Music Business and Management
Course 13: Artist Contracts

Nearly all of us have heard stories about famous artists who suffered because their deal wasn’t what they thought it was. Musicians who recorded on some of the greatest songs have been left to discover that all of their hard work was lining someone else’s pockets. It’s essential for artists to have the support they need to make informed choices that protect their interests.

In most cases, labels will work in good faith to provide equitable conditions for their artists, especially if they are established stars. With so much information available online about the contract process, they better be! But you better believe they will do everything they can to recoup all of the money they’re owed. In course 13, you’ll learn about contract structures, different kinds of contracts, and the best ways to protect your artists.

You’ll learn about advance and recording funds, what costs are recouped by the label (or financial backer), who actually owns the song and what they can make from the music (royalties), how the song can be used (one-time shot for a commercial or continued use throughout eternity), and a lot more. Understanding how much a single percentage point of sales could cost your client is invaluable.

For course 13, you’ll create a bulleted list of negotiation points for a contract. We don’t expect you to know the legal ins and outs of boilerplate legalese, but knowing what to ask for and agreeing on reasonable points is the aim. And we say reasonable because if it’s not agreeable to a label, your artist won’t get paid anyway.