The role of the producer has evolved over the years. Producers, both independent and signed, have become more prominent. And while this is undoubtedly a good thing, this also means that producers need to know how to better protect themselves so that they can be on a solid legal footing when operating in the music industry.
Now, we understand how difficult this can be as producers don’t normally have a background in the legal aspect of the music industry. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a brief breakdown of this subject. If this is something that you’re interested in, read on as we discuss everything you need to know about contracts for producers!
Types of Contracts
Contracts are vital to protecting producers. It’s the only thing that ensures that producers will be paid for the work that they do. There are two types of contracts that you have to know about as a producer: producer agreements and production agreements. While they may sound similar, they are actually vastly different from each other.
Producer agreements are entered into by the producer and the record label for the work that the producer will do on an artist’s album or project. The label will shoulder the costs that are attached to recording and producing the album. For the most part, the extent of this agreement will be limited to this project and this project alone.
On the flip side, a production agreement is an agreement between the producer and the production company wherein the producer agrees to make an album for them. Once the album is complete, it will be sold or licensed to a third-party label for release. In a way, this is comparable to a recording contract.
Payment is an important thing to consider when talking about contracts. Payment varies depending on the type of contract that the producer is signed to.
Producers signed to a producer agreement will be paid a combination of fees. This includes, but is not limited to, advances, royalties, and the rate per master recording. These fees vary wildly depending on the producer and the record label they are dealing with.
Producers signed to a production agreement are subjected to similar conditions when it comes to payments. However, one key difference is that these producers stand to receive significantly more in royalties. This is because of the level of involvement that producers have in these types of projects. The exact amount isn’t set in stone but they normally receive more than the industry standard of 3-4% royalties.
We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you gain a better understanding of contracts for producers. While we understand that music is your top priority as a producer, it would also be in your best interest to be better informed about the legal side of the music industry. This will spare you from a lot of unwanted trouble, as you’ll understand what it means to best protect yourself and your music from potentially exploitative terms and conditions.
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