Music Contracts

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Music Contracts Basics and Services

Morris Music Law is a niche law firm that specializes in all aspects of music contracts. Some examples include recording contracts such as 360 deals, publishing agreements, mechanical licenses, producer agreements, work for hire contracts, and synchronization licenses. When working with a recording contract, our Los Angeles music lawyers provide such services as explaining the meaning of the recording agreement, drafting a personalized music recording contract, and negotiating more favorable terms that are also fair and reasonable for both sides. In addition to recording agreements, we provide crucial legal services for any other music contract, whether you were offered a deal or need a contract for your project or business.

When drafting music contracts for our clients, our music attorneys can prepare template agreements or craft custom contracts. Template contracts are great when the same agreement will be used for several different parties involved in a project, such a work for hire agreement for all session musicians performing on an album. Even though template agreements provide an efficient method of using a similar contract with different parties, each deal is unique, so we work with our clients to modify their template agreement to fit any circumstance. For example, an indie label may offer the same 360 recording contract (with slightly different deal terms) to all potential artists, but each artist’s attorney will then negotiate different terms for their client. Morris Music Law helps our clients negotiate such 360 deal terms, as well as the terms in all other music contracts. A performance contract is another example of a template agreement that is often modified for each artist with a rider that includes their specific performance requirements, such as the famous rider specifying for “a bowl of M&M’s in the band’s dressing room, with all of the brown ones removed” to ensure that the venue complies with all the terms of the performance agreement.

A specific example of another music contract that we have recently worked on includes reviewing and modifying template agreements for a music library that pitches songs and recordings for placement in films, television, advertisements, or video games. Our attorneys worked closely with the music library to review their current contracts, then update them to fit the company’s business goals and address the changes in the music industry that have occurred since the agreements were last drafted. Our attorneys often are encountered with “old” contracts that need to be updated to account for such things as new revenue sources and important court decisions. The pitfalls of having an outdated agreement are numerous, including missing out on certain royalties or having clauses that are no longer applicable. When working with Morris Music Law, we will ensure that all of your contracts are up-to-date.

In addition to drafting common music contracts, we also draft custom contracts or clauses to fit the needs of our clients and shape deals that are a win-win for everyone. For example, we drafted royalty provisions in a work for hire agreement for an engineer that was hired by an artist who could not afford the engineer’s normal flat rate. We also helped craft extra incentives for indie artists to grant a production company rights to use a song in their TV show when the show did not have a huge music budget. Our attorneys love to think outside-the-box to craft contracts that not only get the deal done, but also help both sides achieve their objectives while protecting their rights.

After contracts are drafted and negotiated, Morris Music Law offers e-signing services for all clients to help facilitate getting the contract signed by all parties. Even though some parties still mail originally signed documents or scanned paperwork, when possible we utilize e-signing to save paper and get the contracts signed quicker by everyone.