A Boutique Atlanta Firm Committed To Creative Solutions.

5 points to understand in entertainment contracts

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Entertainment Law |

Signing a contract as a musician can be an exciting experience, but it is crucial not to oversimplify the situation. These documents are typically lengthy, contain many dense conditions and employ technical legal jargon. Knowing what to look for in these contracts is crucial to ensuring a fair and mutually beneficial agreement.  

What should you look out for in a contract? 

Like any other legal document, you should read a contract before signing it. It can also be wise to consult a legal professional who can help you understand the terms and negotiate any problematic issues.  

As you review a contract, pay attention to these five points: 

Pay or royalties
If you are a musician, you may get paid via royalties. There are different types of royalties: mechanical (physically or digitally reproduced musical composition), performance (when work is performed live, streamed digitally or played on the radio), print music and sync (composition appears alongside visual content).  

The term or duration of the contract is usually measured in years or releases. Lengthier contracts can often favor music companies; shorter contracts can be more attractive to musicians who want to be flexible and free to explore other options more quickly. 

Project expenses like marketing, production and packaging can fall under this category and will reduce the amount of money in royalties a person will collect. Understanding these deductions can help you manage expectations and anticipate project expenses. 

Termination clauses
Another crucial section of a contract is the termination clause. These clauses should state the circumstances under which either party can terminate the agreement. Familiarize yourself with these, as they can be crucial for ending the relationship without you or your career suffering legal repercussions. 

Creative control and protecting creative assets
Control over your music or work is a vital part of entertainment contracts. You should know what the limitations and allowances are regarding areas like approvals, creative directions and potential marketing strategies.

Signing a contract protects both parties 

A signed contract ensures both parties will fulfill their legal obligations or face consequences, which provides valuable protection and reassurance. A contract can also help settle future disputes, secure intellectual rights and clarify the terms of the agreement. Because of how beneficial and powerful these agreements can be, it is crucial that you understand these points and have legal representation when signing.