Sunday, July 31, 2016

What’s in Your Contract? There should be nothing ‘Standard’ About your Contract

E.O.A.A WEEKLY: Friday, September 19, 2015, Re-posted July 31, 2016
Written by Tiwanda ‘Ne Ne’ Lovelace Bio | Email Website | Twitter | YouTube | Online Store

What’s in Your Contract?

“There should be nothing ‘Standard’ About your Contract!”

 Although, no contract should be allowed to take away your rights as a U.S. Citizen, your contract should be tailor-made to fit your needs.

Never listen to an attorney that tells you that your music/publishing contract containing low figures is standard. If you hear those words, run as fast as your little legs can carry you because that attorney works for the system. These are not just words and I can prove it. 

Due to personal experience, I would have to warn you that this is the same ‘system’ that will probably sell you down the river, rather than help you recover.

If you have attended and/or graduated from a School of the Arts program, then you will be familiar with most of the aspects of signing the contract so half the battle is over but don’t think that you are exempt from being victimized.

The company holds all the cards and most of the time they usually have your career planned out before the contract is on the table. Just remember that if it was easy then everyone would have contracts.

As with any company, most contracts are first introduced solely for the benefit of the company.

As an artist you have probably already been on the ‘grind’ for years and you really want to be signed.

You should recognize that the standard contract can be all that is needed to ‘shelf’ you and if you are at the point of signing you already know what it means to be put on the ‘shelf.’

Just to have a contract doesn’t mean that all of your dreams are coming true. You have to consider everything from the signing bonus, to the time-frame that the contract in intended to cover, how much creative control you will maintain and much more.

That signing bonus or advance is not free money and will have to be repaid to the record company. These figures will be taken right off the top of your portion so take an active part in negotiations and know exactly what it is that you are getting into.

When addressing the contract’s advances, you will want to pay close attention to that amount because this will tell you whether or not this company is really serious about you and your talents or whether they will betray your trust.

It is important to think past the present and try to think about the future with regards to how much it will cost to retain an attorney if this
deal goes bad.

If you are offered a very small amount, then you may want to decline this deal completely because that is a good sign that they don’t want you to be able to defend yourself financially.

They know that later on down the line and once you are signed there will be nothing that you can do to prevent them from victimizing you. Remember in the title, Music Business: It’s a Dirty Game, ‘they will be all smiles, pretending to have genuine interest, introducing you to other producers - when all the while they will be ‘gutting’ all of your materials.’

The budget that is mentioned in the contract is not your money that you can use to satisfy all your whims but it is the amount of money that will be used to further the project.

This money is usually dedicated to cover the cost of studio time, manager, expenses, promotion and marketing. 

These companies are not in the business of just giving money away and you should know that there are people working at many levels that share in your budget so you might want to hold off on ‘making it rain’ right away.

Considering the contract and all of the details involved, you would definitely want to read every line and seek counsel. I would encourage you to seek counsel from an attorney who is within the entertainment industry and also obtain a consultation with an attorney who is outside of the industry.

Most entertainment lawyers have their own clients and artist that they represent.

Keep in mind that most attorneys will not fight tooth and nail on behalf of the artist because they don’t want to make waves with the record company. They would want to assure that he/she does not risk losing potential future business.

Remember that most of the attorney’s in the music industry are familiar with each other and have had business dealings with each other at some point.
Find the answers to the many questions regarding how the music industry and this ‘system’ continues to operate with impunity in E.O.A.A. Educating Our Aspiring Artist  Weekly Articles Sponsored by SWP, LLC...

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For more detailed information regarding the many groups and what it means to be properly aligned, I encourage you to read Music Business: It’s a Dirty Game!

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