Band Partnership Agreements

Band Partnership Agreements

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If you band plans on making a profit or selling tickets, CDs, or merchandise at shows, you have to treat your band or act as a business.

If your band plans on making a profit or selling tickets, CDs, or merchandise at shows, you have to treat your band or act as a business. If you are a singer/songwriter, this topic may not apply to you. However, this can be useful even for solo artists who routinely perform or record with other artists. It is smart to discuss business and clarify responsibilities while everyone is getting along. Such agreements can help prevent conflicts or at least protect everyone involved in case a conflict is not solvable. This agreement should be in writing, which reduces the risk of a misunderstanding.

If your band or group sells tickets, your music, or merchandise, you almost certainly need a Band Partnership Agreement. Below is a list of issues these agreements typically address. (This is list is not exclusive and you should consult an attorney for the best protection.)

Money

- How will profits/debts be distributed?
- Who keeps track of the books and how?
- How are performance fees and royalties distributed?

Business Decisions

- How will decisions be made?
- Who will make the decisions?
- How will disputes be resolved?
- What type of legal structure will the band have?
- What are the tax liabilities for band members?

Band Name

- Who owns rights in the band name or logo?
- Should the name or logo be trademarked?
- What happens if the band breaks up? What if a member quits? What happens to the name?

Band Property

- How will the band purchase equipment?
- How will it be stored and transported?
- Is there a need for insurance?

Creative Decisions

- Who owns the songs?
- Who decides which songs to perform or record?
- How is songwriting credit determined and given?
- Who owns the master of the recordings?

Touring/Performances

- Who decides which shows to play?

Band Members

-How are new members added or existing members expelled?

A simple Band Partnership Agreement can be written by one of the members of the group and signed by all members. You can sometimes find free templates in books and online. If you find these forms do not fit your needs or you have questions, you should contact an attorney familiar with entertainment law matters.

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