Recording contract fundamentals are key items you should understand when negotiating in the music business - don't embark on this journey without these basics.
Your focus should be on your creativity or career, not whether you understand how to calculate an artist's royalty. To avoid any future pitfalls,make sure you have the following basic knowledge in your music toolbox below.
An entire recording agreement listing
One of the most significant items in your music business toolbox is your premium recording arrangement listing (See bold items below).
With this knowledge, you will save yourself a lot of grief, court costs and lost time by approaching this business in a structured way.
You can decide which parts you need to focus on most for your journey.
Recording Contract Basics
This involves understanding the basics of the standard recording agreement (contracts). Not all recording arrangements are exactly alike, but they all share the same fundamental pieces.
Contracts can be short, mid or long form, but it's your knowledge that will give you a happy or sad memory of this event. Keep a small memo pad or index note cards for daily reminders that are easy to carry with you, no one wants to carry text books around.
What about recording deal duration?
The duration of contract is one very important recording negotiation aspect for new artists.
A minimum number delivered recordings, reasonable suspension terms, contract year clarification and stated "harsh & unreasonable" conditions statement are critical.
Know your video rights?
Music video rights is a key negotiation point between the artist and record company.
Understanding the term "phonograph records" and it's link to controls and restrictions per the use of video footage. How are video costs recouped, artist video receipts or artist royalties? Negotiation is the key.
Recording Contract and rights of exclusivity
The point here is to keep the competitor companies from recording various versions of your (the artist or music executive) song.
Even when you leave a label, understand your "rerecording restriction", this is key to your future earnings. There are options to control more of your exclusive movie soundtrack rights also.
Artist Royalties are often misunderstood
Fundamentally, domestic artist royalties are from 8% to 12%.
Most popular artists get the highest royalty rates.
You negotiate 85% of the U.S. rate for Canadian sales.
Understand how to negotiate a prorate for discounted wholesale cases.
Recording Contract Requirements for the Process of Recording and Release
Generally, a 'single' means one side of a record, normally 150 seconds.
A record company may finds your music technically non-satisfactory.
If the company is generally not satisfied with your music, they can choose to shelf it or not record you anymore.
A large record company will release records thru it's multiple labels (top, mid or budget labels), commonly, the best promotion is at a high or top line label.
Understand that artists can negotiate the time between national releases, this helps in cases where the company's interest in the you may disappear.
Don't forget the recording costs
Know that if recording costs are paid by the record company, then these costs will be recouped or paid back from the artist's royalties.
Also, understand that songwriting and appearances are the bread and butter for the artists, record companies don't normally profit here.
So understand the edge means leverage, basically an artist's chief negotiation point.
New artist budget costs can run from $70,000 to $150,000.
What are Publishing Rights?
Publishing is simply the use and ownership of musical copyrights.
A copyright can be a licensing of a recording (audio).
If you are the music publisher, you have the right to forego or grant a license.
Recording contract tour support is critical in an artists livelihood
This is an enormous album promotional tool for the artist.
The downside is tour costs often exceed artist income, this eats all the artists profits.
A good manager or booking agent will advise you to negotiate tour support as non-recoupable in your recording contract.
Master usage and the ownership of the recording
Popular artists use their power to negotiate limiting terms of less than full price releases, use of recordings on compilations with other artists, etc.
Understand that the record company considers you as a work for hire, basically a rented employee, so your contract is employment based.
Understand what it means to be an independent contractor, this affects copyright ownership, duration and termination rights.
This is one section to remember. Also, you should understand how greatest hit albums work into this equation.
And I recommend you find a great pair of head phones, this is a must for playback, general pleasure of the music and times when you need a genuine stress reliever.
Do you still DREAM about being in the music business? What's the Hold Up?
If you have that gut-feeling and know you're supposed to be in the music business, if you have excuse after excuse why you shouldn't do it and you're afraid to make a career change...
Then you really need Individuals in the Music Business: the strategic guide for profit and success in the music business! (Coming Soon)
Here is your one stop. The road blocks will disappear and the path will become evident. The questions will be answered and you will begin to chart your course.
Home > Recording Contracts