Music Business and Management
Course 14: Agreements

While contracts ensure that artists and labels have in writing what is expected of one another, agreements are documents that stipulate how money is dispersed between songwriters, artists, and producers that work on a song. In this course, you’ll learn about several different kinds of agreements and how they cover specific work.

For example, work for hire is defined by Section 101 of the U.S. Copyright Act as work created by an employee under the responsibilities of their employment. A work for hire can also be classified as work commissioned under a written agreement with intended use for collective works, supplementary work, compilations, and even translations. A side agreement allows other artists to appear on a record with explicit consent from their label (even if they work for the same label).

You’ll also learn about agreements that producers enter into, with both artists and labels alike. There are certain administrative duties (creating work-for-hire agreements, hiring backup singers or instruments, scheduling studio time, etc.) as well as creative duties they will get paid for (producing, editing, and even playing on a sing. Fees and/or advances will be settled before work begins.

The course 14 assignment will have you look at a side artist agreement reviewed during the course and create a bulleted list of main points for what an agreement for an artist appearing as a featured artist entails. There is also a weekly blog post, required reading, quiz, and course review.