Episode 034: Under Contract

Music is a business. Business thrives on the contract. Why are contracts so tricky at the local level?

Have you ever had the issue of a contract sink a gig?

  • Dave:
    • Well, I’ve lost a gig because bar owner wouldn’t agree to the contract – too wordy
  • Paul:
    • Once, yes. I was trying to set up a gig with a relatively established restaurant/bar
    • The manager was definitely opposed to a contract, really took offense
    • Gig went well, brought a lot of people, but never took our call again

Have you ever had a contract not honored by the other party?

  • Dave:
    • Not really – no part that actually mattered (food!)
    • Oh, but the verbal contract…yes. Countless times.
  • Paul:
    • Luckily not… more often jobs for other talent (IOW, working for an artist directly and then they don’t hold up their end)

What do you look for in a contract?

  • Dave:
    • In general, I look for it to spell out expectations
    • It’s almost at times, more a way to manage the conversation
    • I have one that I got from an established booking agency – super helpful/professional (recent gig story)
  • Paul:
    • Cancellation clauses and notice… act of God? venue double books?
    • Sufficient power and space
    • Specifics about the time to play and breaks, proper attire if it’s not a typical pub
    • Recordings, merch… other things that might keep the band from recognizing income

What about contracts other than those for gigs?

  • Band agreements — If your band is making real money, this is a must
    • Covering stuff like what happens to joint purchases
  • Publishing/songwriting
    • Who gets paid and how if a song is selling?
  • Recording Studio Agreement
    • No rights to music and payment terms
  • Booking agents/Band Managers
  • Indie label contracts (production companies appearing like established “labels”
    • All the strings without the benefits

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *