I hope this hasn’t happened to you. You were so excited about an opportunity that you didn’t read the fine print. This has happened to countless musicians, speakers, and entrepreneurs.
This has also happened to some big names in the early stages of their careers. One was Bruce Springsteen. His girlfriend tried to tell him that the contract didn’t look right and that his manager would be getting too much but he didn’t listen.
How do I know this? Because his girlfriend was my sister. And Rosalita was right (even if that isn’t her real name). It was an awful contract. A lawsuit later ensued (You can read about this and more in the biography Bruce, by Peter Ames Carlin.).
I was all of 13 when I met Bruce. Little did I know that I’d be booking and managing young talent many years later. I’ve prevented quite a few mishaps over the years. Parents and young artists were lured by what seemed like an amazing opportunity. Fortunately, they reached out right in the nick of time, preventing a very costly mistake with far-reaching implications. Like they say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
CYA: Cover Your Ass(ets):
When I first started in the music business, I learned the hard way that not everyone can be trusted. Once you get ripped off once or twice, you realize you have to be on your guard. You really have to do your homework and check into things. Not everyone is who they say they are and not every deal is a good one.
It’s a good idea to get everything in writing and do contracts – even with your band members.
Here are the top 4 issues to be aware of:
1) Copyright and trademark issues (band names, songs, photos, logos, credits for songwriting and arranging, etc.)
2) Accounting issues due to lack of tracking of business income and expenses, percentages, payouts, commissions, residuals, royalties, etc. – or setting up as the wrong type of business!
3) Liability issues (for you and your audience members. This also applies to anyone who does workshops and retreats.)
4) Contract issues (shady promoters, managers, record labels, recording studios, event organizers, etc.)
This is why it is so important to have an accountant, a manager, and a lawyer on your team, or at least a company like Legal Shield. Otherwise, you are leaving yourself wide open for disaster. If you think all this is too expensive, so is a lawsuit or lost income due to a bad deal or contract. If you don’t have enough income, they can go after your assets. No joke. However, there are ways to prevent that from happening – like connecting with these good folks:
Michelle Coard of B & P Accounting Solutions is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. You can read her guest post, Pricing for the Art of Business. Richard Bobholz of Law Plus Plus is a great entertainment lawyer and offers affordable business services as well. Sheyenne Kreamer is with Legal Shield which has some great services for individuals and small businesses, including identity theft (Tell ‘em Dori sent ya!).
Have someone knowledgeable review the offer or contract. Better safe than sorry.
Have anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment below! You can also hop over to my website and snag my FREE report: “Career Killers: 20 Mistakes Musicians Make.”
Dori Staehle, MBA lives in the Raleigh, NC area and is the Founder and CEO of Rock the Next Stage. She offers music mentoring for serious musicians to help them make an impact – and a solid income! Known as “the Ultimate Band Mom,” Dori offers business and ADHD coaching, live performance coaching, booking, management, and more. She specializes in Christian artists and young talent but she has worked with many others. She is also a percussionist, drum therapist, rockin’ speaker, and the best-selling author of Find Your Divine Rhythm: A Creative’s Success Formula.
Copyright 2016 Dori Staehle and Rock the Next Stage, Fuquay-Varina, NC, all rights reserved. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Author is not receiving any compensation from the above-mentioned professionals.