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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by nicoli, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. So I've done a search and read countless threads about the value of having a contract... but what I need to know now is how to draw one up. Can anybody give me an example of what should be in the contract, or direct me to an online resource?

    I'm looking mainly for a contract between the bar/venue and the band, but I'd also like to hear from the guys who work as a sideman and have an agreement between themselves and the band leader.

    Lets just say I could've used one of each type in the last week. :spit:
  2. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for your question, but my curiosity has been "aroused" by your implied dilemma. I've never played a venue so formal as to require a contract (to be honest, I've never thought about it) and though I've played plenty of bars/clubs, I've always been paid by my band leader without issue.

    If you don't mind my asking, what happened?
  3. Up to this point I'd thought about having a contract, but have been lucky enough not to be left wanting one too often.

    Re the band/bar agreement, the bar cancelled us without giving us notice. This lead to a loss of about $2800 on our part (travel expenses incurred and money lost because we didn't get paid). It was a 5-show booking, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat night and Sat. matinee. This was a pretty big blow as half the band plays music as our main source of income.

    Re the sideman/bandleader agreement, I've lost income from this show and also one or two others where the band has been screwed by the venue. The way I see it, I'm an employee of the band leader so he should pay me regardless of what the situation between him and the venue is. Perhaps this is asking too much, but I don't think so.
  4. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    I took a look at some of the live performance agreements I have on my home computer and, unfortunately, I think they are far too complex to be useful. Merchandising issues, billing issues, inclement weather issues, per diems, rehearsals, taping of live shows for video/record releases, controlling law issues (e.g., CA vs NY vs foreign country, etc.), and on and on and on. If I get time, I will take a look at some stuff this week at the office and see if I can’t find something. However, as you probably realize, there are many considerations that go in to creating an agreement that covers a client’s particular needs and am, therefore, a little hesitant to suggest some type of “template” that would work for you since I don’t have much to go on. Plus, you live in Canada so the law and customs are different.

    In addition, the very story you describe is why it’s tough to give you “an example of what should be in the contract.” Your scenario is exactly how contracts get tailored and/or revised. You start with a “form” contract and then something happens so you revise your contract to cover that situation and then something else happens so you revise it to cover that situation and so on. Hopefully I’ll be able to find something useful and will post it here if I do.

  5. Hey, cool. Thanks a lot Mr. MA!
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm not a music attorney, but I have dealt with contracts. Unfortunately, I've never hit it big enough to put any riders on our contracts. :D

    The most basic things on a contract would be the following:
    - Time and date: The date of the performance, as well as the time the performance will begin and end.
    - Place: The venue you will be playing at. May seem redundant when you are workin with a club owner, but when dealing with an agency or promoter, spelling out the venue makes sense.
    -Money: Basically this is how much the band gets paid. You can also include when you are going to get paid, and what method (check, cash, etc.). It can also include where the band gets paid from (i.e. % or bar, door, set fee, etc.)

    There's a bunch of other things that can be added to contract depending on the gig. The following are things to add that are helpful for spelling things out.
    -Venue Provisions: What is the venue going to provide? This includes items such as sound/lighting system, drinks/meals for the band, guest lists, a merchandising area, dressing room, promotion, security, etc.
    -Band Provisions: What is the band going to provide? This includes stuff like PA, lights, music during band breaks, promotion, number of sets to be played, etc.
    -Contingencies: These are for the "what if" scenarios. For example, what to do if the band cancelled, the venue cancels, or acts of nature prevent the show from going on. For each continency you place on your contract, you should have a consequence. For example, if a venue cancels, the contract may require a certain number of days of advance notice and a cancellation fee.

    A contract is something that spells out what each party agress to expect from each other and is sealed with signatures. It's not always necessary, but helpful. When dealing with agents and promoters, as well as events such as weddings, a contract is helpful. My rule of thumb is, the more a gig pays, the more necessary a contract is.

    Like I said, I'm not a lawyer. So if any of the legal folks on TB want to embellish or correct me, feel free to do so. We all have stuff we could learn, especially me.
  7. Good post jive, thanks.

    Here's another question... When does the contract make it's appearance? Is it something you only bring out when you're in the process of booking the show or do you have it attached to the back end of a promo pack (I'm thinking this could be a detriment to getting gigs)?
  8. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    I haven't forgotten you. Please be patient. Thanks.

