360 Deal

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360 Recording Agreement Basics and Services

A 360 recording contract is known simply as a “360 deal” and is now standard in the music industry for almost all record deals for developing artists. So what is a 360 record deal? In short, a 360 contract is an agreement between an artist and a record label that covers not only the traditional rights involved with sound recordings, but also includes publishing, merchandise, touring, and other ancillary income an artist earns in the entertainment industry. The term "360" is used to describe a record label's contractual relationship with an artist as all encompassing. A record label will offer a 360 agreement to an artist because revenues from record sales and licensing are no longer sufficient to offset the costs involved in breaking the artist. Thus, to justify the substantial investment of money and resources labels spend on an artist, labels demand that they participate in all of an artist's revenue streams.

Even though a 360 deal contract is the norm, there are several ways of structuring a 360 agreement depending on the circumstances of the parties. Specifically, a label's interest in an artist's publishing and merch can be passive or active. A label's interest in records is always active and is usually passive for touring and ancillary income. With an active interest, a label controls the activity and receives income which the label then pays a share to the artist as set forth in their 360 music contract. In contrast, with a passive interest, the artist controls the activity, collects the associated income, and then pays the label a share. It is essential for an artist and label to be represented by a music lawyer to help craft their 360 agreement.

Morris Music Law works with 360 deals on a regular basis by either negotiating for an artist or drafting and negotiating for indie labels. Whether representing an artist or label, our Los Angeles music lawyers zealously work with our clients to ensure that their 360 contract is fair and reasonable for both sides. If you are offered a recording agreement or would like to start a label and offer a 360 agreement to an artist, we will first review the main deal terms, discuss any questions, and then work through negotiation strategy. During the negotiation, we work closely with our clients to answer all of their questions and communicate their needs effectively to the other side. Finally, after the contract is signed, we advise clients on their ongoing rights and help re-negotiate as circumstances change. Several negotiations have been so successful that the other side ends up hiring Morris Music Law after the contract is signed.

In conjunction with California Lawyers for the Arts, Jesse E. Morris, Esq., from Morris Music Law has presented in Los Angeles about 360 recording agreements, including a mock-negotiation. During such presentations, we hope to educate the public about recording agreement basics as well as discuss the pros and cons of signing with a label. As a recording agreement is at the foundation of the music industry, our music lawyers pride themselves on keeping up to date with current trends so that our contracts can best reflect the ever-changing landscape of the music industry. We strive to constantly think outside the box to create and negotiate agreements that will not be obsolete upon signing and instead anticipate the likely future.

In addition to drafting and negotiating recording agreements, sometimes our artist clients decide to start their own label to be in control of their own destiny. Morris Music Law helps such artists form their own label, own their own masters, and assist with all legal matters that arise during the course of a record label’s business.