Band manager & music producer contracts
The entire music industry is held together by contracts. These contracts can be a huge hassle and can cause problems, but without them the whole industry would crumble. No one would really know who was suppose to do what, by when and how much they would get paid for it. Arguments about something one person said, and whether they heard or remembered or understood correctly would dominate the scene. And when an issue entered the court system, nothing could be proven. So no matter how annoying you think they may be, contracts keep the music industry alive.
Obviously initial deals and agreements will come up orally. Before you engage with any business or person, you should solidify those early agreements in writing. It isn't that you don't trust the person you are dealing with, it just eliminates people remembering or missing different parts of a conversation later down the road. This will also ensure that both parties understand what they are getting into before committing.
These written contracts will just stand the test of time better than any oral contract that is made. This is especially true in a court case. If for some reason you end up in front of a judge to help settle a dispute, you will find that an oral contract often times can't be backed as well as a written one. In fact, in many states, an oral contract isn't even a legitimate piece of evidence and isn't allowed in the courts. Therefore having a contract written up for pretty much any partnership or agreement that you are going to be taking is part of the music business. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or elaborate either. You don't need a lawyer to do this, nor is notarization of the contract needed.
There are a couple of things that you will need to make sure are in your contract. One of these is the name of all of the parties involved. Normally this would include your band and the club owner or recording company or whoever it is. You will also, obviously, need to say who needs to do what, for how much money and by when. This would be things like how many times or songs does the band have to perform, and how much will the club pay. And then all involved parties need to sign the contract and the date it was signed. This would be a very simple contract, but it will at least give you solid ground to stand on in case someone couldn't hold up to their end of the deal. You may also want to include any agreed upon consequences of breaking the contract.
The contract that you end up writing with someone you are dealing with could end up being pretty elaborate however. Especially if there are a lot of conditions or the contract covers a wide range of possibilities. The more involved the contract, the easier it will be to determine what is going to be done when certain things happen, but it does take long to write up and read. There are generic contracts out there that many people will simply copy with their names on it. This is a dangerous thing to do, especially with all of the different contracts that are available today. You will want to read and fully understand the contract before you decide that it is the one you want to use. If you are unsure you may want to contact an attorney that can make sure you are going to be using the right type of contract for your particular situation.
With all of this potential complication and all of the possibilities of a contract it is easy to see why you need to read everything before you sign anything. Some contracts will be simple and straight-forward, but there will be some, normally with larger companies, that will be very complex and contain words you may not understand. These clauses and phrases are normally a big part of the contract so hiring an entertainment lawyer is a great idea. It will ensure that you won't be locked in for longer than you want to be, and also that there aren't any consequences that you haven't understood in the contract.
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