  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    My band segregates its approach depending on the venue. We do plenty of casual gigs where we don't bother with a contract. If we're only getting paid in beer and food, a contract is probably overkill. Truth be told, we haven't experienced too many problems with these types of gigs.

    For clubs that are known to be "loose" with their payments, we make them sign a contract. It's a one-pager that basically lists location, time and duration, and payment requirements. We also use this type of contract whenever we get paid with a percentage of the till. If they won't sign the contract, we won't play. Fortunately we're good enough to have choices in that regard. With clubs that have a good rep, or with which we have a history, we don't use the contract. Mainly it's just a vehicle to avoid the types of hassles nicoli's talking about.

    For "real" gigs (Vegas gigs and such), we always use a contract, and it's pretty extensive. Our agent looks at the standard contract (if there is one), and does a "diff" against ours, and if there are any significant differences, he'll request that ours be used instead of theirs. Some places agree, some don't. If they don't, we play it by ear. The funny thing is, usually the "standard contract" in places like that is a lot more extensive than ours is, so most of the time we just go with theirs. Once or twice our agent has requested that riders and amendments be attached, but it's generally pretty rare for that to have to happen.

    We've gone to court twice, with club owners who didn't want to pay. Once the club got socked with full payment plus court costs, and a strong admonishment from the judge. That club has since gone out of business. The other time was a very complicated situation, involving the contractual responsibility of the venue to provide adequate safety in conformance with the law, and we ended up settling out of court. Had it gone to court, my feeling is that the judge would have raked them over the coals, and probably shut them down.

    There was one other interesting case we got involved in. Here in California, there's a law that says you can't smoke in bars unless the owner is a "sole proprietor" and has no employees (ie an owner/operator type). They regularly send around the ABC guys to do spot checks. The owner got busted for letting people smoke in the club, and in court he claimed that people were getting smokes from the band. The judge dismissed the case on the basis of insufficient evidence, apparently the ABC guy never saw anyone actually smoking, he just saw someone dropping a cigarette into a bottle of beer.

    Regarding the contract with the bandleader, that would be a specific case of a much more general situation, which includes contracts with record and video companies and the like. Most of my experience has been with "the band as a unit", as distinct from working for the bandleader. In the latter situation, when one is just a hired hand (either contracted by a bandleader, or by the record company), one has the option of going through the union, and in that case they take care of all the legal stuff. You don't want to mess with the union in this town, they can make life awfully difficult for anyone that does.

    Based on past experience, I won't do sessions without a contract anymore. My session contract is extensive and detailed, and it spells out my rights with regard to credits and royalties and so on. The payment for the session itself is almost secondary in that context, the main thing is not to get screwed if the product goes into distribution. I use two "versions" of this contract, depending on the nature of the session. One is shorter, the other more thorough.

    Mostly my band lets our agent handle the legal stuff. There's only once I can recall where any of the band members stepped in personally to handle a legal issue. I would strongly recommend maintaining a relationship with a local music lawyer (of which there are many in this town, but perhaps not so many in other towns). Most of them will work on a piecewise or consulting basis, except if you're talking big-time business. The first step would be to have them draw you up a standard contract (ie I wouldn't necessarily trust the type of blank forms one might find out on the Internet). That's what I did, and that's also how our agent handles it. It's a bit of expense at first, but well worth it over the longer term. Plus there's a backup if it ever comes to a question of legality, and it forces the agent and the lawyer to put a little skin into the game, which tends to encourage them to do a good job. :)
  10. Thanks for the great post nonsqtr. At this point I have somewhat of a canabalized contract I've taken parts from off several websites. I'll see if the band fund is willing to pay to get a music attorney to either look at it or draw us up a new one.

    Do you attach the contract to your press kit / promo pack or is it something you only bring up when it comes time to book the show?

