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New Music Producer Contracts Question

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by tigermusicmanagement, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. tigermusicmanagement

    tigermusicmanagement Active Member

    Hey Guys! I recently started producing music for a couple artists and am wondering what the best way to go about getting contracts is.
    As well as producing the music for the artists, I am also going to be producing music videos for them and will be managing them also. Do I need 3 separate contracts for this? Also, the artists are under the age of 18. Does it complicate things with them being minor do to them not being able to sign the contract? Do I get their parents to sign their contracts? But what is to stop the contract from being void when they turn 18?
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    You can issue 1 contract with all the terms included. Parents or legal tutors must sign the documents because minor decisions are not recognise by the law.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, if you want to do this right, you will have to find a bona fide entertainment lawyer. Explain to them exactly what it is that you're trying to accomplish and let them draw up the paperwork. It won't be cheap, but it will be done right. Although any old typical lawyer can put together a contract, they are not likely to know the common pitfalls of the music business.

    Most major cities probably have an entertainment lawyer or two. But for obvious reasons, they tend to set up offices in music/movie/television production hot-spots like Nashville, Atlanta, Miami (focusing on those nearest SC). Or, you might find all you need in Charleston.

    A well-established, well-connected entertainment lawyer can also open other doors for acts they have faith in.

    Best of luck.

    (but if we see one more Auto-Tuned boy-band - we will hunt you down)
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The music production and video production is one time fee-for-service work. The worst disputes in this kind of transaction are usually small claims. I'm not convinced that a lawyer adds much real value over a clear, simple letter of agreement signed by both parties. This gives everyone a record of the fact that the terms had been discussed in advance and agreed on.

    Management is a long-term relationship, and a different story. I'm with dvdhawk on this. A lawyer is in order here (probably for both sides.)
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member


    You do this right, and you might be a minor hero... Do it wrong, and you could be doing major time.
  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    To backtrack for a moment, "the best way to go about getting contracts", is to get something in writing before you start producing something. (which you need to define very specifically. 'Producing' is open to a bunch of different interpretations.)

    Bob, I guess I look at it as betting that the music produced is the basis of a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. Otherwise, why invest time and/or money in it? Especially given the fact that there are minors involved, I would want to make sure everything is clearly spelled out. And that mom & dad know exactly what is going to be required from their 'precious little angel' to make sure I have a chance to recoup my investment. On their end: School nights? Travel? Promotional Appearances? Holidays? Are they going off to college in a year or two? If it's a group, do they have any obligation to stay together for a reasonable period of time to fulfill the contract and give me a chance to break even?

    As we all know, making enough money to quibble over is, as it always has been - a long shot and a lot of work. But in this day and age, who knows what opportunities you might find to monetize something that generates any interest from the web. In the last few years, how many things that have become part of pop-culture based on going viral with some catchy / idiotic / or the rare, genuinely entertaining YouTube video? In the unlikely event you come up with a hot commodity, who owns what? How are we going to divide: Merchandise? Copyrights? Royalties? the expenses necessary to feed the machine? What's the exit-strategy when the contract expires? What if you want out sooner? What if they want out sooner?

    Lots of questions to be addressed if you're looking at this as a legitimate business.

    All I can tell you with absolutely certainty is, it's all fun and games until someone starts making a buck. People will very conveniently forget who put up the money, who contributed the ideas, who put in the hours, who made a thousand phone calls on their behalf.

    As always, just my 2 cents.
  7. tigermusicmanagement

    tigermusicmanagement Active Member

    Thanks Dvdhawk, I appreciate your feedback!
  8. tigermusicmanagement

    tigermusicmanagement Active Member

    Does anybody know if there are pdfs of producer or artist management contracts on this forum?
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I recall some stuff posted a bout 8 years ago. Where it is, is beyond me.
  10. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Believe me or not... I don't really care, but you're somewhat in a position I was... about 5 years ago... and I'm just now getting to the point of releasing my label/management/content distribution company. Granted, we're looking at a magnitude scale larger, but we're about protecting the artist, their content, and all parties attributable to either the creation or management of that content. You can't do this on your own. It's impossible.

    I've looked through all of the legal documentation on-line... and 100% of what I have found and had reviewed by my legal council has informed me that everything that is free, and probably 90%-95% of what you can buy that's boiler plate... will likely not fully stand up in court.

    You need to ensure that the parents/guardians have their own legal council review any contracts you present them... or at least urge them to seek legal review, before signing. Fraud, exploitation and extortion are charges you don't want to deal with... especially when involving minors.

    You need to address several basic areas that are going to require you to do a bucket load of homework, and spend some serious dosh to legally cover your collective butts.

    You don't hafta believe me... but if you don't seek the advice of an entertainment attorney... the worst client you'll ever have is yourself.

    And if you proceed to backdoor your entry into the industry, you can be assured that this industry will eventually eat your lunch and drop you into the next toilet. With likely the outcome being litigated into a tax case in a federal court. It happens quite a bit... So, it's much easier to get an accountant and an entertainment lawyer on retainer and cover your butt.

    or not.

    Do a search on the Chris Daughtry case. It's pressing the extent of how far songwriters can get screwed. It's potentially writing into effect, new law regarding the need for written contracts from day 1... or never.
  11. tigermusicmanagement

    tigermusicmanagement Active Member

    are you saying that if i use a contract from musiccontracts.com, it will not hold up in court?
  12. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    See... this is exactly what I'm referring to... the devil is in the details.

    What I said was that there are likely parts of any contract that might not hold up in court... Extrapolating that; without a reasonably detailed review by your own legal representation as well as the client, you cannot possibly expect to know whether there are any sections that run counter to state law in the state you are operating in... or you're probably going to remain silent on these sections of law... which may... or may not... have serious ramifications.

    DIMA did a lot of damage to being able to properly manage digital assets in a timely or cost effective manner. Couple that with the rates for streaming, download and all other audio formats... and you might end up in audit hell, just trying to get your artist their paltry $5/year.

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