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getting educated on the legalities of music production

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by jfavela, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Hi all. I am a small studio owner who is trying to get educated on the legalities of music production. I have many questions.
    Here is my situation.
    I am an aspiring producer/engineer. I am starting to record a major project which I plan to sell/market as much as my budget will allow.
    I am looking for contracts/agreements that will protect everybodys best interests.
    The band I will be recording/producing has a few songwriters. I also want the band to record songs written by, "outside" parties.
    Will you PLEASE send/refer me some legal documents that may be what I need.
    Here are the roles of the current project.
    I am the drummer/producer/engineer
    lead vocalist/ writes most lyrics
    bass player/ writer
    lead guitar/ primary song writer
    rythym guitar/ writer
    If the band uses songs written by outside parties how does the royalties structure change/look? Is there, "standard" percentages for projects like these?

    I also want to get involved in the hip-hop genre.
    I will be purchasing beats/music.
    I have some rappers to write/perform lyrics to accomodate the beats/music.
    I will be the producer/engineer for this as well.

    Any and all help is GREATLY Appreciated!

    Clear Image Studios
  2. _Mikael

    _Mikael Active Member

    I know this might sound obvious, but get a lawyer.

    The music business is a tangled web of laws, contracts, etc. The best way to protect yourself long term is to find someone to do it for you right the first time. Indeed, it's an investment, but a very worthwhile one -- especially if this is what you want to do for a living.
  3. Good luck finding something to protect EVERYONE's best interest! Contracts are a give and take sort of thing, and everyone wants to take and no one wants to give. I'm sure you know that the best solution is to get an entertainment attorney (not just any attorney, but one that primarily deals with entertainment law), but I'm sure you lack in the funds for one. In that case, I would purchase packages of generic contract templates. They will hold up (in fact, anything you sign or even verbally agree to has the chance to hold up in court) but they may take some modifications on your part.

    As for "outside" parties writing songs you perform, I am assuming you mean you want to cover a song. In that case, you need to obtain a mechanical license from the publisher or copyright administrator for the particular work which you wish to cover. The Harry Fox Agency is pretty thorough, although I have found quite a few innaccuracies (mainly because I know the bands and know their publishers). Anyway, expect to pay US $0.085 per copy. That's not a percentage, but a set rate. Your project is able to take in the rest of the money generated; you pay only US $0.085 per copy. Usually, they will want you to pay in advance by the 1000 copies (US $85.00 upfront).

    Hope that helps.
  4. jfavela

    jfavela Guest

    Where may I find such documents?

    where can I find/purchase such documents?
  5. _Mikael

    _Mikael Active Member

    Googling "Music business legal documents" brought up a whole slew of sites.
  6. _Mikael

    _Mikael Active Member

    Might I recommend Donald Passman's book on music law? Look up on Amazon.com or your local library. It's THE comprehensive guide to the subject, and while a bit of a dry read, totally informative.
  7. MyOwnMusicBiz

    MyOwnMusicBiz Active Member


    Please check out a website I created called MyOwnMusicBusiness.org. I think it would be a great reference to help you start your own music publishing and licensing business.


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