There are numerous clauses and nuances to any contract in the music business but there are six specific things that should be included in every band agreement contract.
A band is usually a group of friends who share a common musical interest. As friends, they want to remain friends. With that in mind, musicians should not fret about coming up with an agreement amongst themselves.
With a win-win attitude, each member of the band will understand what is expected from them as well as what they should expect from their collaborators. A band member agreement provides clarity of responsibility as well as the possibility for members to remain friends, if and when, they move on with their own musical projects.
The entertainment business is fraught with stories of contracts gone bad. Obviously, this means that there was no win/win attitude going into the negotiation, or the person signing the agreement did not understand what they were signing. With any agreement, communication is a key to success. Discuss these issues with fellow band members before any problems arise.
- Who is in the band? The contract should identify the parties who are agreeing to the contract. If there is a leader of the band, this would be a good place to identify the leader’s name. If there is a tie in any decisions, decide ahead of time how to resolve a tie-breaker.
- What is the term of the agreement? How long is this agreement to last? If there is no presumed end-date, there should be a section describing how the agreement might end. Sometimes, it is better to think backward when deciding the agreement. Start at the presumed end and determine the outcome before deciding how to start.
- What is the responsibility of each party to the agreement? This might include a clause about individual musicianship or the care of their instruments. If you want each member of the band to deliver their best performance, you might want to include a clause about onstage behavior such as drinking, smoking or swearing. Remember, a band member’s public behavior is a reflection of you. In addition, this section of responsibility might include language about drug use.
- When is each party responsible for doing their job? This clause might include information about performances, rehearsals, or promotional appearances. This would be a good opportunity to address tardiness and preparedness. Perhaps bands members should be expected to practice their parts while at home and then be fully prepared when coming to rehearsal. This makes the time spent together more productive. It also sets an agenda for rehearsal as band members know in advance what is expected of them.
- How much compensation (if any) is going to be paid to each member of the band. This section should include information about live performances as well as any ancillary income such as merchandise being sold. If the band is planning on collaborating with outside companies such as a record label, publicist or booking agent, a separate agreement will be necessary.
- Lastly, where are the individuals of the band agreeing to be for rehearsals, performances and band meetings. Many times one member of the band may live many miles from the rehearsal space, while other members live nearby. Should the distant member be reimbursed for their travel and fuel?
So, when constructing a band agreement contract, go over these important areas and then consult with a good entertainment attorney to assist with the final draft of your agreement. Just remember, win/win, and remain friends.