It was a hectic weekend, band members getting caught up at work, showing up late, angry venue owners, and hella stressful. Literally 30 seconds before we were supposed to start the show, the final band member showed up. We played the show and thought the night went quite well considering how it started – but we ended up having a falling out with a band member that night. It was rough, and not something I’d like to relive. But there was one thing that made the situation a lot easier to deal with..
One of the first things we did when we started the group was get a lawyer to draft us up a band partnership agreement. The partnership agreement came in handy. Right before we started to pursue music on a commercial level there was a falling out with two of the members on two separate occasions. Although they were emotionally intense and difficult situations – the actual logistics were seamless because we had all signed a legal document outlining what was to happen if this situation arose.
Setting up a band partnership agreement can be one of the first steps to running your band as a business. You don’t need to go and get a business name registered right off the start, but having the agreement in place between the members will take care of pretty much everything that can come up during your time as a group. This is also the first step in getting yourself set up as a legal entity. I realize that some of you might not have access to an entertainment lawyer, or the budget for it – so at the bottom of this blog is the framework of a partnership agreement that you can take and just fill in the blanks!
So why do you need a band partnership agreement? There are many reasons why you might want or need to have one set up. Lets go over some of the main ones!
- Getting Set Up as a Legal Business
If you’re planning on registering your band name as a Legal entity and setting up a partnership, you should have a partnership agreement in place beforehand. This will make getting everything set up easier for you.
- Financial Distribution
This might be one of the most important parts to your band partnership – especially if there is a substantial amount of cash flow going through the band. The partnership will outline how much everyone gets paid, where the leftover money goes (you should probably have a band bank account), what happens if a member quits (or gets fired), and basically anything else you want to include!
- Asset Distribution
We are talking about physical assets here. Do you own a sound system? Light rig? Do you want to invest in a home studio setup? What about that tour bus you want to buy? Outlining who owns what portion, or what is to happen with the assets in case the band breaks up can save a TON of headache down the road!
- Master/Record Owning
In today’s day and age master splits can be all over the place. Did one member write the music and want a bigger cut? Or did you record the song at another member’s home studio and they want a bigger piece of the pie? Or does the band own everything and it’s split evenly? Once again – in the case of a breakup who owns the masters? Make sure you have this figured out BEFORE you make it big to avoid some heated conversations!
- You are More Attractive to Labels
Okay, so you don’t NEED a record deal to have a successful music career anymore. But the right deal can be an amazing thing! With the modern music industry, record labels want to spend as little time and money on you as possible and still churn out a great product and make some money. If you have your shit together, it will make your labels life a lot easier to get you off the ground! It also shows professionalism and that you have a business oriented mindset around your band and music – which will always give you a leg up in the long run!
- Settling arguments and discrepancies
Okay so I sort of mentioned this a few times. But having an agreement in place that outlines all aspects of the business can aid with settling arguments down the road. For example; If a song blows up that was written by one member and all of a sudden they want all of the money made from it – All you have to do is open the agreement and show them the document they signed outlining an equal split of royalty payments. Argument over!
SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE
So there you have it! If you are in a group that is serious about pursuing a career in music, I highly recommend you look into getting some sort of agreement in place. Make sure everyone is involved in creating it, and don’t sign anything that you don’t agree with!!
ONE FINAL – AWESOME – TIDBIT
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading!! You clearly have the drive to do what it takes to become a successful artist. So to reward you, I’m giving away a totally free band partnership agreement. This is a fill in the blanks type document and will be enough to get you started on your path towards running your career as a business! This was drafted by an entertainment lawyer and is 100% legit. Simply fill out the form and I’ll send you a copy to use as your own!