Band Contracts

by Jesse Austin, with thanks to Tearaway.

Like a family, a band is bound to have issues. The difficult thing is that a band doesn’t have parents to attempt to resolve those problems. This is where band contracts/agreements can be play a huge part, and also settle many disputes.

Whether the contract is written and signed by all members, or it is an open discussion, there are some key things that you need to talk about as bandmates to solve any future issues that may arise. Here are a few things that are important to not let go unmentioned.

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Making decisions

How do you make major decisions in the band, such as what to do with gig money? Or when to release your single? It     is important to discuss this and have a method so decisions can be sorted quickly. Unresolved questions can sometimes lead to bitter feelings, and nothing backtracks a band more than bad vibes.

Royalties

When it comes to registering your songs with APRA, who has written the songs? You might read this thinking there is an obvious answer, however another band member may feel they contributed a lot more than you do. It’s important to talk about these things openly so that no awkward conversations are had.

Money

If you stay together for a while, you will most likely see some money come in, in some shape or form. What to do with this money is the question. Do you split it evenly and take it home? Do you reinvest it back into the band? Know what you are going to do in these situations, before they become problems.

Post-band issues

What happens when the band is all over? Or what happens when one member leaves? Can the remaining members carry on with the same band name and songs? Again, knowing how to deal with this situation before it happens can solve a lot of problems and awkward conversations.

If you are in a band and you haven’t discussed these things with each other, look at it as a priority. While none of these things may affect you straight away, they are bound to be involved in your future. Matt Warman from Midnight Youth says:

“It is absolutely paramount to write up a band agreement as early in your career as possible! It is vital for every member to be open and transparent with each other before life as a musician takes complicated twists and turns. You have entered into a marriage with three or four other people. It’s best to understand where you all stand.”

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