More people than not love and listen to music regularly. And if you’re the type who loves music, there’s a good chance you are also interested or have already committed to creating your own. It can be an incredibly positive pastime for anyone at any age or at any time in life.
But if you plan to produce your music for real income, the fantasy of making music can quickly become mixed up with traps and commercial triumphs. We introduce the producer agreement. In short, this agreement defines the parameters of rights and money between the music producer, the musician and any other party involved. To understand this crucial document, it is best to first have a basic understanding of how music production works.
Obviously, a producer is involved in the production. The same concept applies here. The music or record producer is a kind of “project manager” for the creation of the music itself. This can apply to the creative input on songs, fund management and communications, mixing and mastering, etc. You can have a producer who is very involved or you can have one who only gets involved when a particular situation calls for it. These parameters can fluctuate widely and would all be spelled out in the very important grower agreement.
Having a good grower suited to what you are trying to accomplish is paramount. Maybe you need someone who will give you all the creative aspects. Or maybe your ideal producer will provide professional input on all things. If you don’t have the right producer for you, you can almost forget about a successful result. This is why musicians often “buy” producers.
But now let’s say you’ve found the perfect producer and want to commit to a contract. You need to make sure that the contract spells out all the issues in a way that is clear and beneficial to you. This is where the infamous stories come from – the musician gets a deal, is very successful, but under the terms of the contract he sees very little benefit. It can be a very sad situation, especially for those who have accomplished so much. Take the example of some of these unknown artists:
Buddy Holly reportedly had big problems with his label releasing his music due to particular contract interpretations.
The Beatles ended up with pennies on the dollar for much of their work due to an incredibly unfavorable contract signed by them.
Rapper, “Clipse” suffered from a delay of several years for the release of records, then punitive album sales due to a contractual clause that made it his problem when his record company merged with another and subsequently had an effect on contracts stated as his.
Legendary musician James Taylor has had a long and drawn out battle over decades of financial traps linked to contracts.
If we care, we could go on with countless examples like these. The industry is full of winners and losers. And by making sure that your contractual agreement isn’t a shrewd invitation to a scam, your success will be that much sweeter in the end.
If you’re an aspiring musician who plans to go professional, don’t just walk into a producer’s office and sign up. An entertainment lawyer is what you need in such a situation. With strong representation of the client’s interests, the right entertainment lawyer can oversee these transactions, making sure they work in the client’s best interests.
It is perhaps also important to clarify that we do not have a negative overall view of the production industry. There are a lot of amazing professionals who are dedicated to their musicians. However, you have to remember that they are also there for a profit. They have lawyers and know-how to back it up and you should too.
In conclusion, we have to repeat it again: Producer agreements are extremely important. Having someone who represents you and who knows the game is just a good idea. Don’t go any further in the process.