    Re the personal contracts, I honestly don't know a single person in these parts who is a member of the union... I'm not sure how that would work out for me. It's already hard enough finding good paying gigs around me and I'd hate for that to be the reason I'd be getting turned down for some. I'll try to do some research and look into it though.
  11. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    Again, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. For all the reasons contained in my previous post, it has been a bit of a problem finding something in my templates that would be useful to you and wouldn’t require a lot of revising by me. In the end, I really didn’t have much, so here is what I did. I found one agreement that was very artist friendly which, if you read through it, may help you think about some issues that might not have crossed your mind. Perhaps it will help you as you create your own contract. However, I’m sure there are provisions in the agreement below that are going to be objectionable to some venues/owners. Ultimately, maybe you should post your contract online so you can get feedback from me and others.

    Please be very clear this is not intended as legal advice and is merely intended as information that will help you think about some of the issues you will want to talk with a competent music attorney about when creating your contract. So with that caveat, and for what it’s worth, here you go:

    This agreement (“Agreement”) is made this _____ day of ________, 2004, between ___________ (hereinafter referred to as “Purchaser”) with its principal place of business located at __________________________________ and ____________ (“Artist’) with a principal place of business located at ____________.

    It is mutually agreed between the parties as follows:

    Purchaser engages Artist, and Artist accepts such engagement, to furnish the entertainment services of Artist for the performance hereinafter described pursuant to the terms and conditions herein set forth, including those listed on Exhibit “A” entitled “Additional Terms and Conditions,” attached hereto and by this reference incorporated herein.

    1. Artist agrees to furnish Artist’s performing services to Purchaser for ____ ( ) performance(s) of approximately ________ ( ) minutes in length for presentation thereof by Purchaser:

    (a) at ____________________, (the “Venue”) located at ______________________________________;

    (b) on the ____ day of __________, 2004;

    (c) at the following time(s):____________________

    (d) Rehearsals, if any, to be held: ________________________;

    (e) The Venue will be available for Soundcheck at ____________, but under no circumstances later than ________ minutes prior to the performance.

    (f) Artist will receive Sole top billing in form and size as determined by Artist on all forms of advertising, marketing, and promotion with respect to the performance.

    2. As consideration for Artist’s performing services hereunder, Purchaser agrees to pay Artist a guaranteed fee in the amount of ___________________ ($__________) Dollars (the “Performance Fee”) per performance, as follows:

    (a) A deposit, payable by certified check, money order, or cash, in the amount of __________________($________) Dollars, upon execution hereof. (Checks shall be made payable to _______________).

    (b) The balance of the Performance Fee shall be payable, in cash, no later than ____ ( ) hours prior to the performance.

    (c) Purchaser guarantees payment of the Performance Fee under any circumstance, condition, weather or otherwise, with the exception of cancellation due to Artist’s willful failure to perform.

    3. As further consideration for Artist furnishing Artist’s services hereunder, Purchaser, at Purchaser’s sole expense, agrees to provide Artist the following accommodations:

    (a) _____ ( ) first class hotel rooms: ___ ( ) single(s); ____;( ) double(s).

    (b) Round trip ______ transportation to and from the Venue, from ____________ on ________________, returning on ______________ (point of origin).

    (c) All local ground transportation from the airport, train station, bus depot, etc. to the hotel as necessary, and from the hotel to the Venue, as necessary for performance and rehearsal, sound check, promotions, etc.

    (d) No less than three (3) first class meals per day during Artist’s stay, or a per diem of ___________ ($________) dollars, per day, payable, in cash, upon Artist’s arrival.

    (e) Adequate security to properly and carefully protect Artist and Artist’s staff including all necessary liability insurance to properly indemnify Artist and Artist against any and all third party claims.

    Accepted and Agreed:


    By:_______________ By:_________________

    The above signatures confirm that the parties have read and approve each and all of the “Additional Terms and Conditions” set forth on Exhibit “A.”



    The parties hereto acknowledge that the following additional terms and conditions are incorporated in and made a part of the Agreement between the parties hereto:

