Recording Industry Contract
Understanding the specialized needs of the entertainment industry - including copyright law, music publishing, record labels, media and general business matters - is no easy task, and that's why it should always be left to a professional with years of experience. With a recording industry contract law firm on your side, you can rest assured knowing the representation of record labels, recording artists, songwriters, producers, artist managers, music publishers, concert promoters, music industry entrepreneurs and businesses involved with the creation, use and distribution of copyrighted properties is all in a day's work.
Our lawyers negotiate a variety of entertainment industry contacts, from those for recording artists to licensing and distribution deals…and beyond. Additionally, our legal specialists serve the needs of entrepreneurs as they navigate the sometimes formidable waters of the professional recording industry and grow their business. Our knowledge of intellectual property law and business aids us in serving the needs of entrepreneurs in the ever-evolving entertainment industry.
What You Need to Know About Copyrights, Payment, and Royalties
Traditionally, record labels own the copyright of/in the records their artists make, in addition to the master copies - sometimes called "master tapes" in enthusiast/audiophile circles - of those records. An exception is sometimes made when a label strikes a distribution deal with an artist, in which case the artist, their manager or another entity may own the copyright (and masters) while the record gets exclusively licensed to the label for a certain period of time.
Indeed, promotion is the key when it comes to the success of a record, and this responsibility falls largely on the label, along with proper distribution of records…something of a blurred line at times in today's download-obsessed world. While initial recording deals usually yield a smaller percentage of royalties to the artists, subsequent - or renegotiated - deals can result in much greater profit or potential for profit. Further, recording contracts may encompass opt-out clauses for the label in the event an act's popularity drops or the act/artist releases albums that didn't produce popular hits under the deal. A good example of this is when Mariah Carey was dropped from Virgin Records, and her $80 million recording deal was canceled after her first album released by the label sold poorly.
What's important to keep in mind is that record companies cough up huge revenues to produce, release and promote an album, and this can include recording time, manufacturing, packaging, photography shoots, distribution, marketing and music videos. While the label usually absorbs these expenses, some of this money may end up due back to the label unless otherwise worded in a contract. This is where hiring an experienced recording industry contract lawyer is of great benefit.
When You Should Rely on a Recording Industry Contract Law Firm
If you are an entertainment professional and have been presented a contract, it is a good idea to always have a lawyer review it prior to signing. There are just too many variables to take in, and even the most well-intentioned of agreements can have long-lasting consequences. From the very beginning, you will want to work with a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property - i.e. copyrights/trademarks - and contract law, with a focus on the recording industry…just like our attorneys do.
Remember: Just because an individual claims to be an "attorney at law" doesn't necessarily mean he or she boasts any experience in this highly specialized field…and trust us when we tell you that you don't want to become a real estate lawyer's "music business guinea pig."
Our attorneys have worked for firms specializing in this field, possessing reputations and experience in representing artists, labels, and other entertainment entities. In other words: You can rely on us to be your trusted recording industry contract law firm.
Because his or her range of responsibilities varies, a recording industry contract lawyer tends to work a great deal on contracts, negotiating and preparing contracts or reviewing those contracts that others have written. This can all encompass reviewing a management contract for a new artist or negotiating new management contracts for established recording artists - attorneys also sometimes prepare contracts for individuals who are looking to form a group, detailing how monies are divided, the consequences involved should a member decide to leave the group and more.
The music industry has a language all its own and it's quite complicated, so the recording industry contract attorney is responsible for explaining all points in a contract to his or her client while reviewing the contents of each contract, whether they have actually written it or not. In addition to preparing and writing contracts for a label's recording artists, attorneys may also be involved with contracts for a label's music producers and perhaps even label executives.
Don't underestimate the importance of record contract drafting and negotiation; with the right recording industry attorney in your corner, the unfortunate pitfalls surrounding this arena can be avoided.
Please contact us, and for a consultation with Francelina Perdomo, our Managing Partner, regarding your music law contract needs and recording industry contracts in NYC.