-Hiya! Hope everyone is having a great 2010 so far! This is a continuation of last months article on starting a band that writes/performs their own material. While the following can also apply to cover bands to a degree, it’s more important with original bands. Cover bands, in this aspect, have things a little easier cause they’re mainly covering other peoples songs-hence being a “cover band.” Things become more complicated when in a band doing your own stuff.
-This subject always makes people feel uneasy. Think about it. If a friend of yours presented you w/ a band contract to sign, for most people, their 1st reaction is “What-you don’t trust me?” It can potentially cause some bruised feelings. However, in this aspect, you have to look at it as a business. And it’s always best to have people agree & sign stuff when things are going good. If things are going bad & you try to do this-you might as well forget it so it’s always good to get this out of the way 1st. If things go bad or worse, get ugly, you’ll be glad you did.
-A band contract can be simple-or very complex. You can hire an entertainment lawyer (no-not Bob the real estate lawyer) to make one up for you or get an up to date book that has forms in it. You can even get copies on the web. I’ve seen band contracts as short as 1 page and as long as 12+. The ones I have w/ my band are only 1-2 pages long.
-One of the 1st things in it should be who owns the name &/or logo and it’s usage. This ex. has happened to 2 bands that I know of in the Syracuse area. A band is formed with one guy doing a good chunk of the work (which-BTW-is common). He comes up w/ the name & logo and works his butt off to make things happen for the band. Time goes on & people get replaced. Eventually he’s the only original member. Then he gets kicked out of the band he formed & they carry on-with the same name & logos. Or how about having a former member of the band form another band & use the same name. How would you feel if all this happened to you?
-Another thing you can use band contracts for is to determine what happens to any money the band makes and, if equipment was bought w/ that money-what happens with that. You put a ton of work into a band that makes a lot of money & buys a full lights/PA system. Then you leave for whatever reason yet the band is still going on. Or worse, same scenario but you’re kicked out & things are getting ugly-all that money down the drain?
-Another use-rights to use songs. Song writing will be on other articles, but basically, if you co-wrote a song, you don’t have to worry too much about this. However, what if your most popular song (s) was/were written by the guy who’s getting kicked out of the band because he had an affair w/ your girlfriend (or one of many other reasons)?
-It’s really no different that a prenup. No one wants things to go bad & everyone is on great terms in the beginning. But fame, money, ego, sex, new relationships-all these & more can change people and their thinking over time.I have people who I’ve known for over 15+ years sign contracts.Most pro bands do this-why not you?