Forming or joining a band can be a really exciting and positive time, especially if you and your band write original songs and/or record your music. The purpose of this blog is to briefly discuss some of the business aspects of joining a band and the need to discuss the business before things get going, Even during all of the excitement, take a moment and discuss ownership of the music and the recordings. Getting it clear from the outset will protect you and your band members from turmoil at a later date because there was no agreement in place.
Essentially, you and the band are a partnership and need to create a partnership agreement. Creating a partnership agreement definitely isn’t the most glamorous part of the venture, but it will allow your band to make copyright and financial decisions now to prevent a later fight or even worse, a lawsuit. Most importantly, these decisions will now be in writing.
When writing and recording with other songwriters or band members, copyright ownership can get tricky. Remember, a copyright comes into existence as soon as the song is fixed in a tangible medium of expression i.e. - once it is recorded or committed to paper. With multiple musicians involved, you can imagine how there could be disagreement over who wrote what. The way to avoid disagreement is to write it down, create an agreement regarding the joint ownership of the songs and the recordings. This will allow everyone involved to have a say in the ownership of the songs and recording and allow royalties to be split accordingly. The only downside, to having an agreement, is not having an agreement. It will much harder to come to an agreement later if you and your band members have a falling out.
Have the talk
Hopefully, no disagreements happen and your band is perfectly happy forever, but just in case, it is important to sit down as a group and make some decisions.
All of these are important questions to talk about and come to a consensus, as a band. Of course, if you should have any questions about the process or creation of an agreement, do not hesitate to call or email me at (512) 327-3399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Owen Summer has been practicing law in Austin and surrounding areas for over 15 years. Stephen took an nontraditional route to becoming a lawyer, first carving out a career as a highly regarded jazz musician before returning to school. This unique and diverse background allows Stephen to approach law with a creative and fresh perspective.
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