    1. PURCHASER agrees to furnish at its own expense all that is necessary for the proper presentation of the entertainment presentation at performances, and if required by ARTIST, all rehearsals therefor, including, but not limited to, a suitable theater, hall or auditorium, well-heated, lighted, clean and in good order, stage curtains, properly tuned grand piano(s) and first class public address system in perfect working condition including microphone(s) in number and quality required by ARTIST and comfortable, lighted dressing rooms; all stagehands, stage carpenters, electricians, electrical operators and any other labor as shall be necessary and/or required by any national or local union(s) to take in, hang, work and take out the entertainment presentation (including scenery, properties and baggage); all lights, tickets, house programs, all licenses (including musical performing licenses); special police, ushers, ticket sellers for advance or single sales (wherever sales take place), ticket takers; appropriate and sufficient advertising and publicity including but not limited to bill-posting, mailing and distributing of circulars, display newspaper advertising in the principal newspapers and PURCHASER shall pay all other necessary expense in connection therewith. PURCHASER agrees to pay all amusement taxes. PURCHASER agrees to comply with all regulations and requirements of any national or local union(s) that may have jurisdiction over any of the materials, facilities, services and personnel to be furnished by PURCHASER and by ARTIST. PURCHASER agrees to furnish all necessary material and equipment and to promptly comply with ARTIST’s directions to arrange the stage decor and settings for the performances hereunder. In addition to those musicians, if any, to be furnished by either ARTIST or PURCHASER pursuant to any other provision hereof, PURCHASER agrees to furnish at its sole expense such musicians, including musical contractor, as may be required by any national or local union(s) for and connection with this engagement and rehearsals therefor; ARTIST shall have the right to name the local music contractor and to approve the choice of musicians hired locally. The following Special Props and Lighting required by ARTIST shall be furnished by PURCHASER at PURCHASER’s sole expense:

    (a) One _______ channel mixing board;
    (b) One reverb unit;
    (c) One spotlight and quality lighting system.

    2. ARTIST shall have the sole and exclusive control over the production, presentation and performance of the engagement hereunder, including but not limited to, the details, means and methods of the performances of the performing artists hereunder, and ARTIST shall have the sole right, as ARTIST may see fit, to designate and change at any time the performing personnel, with the exception of Artist. ARTIST’s obligations hereunder are subject to detention or prevention by Artist’s sickness, inability to perform, or by accident, failure of transportation, Acts of God, riots, strikes, labor difficulties, epidemics, any act or order of any public authority or any other cause, similar or dissimilar, beyond ARTIST’s control. In the event of cancellation by Artist under such circumstances, ARTIST’s sole responsibility and liability will be to refund the amount of the deposit already paid to Artist.

    3. PURCHASER shall not have the right to broadcast or televise, photograph, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the performances hereunder, or any part thereof. Notwithstanding, the foregoing, PURCHASER shall have the right to reproduce, print, publish and disseminate, in any medium, Artist’s name, approved portrait, pictures and likeness, and approved biography, as news or information, solely in conjunction with the advertising, marketing and promotion of the performance. PURCHASER agrees that no performers, other than those to be furnished by ARTIST hereunder, will appear on or in connection with the engagement hereunder. PURCHASER shall not have the right to assign this agreement, or any provision hereof. Nothing herein contained shall ever be construed as to constitute the parties hereto as a partnership, or joint venture, or that ARTIST shall liable in whole or in part for any obligation that may be incurred by PURCHASER in PURCHASER’s carrying out any of the provisions hereof, or otherwise. The person executing this agreement on PURCHASER’s behalf warrants his authority to do so, and such person hereby personally assumes liability for the payment of said price in full.

    4. PURCHASER agrees that the entertainment presentation will not be included in a subscription or other type of series without the written consent of ARTIST. Free admissions, if any, (except to local press) shall be subject to ARTIST’s prior written approval. In the event that payment to ARTIST shall be based in whole or in part on receipt of the performance(s) hereunder: (a) the scale of ticket prices must be submitted to and approved by ARTIST in writing before tickets are ordered or placed on sale; (b) PURCHASER agrees to deliver to ARTIST a certified statement of the gross receipts of each such performance within two hours following such performance; and (c) ARTIST shall have the right to have a representative present in the box office at all times and such representative shall have the right to examine and make extracts from box office records of PURCHASER relating to gross receipts of this engagement only.

    5. If before the date of any scheduled performance it is found that PURCHASER has not performed fully its obligations under any other agreement with any party for another engagement, or that the financial credit of the PURCHASER has been impaired, ARTIST may cancel this agreement. In the event that PURCHASER does not perform fully all of its obligations herein, ARTIST shall have the option to perform or refuse to perform hereunder and in either event PURCHASER shall be liable to ARTIST for damages in addition to the compensation provided herein.

