You & your two close friends start a musical group. The future is looking bright. You’ve been making dope music together and you’ve found some commercial success. But then money gets in the way.

One of the biggest squabbles that splits up bands and musical groups is the sharing out of royalties. Music group contracts can resolve those issues (and more) before they even becomes one, but bands and musical groups often don’t discuss contracts if they don’t have to. Of all the contracts they avoid thinking about, artist contract agreements are at the top of that list.

Music group contracts resolve issues about money and roles before they become issues.

Of course, it is pretty uncomfortable talking about musical group contracts or artist contracts. Discussing artist contracts may or may not feel like you’re actively expressing a level of distrust in the group. If you’re like the vast majority of musical groups and bands, your fellow group members are also your close friends or even your family. This means that you’d like to think that your relationship with each other means that no one in the band would take advantage of anyone else.

What is a Musical Group Contract?

Put simply, an artist contract or a music group contract agreement sets the terms that you all operate by and who gets what royalties for doing what they do.

Should the lead singer really get paid the most in a band? Is one member of your musical group doing most of the producing while the other two members are only composing?

What’s important with a musical group contract agreement is to weigh up is doing what is for the group. If one group member is spending more hours on your music together than the other two members, should they get a bigger share of royalties?

The goal of a musical group contract is to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the share of royalties. Royalty shares are a constant area of dispute within successful bands and musical groups.

Here is an example of a detailed music group contract. A music group contract lists actions each band member should take to protect their own interests, who shall get paid for what role, and more.
Here is an example of a detailed music group contract. A music group contract lists actions each band member should take to protect their own interests, who shall get paid for what role, and more, Source: Music Law Contracts

Reasons for a Music Group Contract

  • Every band or musical group that we’ve seen go as quickly as they came has crashed over money issue or songwriting credits. These bands and music groups, like all others, said early in their career together that money an song writing credits didn’t matter to them. But when your musical group does earn money, every group member will always want their fair share. If your group hasn’t made it clear what that fair share is, the internal disputing beginds.
  • A musical group contract agreement will always help you keep your friendships within the musical group together. By declaring everything in black and white together, there is no room for fighting in the future about what you agree on here and now. Arguments about who gets what or who does what will have been nipped in the bud! It’s vital that everything is set out, so take some time to think about what every member wants in there.
  • If only one or maybe two group members are paying out most of what the group is costing (studio hire, travelling, etc.) because, just maybe, those one or two members are better off financially, then then your contract should cover how this person will get their money back when your making money together.
  • What happens to joint owned equipment – and jointly owned debt – if the bank should break-up or if one person wants to leave?

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