to spend money in advance to make sure you know what you`re getting into and renegotiate the terms if necessary. A music recording contract or a recording contract is an agreement that record companies use to assert their ownership of the product of a recording session (the main recording) and their license rights in promoting the record. They also use the contract to describe the payment of a fixed percentage of royalties to singers and/or songwriters who want to record music (i.e., music artists who record an album or film a music video). The contract should provide for scenarios that could give the parties the right to terminate the agreement. There should be safeguards if the label is wound up or does not release the plate or if either party violates the contract. What makes a record deal good are the conditions that allow each party to benefit from the deal. A one-year contract should be followed by a few option periods during which the label can extend your contract longer if they like your performance. As the name suggests, 360° contracts aim to cover all parts of the artist`s income and labelling services. A 360° contract is designed to allow the record company to receive funds from the four revenue streams listed above, and ideally provides services to artists to maximize funds from each of these revenue streams. You never know who is connected to whom, so make friends with everyone – sound engineers, room owners, music store owners and staff, music teachers and students, bloggers, influencers, fans, and more. So you need to be aware that a recording contract is what you want. And you have to work for that.
Otherwise, you won`t get it. Let me be philosophical for a moment: any contractual clause that benefits one side of a record deal more than the other will cause bitterness and resentment in the future. A short-term contract allows artists to move to another record company after finishing the first record if they wish. Circumstances can change quickly and it`s good to keep options open. In many ways, today`s recording contract is very similar to yesterday`s recording contract, even in this streaming-first music landscape. These agreements bind companies and creators in a legal marriage and establish commercial characteristics to ward off future He-Said-She-Saids. Some contracts have an expiry date. Others last forever. They almost always dictate a trade: multi-year copyright control for silver shelves, marketing commitments for a portion of royalties, early investments for the final word on whether your hair should be green or blue for the next album cycle. Joke. Sorta.
Exploitation is carried out through physical sales such as CD, vinyl and cassette; public performance and dissemination of works; and the sale of digital products such as mobile downloads and ringtones. The contract defines a recording that also includes audiovisual equipment. Dualdisc, DVD and other new technologies are therefore covered by this definition. So, if you are about to sign a recording contract, we wish you all the best. This is a model that is very common in today`s music industry. The label minimizes risk by making business decisions based on the measured success an independent artist has already achieved. This means that independent success is important, whether you want to sign with a label in the future or not. Please understand that negotiations are necessary and even expected. The label probably doesn`t even expect you to sign without negotiating your terms. Check if the contract is for one year, which is the norm for new artists these days. If not, make sure you know what you`re getting into and renegotiate if necessary.
Recording contracts have generally always tried to acquire and hold copyright. What has changed is the method of distribution. It`s not necessarily fair, but it happens. So take your time, find out if it`s a good deal for you, and negotiate. If things fall apart, that`s fine. If you can deserve the attention of a label, another contract will surely be just around the corner. Where there is no trust, resentment will certainly build up, and this can make the relationship very sour. This can cause each party to act in a way that is outside the contract. That said, if you`re tied to a long-term contract these days, you might end up with a boss looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do and when to ask for the unreasonable, for five or even 10 years.
Basically, you give up control for a longer period of time. In this article, we`ve briefly covered some of the issues that involve exclusive recording contracts, but before you sign anything, you should always seek the advice of an experienced music lawyer. Registering contracts can seriously affect your health – as well as your bank balance – and while the chances of success in this industry are huge, the chances of burning your fingers are also huge! Betty Who with her RCA recording contract. (Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford) While we`ve done our best to make sure you know what to watch out for and how to deal with it, we always recommend working with an entertainment lawyer when signing a recording contract. Many artists assume that they will be presented with the agreement of a lifetime and will quickly sign on the dotted line. After all, a recording contract is what they have been looking for for years, if not decades. Don`t let a record company convince you that one or two percent license fees are the industry standard. Some record companies hunt down unsuspecting artists by offering relatively large pre-signature bonuses that give their artists a first sense of accomplishment. But in turn, the contract gives the artist a paltry royalty rate that guarantees that the label – not the artist – will reap all the long-term benefits of artistic success. The music industry is more competitive than ever, which means you can`t just deliver a “good” song or a “presentable” demo. You need exceptional songs with great hooks that are recorded, mixed and mastered professionally.
Many artists today skip the “demo” stage altogether, simply raising the money to make a professional EP or a full album that they can sell directly to fans, and letting that recording pass for a “demo” for labels. .