    6. ARTIST shall have the sole and exclusive right, but not the obligation, to sell souvenir programs and other souvenir items including phonograph records in connection with, and at, the performance(s) hereunder and the receipts thereof shall belong exclusively to ARTIST.

    7. This Agreement constitutes the sole, complete and binding agreement between the parties hereto and may not be changed, modified or altered except by an instrument in writing signed by the parties. This Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of _______. Nothing in this Agreement shall require the commission of any act contrary to law or to any rule or regulation of any union, guild or similar body having jurisdiction over the performances hereunder or any element thereof and wherever or whenever there is any conflict between any provision of this Agreement and any such law, rule or regulation, such law, rule or regulation shall prevail and this Agreement shall be curtailed, modified or limited only to the extent necessary to eliminate such conflict.

    8. Any claim or dispute arising out of or relating to this Agreement or the breach thereof shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the rules and regulations then obtaining of the American Arbitration association governing three-member panels. The parties hereto agree to be bound by the award as such arbitration and judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrators may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
  12. Thanks for getting back to me MA and everyone else, you've been very helpful. Sorry I haven't checked back in a while, I've had quite a few pickup gigs the last week or two.

    Here's what I'm working with right now... feel free to comment on any of it, anything I should fix up or you think I should change.

    TEL: 000 0000 0000. FAX: 000 0000 0000.
    EMAIL: anyone@emailname


    An agreement made on the 'DATE HERE' between 'BOOKERS NAME HERE' (hereinafter called the Purchaser) and the 'PETE MARZEL BAND' (hereinafter called the Talent), witnesses that the purchaser hereby engages the talent and the talent accepts an engagement to perform at the following venue on the dates and at the salaries/fees stated in the schedule hereto;

    DATE(S) OF GIG(S):
    METHOD OF PAYMENT: Half the amount no less than one hour before scheduled performance, half the amount after completion of performance.

    Signed:____________Purchaser. Signed:_____________Talent.


    1. Cancellation of this Contract by Purchaser shall be as follows;
    a) More than 30 days from the performance date; No fee payable.
    b) Between 22-30 days from the performance date; 25% of the full fee.
    c) Between 15-21 days from the performance date; 50% of the full fee.
    d) Between 8-14 days from the performance date; 75% of the full fee.
    e) Between 1-7 days from the performance date; the full fee will be payable.

    The talent shall have the right to cancel the engagement without liability, by giving purchaser notice thereof at least 30 days prior to the start of the engagement.

    2. Delay in performance beyond the control of the talent due to sickness, accident, interruption, Act(s) of God, riots, labour difficulties, epidemics, earthquakes, any act or order of any public authority, and/or any other cause or event, similar or dissimilar, beyond talent’s control, does not constitute a breach. Provided talent is ready, willing and able to perform, purchaser shall remain liable to pay talent the full contract price regardless of the occurrence of any of the foregoing events.

    3. The purchaser shall be responsible for the provision of mains electricity in the performing area.

    4. The PA system will be supplied by the talent unless otherwise agreed upon, and will be suitable for venues holding up to 500 persons. The talent warrants that all equipment is in good working order and fit for its purpose.

    5. The adjustment of the volume and sound level of any equipment shall be as the purchaser reasonably requires.

    6. If venue is located more than 150km from Ottawa, the purchaser shall provide the talent with accommodations for four people. The room(s) shall have electricity and include at least four beds and a washroom.

    7. This contract reflecting the terms and conditions as agreed shall be deemed accepted only when either; a) It is signed and returned in 7 days. b) It is not exchanged within the prescribed 7 days and no written objection has been made within its period.
  13. OK... at this point I'm also assuming the best way to do business is send out the promo and all that first, then draw up the contract details when the shows are actually being booked with the venue rep - correct?

    I also looked into unions and all that based on some recommendations here, from what I've read online it would be nice for the legal protection and gear insurance, but wouldn't neccesarily help me monetarily. I sent the local office an email asking for more information, but haven't heard back from them... typical unreliable musicians running the union office too perhaps. It seems annual dues are paid from Jan 1st to Jan 1st so if I join I'll be doing it then, and will inquire in person about more information closer to the date.