Join Richard Stim for an in-depth discussion in this video Term and options, part of Music Law: Recording, Management, Rights, and Performance Contracts.
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- How long does a record contract last?…That is, how long does a musician…have to furnish recordings…exclusively to the record label?…This period of time is called the term.…There is typically an initial term of 12 months…to make the first recording,…and subsequent one year terms, known as options,…to make other recordings.…Independent record companies usually seek options…for one to three albums.…Majors typically seek four to seven.…For a musician,…it may be tempting to sign a deal…providing for many options.…
After all, it's a multi-album deal.…How exciting is that?…However, because these are options,…the musician is guaranteed only the first album.…If the label doesn't want to continue,…they don't exercise the option,…and drop the musician, and that's it.…By doing it this way,…the record company lowers its risk,…and increases its chance of making a profit.…Because there is no guarantee…that options will turn into recordings,…it benefits the musician to limit options…to as few as possible, ideally, to two or three recordings.…
For example, when it comes to record contracts, it's important to know how advances and royalties work, how to maintain creative control, and what happens when a member leaves a band. Rich also tackles management contracts, describing what managers can do for you—and what to do when you need to let them go. Next, he explores the basic terms, riders, and payment options in performance contracts. Then learn about releases, artwork permissions, publishing and producer agreements, and other types of legal arrangements. Rich wraps up the course with a discussion of oral agreements, attorney fees and roles, and five basic rules worth remembering for every music contract.
DISCLAIMER: This course is taught by an attorney (or other instructor) and addresses US law concepts that may not apply in all countries. Neither LinkedIn (including Lynda.com) nor the instructor represents you and they are not giving legal advice. The information conveyed through this course is akin to a college or law school course; it is not intended to give legal advice, but instead to communicate information to help viewers understand the basics of the topic presented. The views (and legal interpretations) presented in this course do not necessarily represent the views of LinkedIn or Lynda.com.
- Why bother with a contract?
- Understanding terms, options, royalties, and deductions
- Making provisions for marketing
- Including warranties and indemnity clauses
- Hiring a manager
- Understanding performance contracts
- Getting permission to use samples
- Creating a band partnership
- Record keeping
- Going through mediation or arbitration