Friday, February 4, 2011

Music Business Contracts Needed

A personal account of why music business contracts are needed.

Sometime ago I was invited to speak at a music conference. The conference was away from my home market and required that I either fly or drive. It was not terribly far, but far enough to warrant securing a hotel room, so I decided to drive.

In any event I discussed my request with the music conference organizer and they agreed to what I'd requested. Unfortunately, there were other provisions that hadn't been discussed verbally, but were said to have been emailed to me -I'm still checking :-). Honestly, I don't recall getting the correspondence concerning the other provisions as they may have deterred me from attending the event. There was never a written document (music business contract) clearly outlining the expectations of both parties.

After hearing what considerations/accommodations had been provided to other speakers I felt slighted. I contacted the music conference organizer and let them know how I felt in addition to giving constructive criticism about the conference. Feeling slighted was totally my fought as I should have requested more. Let me explain how this works contractually and why having music business contracts are needed. Additionally, I will explain what I consider to be as my mother has taught me "THE PROPER THANG TO DO!"

  1. Music Conference organizer contacts JAWAR about speaking
  2. Conference organizer and I verbally or over email discuss expectations from both parties
  3. We conclude on the expectations, considerations and accommodations
  4. My company would email/fax contract to conference organizer
  5. The contract would have all of the provisions discussed and a clause that states equal and/or better accommodations shouldxyz were to change
  6. The conference organizer would email/fax back the contract with any changes
  7. My company would contact organizer about any changes and send the contract back
  8. The conference organizer would resubmit the contract signed
  9. My company would sign the contract
  10. Both entities would receive a copy of the contract
In this scenario we went through the process from conception to completion. Without question both parties then are protected and receive what is considered fair and equitable treatment contractually. Because of this experience my company has upgraded its' policy on having me speak at any event. It has been said over and over again that in business "you get what you negotiate not what you deserve."

Although I hadn't requested certain provisions "THE PROPER THANG TO DO" from the conference organizer's standpoint was to give equal accommodations to all of the speakers, especially the one's who had already demonstrated the value they brought to the conference. The value I'd shown prior to the event was by actively promoting the music conference online.

My goal was to provide you with first hand experience on how miscommunication and not having a music business contract in place may lead to misunderstandings. You'll want to have a competent entertainment attorney to review and draft contracts on your behalf. You may find a list of entertainment lawyers in both the Los Angeles and Atlanta Music Industry Connection Books.

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