Securing your music agreements in writing is vital to achieving success in the music industry. The top music contracts every Music Producer and Recording Artist should use to ensure business security and success are agreements where the purpose of the project is well outlined, the terms of compensation are easy to understand, and royalty/copyright provisions are clearly itemized between both parties. If you’re a musician using fill-in-the-blank style forms, make sure those documents have been professionally drafted and authenticated by a registered entertainment law firm. Some good examples of agreements that cover the most important terms between producers and artists are listed below:
Contract Example 1) Producer / Artist Production Agreement (No Royalty-No Copyright) Official Industry Production Agreement and Duty Assignment between Music Producers and Recording Artists. Covers and outlines all aspects of the production contract, as well as, providing provisions for a “No Royalty Due” and “No Copyright Retained” by the Producer for all music production services rendered to the Artist.
Contract Example 2) Producer / Artist Production Contract (No Royalty-Retain Copyright) Agreement and Duty Assignment between Music Producers and Recording Artists outlining all aspects of the production contract, including provisions for a “No Royalty Due” yet “Retain Copyright” arrangement representing the Producer’s interest for all music production services rendered to the Recording Artist.
Contract Example 3) Producer / Artist Production Form (Royalty-Retain Copyright) Music Production Contract between Producers and Recording Artists itemizing and covering common aspects of the production agreement including a “Royalty Due” and “Retain Copyright” arrangement representing the Producer’s interest for all music production services rendered by the Producer to the Artist.
Contract Example 4) Producer / Artist Production Agreement (Royalty-No Copyright)Music Production Agreement between Producers and Recording Artists covering common aspects of the production agreement including royalties and copyright stipulations. For all music production services rendered by the Producer to the Artist, provisions provide for a “Royalty Due” yet “No Copyright” arrangement representing the Producer’s interest.
Ron Murphy writes articles on building careers for today’s music industry that help readers understand the importance of using music contracts and music producer contracts in order to succeed in today’s music business.
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Question by Magic 1: A Producer Breached Our Contract And I Want My Money Back?
The producer agreed to produce 2 songs for me and send me written proof of the sample clearances in those songs for what I paid him. He agreed to the contract and signed it. Now, I have the songs ready to be released, but I never got proof of the clearances from him. He has since stopped responding to my emails and instant messages. According to our contract, if he fails to clear the samples, he is supposed to refund my money or make 2 new songs. Since he has stopped answering my attempts to contact him, I would like to take him to small claims court, but we live in separate states (I’m in Illinois, he’s in Pennsylvania). So how am I supposed to go about getting our contract enforced and getting my money back? Any suggestions?
SMBR, I would like to get clarifications on a few things. Would you be so kind as to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? Thanks.
Answer by SMBR
I believe you file in Illinois – your local court. Unless the contract was signed elsewhere, or specifies a jurisdiction for purposes of legal adjudication.
Before you go to court, is there an industry group this guy belongs to? There is the Better Business Bureau as an umbrella but there may be a professional organization also. They may provide some mediation to your dispute.
Of course the first thing you need to do is send him — via CERTIFIED and RETURN RECIEPT mail (post office – not e-mail!) a letter stating clearly that you find him to be in breach of contract and that the fees paid are forfit, with instructions for how you want the cash returne.
You should also state in the letter any potential damages you face because of his failure to fulfill the terms of the contract (ie: lost revenue from the song sales; interest on the sunk costs you have already invested in this deal; damage to your professional reputation since without the clearances YOUR product delivery will be delayed, etc..).
Put a date (reasonable time is usually at least 2 work weeks after reciept of the letter) when you expect the payment or a formal response (not a phone call / IM / e-mail) from him and that you will seek resolution in court after that date.
What do you think? Answer below!
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A few producer contract products I can recommend:
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