Signing a contract is always an important moment in your career. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or you’ve already lost count because each and every one of them is relevant. They are symbols of new stages, challenges, paths and possibilities, which is why they are so exciting. However, we cannot get caught up in the excitement of the moment and forget that they can be double-edged weapons. A contract can give you the career you’ve always dreamed of, but it can also imprison you creatively for years. That’s why it is absolutely essential that you pay the utmost attention to everything, absolutely everything, that you sign. This new blog post is dedicated to precisely that, to that small print that you should not overlook when you sign a contract.
1. Split Sheets:
When signing a songwriting split sheet you should pay particular attention to the sections referring to mechanical royalties. In the music industry and in these types of contracts it is quite common for you to be assigned ownership of the performance royalties only. This means that you will have no rights to the mechanical royalties. In fact, in most cases these end up being 100% assigned to the publisher.
When you are entitled to a percentage of a master’s degree, you must bear in mind that you have full ownership and not just ownership of its distribution. Again, it is quite common that in this type of contract you are assigned a percentage of distribution while the ownership itself is in the hands of another person or company. In this case, that person/company is the only one with the right to distribute and synchronise the property, leaving you out and without decision-making capacity.
One of the most important aspects to take into account in a publishing contract is the duration of the work under the publisher. It is essential that the end date of the contract is established and clearly stated, as well as the territories affected and the percentage of each composition royalty (execution, mechanics, synchronisation, lyrics and cover song).
4. Music distribution:
One of the most common mistakes made when signing this type of contract is to give away an entire YouTube channel. This platform does not only host music content. Therefore, music distribution agreements should only concern the music and not the rest of the content. Furthermore, it is important that the YouTube channel is left out of the contract because it can then be operated by companies such as Republic Network.
One of the most important things to bear in mind when you sign a booking contract is to have those clauses that deal with cancellations by the promoter tied up, and tied up tight. This is the only way to ensure that you don’t lose your entire investment if the event, for whatever reason, is cancelled shortly before it is due to take place.
These are just a few examples of the small print you should pay attention to, but there are many more. So don’t hesitate to seek professional legal advice if you feel it is necessary. And read and re-read each and every contract as often as possible. Don’t forget that what is at stake is your music.