The following checklist serves only for basic orientation:
Is this the suitable kind of contract? (artist exclusive contract / band take-over contract etc.; it does not depend on the contract title, but always on the content of the contract. If necessary, the intention can be written down in a “preamble” at the beginning of the contract.)
Is the subject matter of the contract defined as correctly and as precisely as possible? (The subject matter of the contract is legally the heart of the contract; no ambiguities should be present here. If necessary, individual terms can be defined in a separate paragraph. The object of the contract is often filled by further detailed regulations on the granting of rights, exclusivity, advertising etc.).
Are the contractual parties correctly and precisely defined? (Both contracting parties must be defined exactly and correctly. In the case of companies, the correct addition such as AG, GmbH, GmbH & Co KG, Ltd. etc. must be used. For reasons of clarification, the register number should also be added.)
Are the Start of contract/ Duration of contract/ Termination terms clearly explained? (The start of the contract is usually the signature date, the duration of the contract is often fixed in the agreement, typically 1-3 years with the option of extension. The duration of the contract can also be agreed for an indefinite period with the possibility of termination etc).
Please note: the checklist for music contracts does not replace individual legal advice or adaptation. Consult a lawyer who is familiar with music law. We will advise you personally, online or by telephone.
What about the contractual territory? (The contract territory is often Germany, German-speaking area in the form of Germany/Austria/Switzerland, European Union or even worldwide agreed)
Have the licensing fees been fully discussed? (The HAP is often used as the basis in the artist contract, in other contracts also turnover royalties, piece royalties or flat royalty fees. The different types of use may have to be taken into account, downloads, for example, are considered as “separate types of use”. Possible discounts for events, special offers etc. should be considered)
What about the granting of rights and reversion of rights? (Within the subject matter of the contract, the most important position is the granting of rights and their exact representation. The absence of a right can lead to a later obligation to acquire the right, for which a fee will be charged.)
Have you discussed the exclusivity of the granting rights? (There are different full/partial/non-exclusive possibilities of licensing=granting of rights)
Has been agreed an exact obligation of publishing? (Together with the best efforts in the field of advertising, the obligation to publish represents an important basis for your career).
Have you agreed some kind of participation rights? (Due to the partly work-contractual character, the artist’s obligations to cooperate in particular in advertising appearances as well as the rights to cooperate in artistic design can be considered, especially in connection with remixes, title sequence and selection, cover design etc.)
What about the quality and quantity of the agreed services? (As a rule, the agreement of certain qualities and quantities is recommended.)
Advertising and merchandising? (Obligations and rights must be regulated; this begins with the ownership of the merchandising rights and other ancillary rights).
Contractual penalties or exemptions? (Obligations to act or to cease and desist can be backed up by contractual penalty agreements or – on the contrary – by an exemption agreement.)
Who bears which contractual and follow-up costs? (The cost of each service/iteam shall be previously discussed and agreed. )
Payments and invoicing have been clearly agreed? (In addition to the agreement of the licence fees and the costs, the payments, if applicable advance agreements, and the accounting including tax aspects – in particular turnover tax liability? – shall be determined)
This check list is not reproduced for a specific individual case and do not replace a legal consultation. No guarantee for the completeness, correctness or even only topicality will be taken over, since the legal basic conditions (laws, jurisdiction etc.) constantly change.