Why Do I need a Contract?

Contracts are an essential part of the music industry and sound business relationships. Not only do they protect you as a band, single artist, actor (everyone in the entertainment industry) as well as start-ups and existing businesses, contracts help things work more efficiently. Musicians think having am oral contract is good enough and that we will try to solve the dispute when the issue  arise. There is lots of great reasons why you should have details of the formation, titles, compensation, travel expense etc. in a contract that all have mutually agreed upon– especially indie bands.  Most indie bands may have asked themselves a multitude of the following questions, including several below.

I’m working with my friends, and I trust everyone implicitly. Why would we need a contract?
I’m too much of an artist for things like contracts. Contracts are for those corporate guys. I’m not doing this for money – I’m doing it as a hobby or the love for music.
The truth is …………Working with friends can be very difficult. When something doesn’t go right, not only is it frustrating professionally, it is frustrating on a personal level. Working together can destroy friendships and cause strain on building a business relationship.

Contracts are useful for all of these reasons. Contracts let everyone know exactly where they stand and besides professional, it show you really are organized and serious about your craft. A contract spells out what someone’s role is, what their responsibilities are, and what they will be paid for their work. Contracts can truly save friendships – when you’re working with a friend, if a problem arises, you have your written agreement to fall back on that’s reliable, simply because, you and your band had an mutual agreement that all parties consented. There is no room for disagreements in this industry, this will take time from your skills and focus.

 Contracts also protect you and ensure you get everything to which you are entitled. Even if there really is no money involved now, there could be sometime down the line. Now is the best time to decide how that money will be handled and divided. You probably said, “I don’t care about the money.” Artists need money, too. Protecting your financial assets is an investment in your artistic vision, do not throw away your vision. This is a major cause in unsuccessful artists (besides sales), due to irrelevant issues that could have been prevented. From my experience in the music industry, I’m not saying this will happen, I’m saying this is a key factor that is stressful and could be avoided with being organized and using the right tools to form your band.

Lastly, if you have asked yourself the following questions:

But what about contracts between band members.
 Is that really necessary? Well, it could be.
Who writes the songs in your band? Are there band members who do all of the creative legwork, and other band members who just show up and play?
If you start to make money, do you want everyone to be paid the same, no matter what their role, or do you want the songwriter to make more money?
What about money that goes into the band?
Does everyone contribute equally?
How and when will that money be paid back?
These kinds of questions can easily be addressed by a having an enforceable contract; answering them now and detailing all these answers in the contract can save you from some messy disagreements and headaches down the line.

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