Record Deals

by Jesse Austin, with thanks to Tearaway.

If you continue as a musician and grow in popularity, chances are, you will at some time sign some sort of document. These may vary from management agreements to band contracts. However, some of the more confusing agreements can be the different types of record deals. Here a few types and what they are.

DSC_8265Standard Record Deal – This used to be the standard (not so much anymore in the digital revolution) but are often used with the bigger stars. A lot of the time these agreements are based on an amount of albums being expected from the artist before the contract ends.

360 Deal – The label takes a percent of the different revenue streams (such as sales, touring, merchandise etc). This is justified by that if a label breaks an artist, then they are partly responsible for their success and deserve revenue. If you are the artist, be certain of what you are bringing to the table and see if you can use it as leverage.

Publishing Deal – A music publisher will buy part of the copyright to your music. This can range from a 90/10 split in the musicians favour to a 50/50 split. The publisher will then issue licenses and the administration of collecting royalties etc. They may also try to find sources of revenue for the artist, such as getting it placed in adverts/tv shows/movies in attempts to earn more royalties for the artist and themselves.

Development Deal – Rather than record a whole album, as with the Standard Record Deal, a deal may be made for a couple of demos or singles. This deal often only covers recording costs, but gives the label and the artist a chance to realise the musician’s full potential.

It can sometimes be confusing with all these different deals and what would benefit you the most. It is important to know what you are signing up for and be confident in what you are bringing to the table. Zac Emerson, a ast Smokefreerockquest finalist and member of L.A Women, says that “It is important if you are the artist to remember it is your car and they are only coming along for the ride, not the other way around. Always seek legal advice upon signing any deal and make sure the terms are equal for both parties.”


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