50+ SAMPLE Music Agreement

What Is a Music Agreement?

A music agreement is a formal agreement between any two (or more) parties in the music industry or any related field. The agreement typically involves the performance, publishing, or recording of any type of music. 

According to an article by Rolling Stone, reports showed that major record companies signed a total of 658 artists or acts in 2017, a figure that went up 12% from the previous year. These statistics suggest that big record companies such as the likes of Sony, Universal, and Warner Music are more or less signing an average of two artists everyday.     

Common Processes In the Music and Recording Industry

Like any major industry, there are several processes and systems that operate within it. There are time-honored and accepted traditions, yet new ways and means of doing things are introduced every now and then too. And the music industry is no exception. It continues to evolve as society progresses and continues to adapt to new ways of technology. For example, how people consume music has changed over the decades- from vinyl to cassette tapes to iPods to online streaming apps. The following activities described below are the most common and universal processes in the industry.  

Demo. A common way for aspiring and up-and-coming artists to get noticed is by producing a demo. If actors attend auditions for a chance to get cast in a role for television or film, the demo could be considered an artist’s audition. Although singers, dancers, and all kinds of performers can still undergo traditional live auditions, the complex music industry may offer a musician or artist a trial period as far as record deals are concerned. And it’s not just singers who can offer a demo tape. Rappers and dancers too submit either an audio or visual demo that showcases their talent and skills. For a lot of aspiring artists, producing an impressive demo could be their one shot in making their dreams come true. Studio Recording. When an artist is officially signed by a record label, most are expected to produce an album containing tracks or songs. Obviously, to make it in the music business you need to create songs that will showcase your artistry. Although the specific terms would greatly depend on the arrangement between the artist and the management company. However, it is important to note that scoring a record deal is not a guarantee of success; it is only the start of a long journey of creative work and commitment. Therefore, the studio recording process of an artist’s career is crucial. Everything from the conceptualization of the album to the recording, editing, mixing and overall arrangement of the production is part of the whole process. Every step is vital in the creative process. A lot of investment, expectation, and unfortunately, also pressure is placed on the artist to produce a successful album. Touring and Live Shows. One of the primary areas in the recording industry is marketing and promotions. Typically, the next step after recording and distributing an album is promoting the album itself to the public. A major element of promoting the music is through touring and road shows. The most important goal, once the album is complete, is getting the word out and conveniently bringing the music to the consumers. By holding live shows, concerts, and other related events, more and more people become aware of the album. In some cases, touring can stretch for several months with artists and their production teams constantly on the road. But still for a majority of artists, performing for live audiences is a much more rewarding and fulfilling experience than spending hours in a studio. Distribution and Marketing. Another key process in the recording industry is the publishing and distribution of the music. After creating and generating music in the studio, a complex post-production process then ensues. Music for commercial purposes obviously needs to sell in order for record companies to gain profit. Thus, music marketers and strategists come up with multiple ways of distributing the albums. Whether it is through traditional retail stores or via digital platforms, the goal is to share the music to as many audiences as possible. But in recent decades, illegal distribution and piracy have been a major problem for record labels. Millions, perhaps even billions, of profit may have very well been squandered due to illegal and illegitimate distribution channels.

Key Players In the Music Industry

Anyone who is involved in music knows that making music is a creative process. Whether it is a pastime or a full-time job, making music can be deeply fulfilling and introspective. But as far as the recording industry is concerned, there still exists an organizational structure or hierarchy with various players each playing a role in the creation of music. The following are just some of the major players in the music industry.     

Producers. A producer is a major figure in a lot of industries, not only in music. From the word itself, they produce the film, series, or albums that are to be distributed for public consumption. Producers work closely with artists and are present in every major step in the creative process. Musicians and artists consult, conceptualize, and exchange ideas with their respective producers. In some cases, an artist does not always see eye-to-eye with the producer or either of them fight and struggle for creative control and direction. Thus, a balanced and harmonious working relationship that is rooted in respect and confidence is absolutely important. Producers ought to respect the creative ideas and methods of the artists while still offering guidance and advice to them. Composers. A lot can go into just making a single song. Although there are many singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift, it is common for artists to write songs for other artists to perform. Lyricists and composers play an important role in the creation of songs and music. And the lyrics and words are but one element of the entire process. The arrangement of the song, its tone, beat, tempo and rhythm are all part of the formula. Just like producers, composers work closely with the artist and collaborate with them in creative ways. Even for songs that do not require vocals such as musical scores or instrumental tracks, composers essentially end up assuming all roles themselves. Musicians. Without musicians and performers, the height of creative expression can rarely be realized. Artists take a work of art such as a song and apply their own personality and style to it, essentially breathing life into it. With the different kinds of genres and abundance of music styles, it has become increasingly challenging for artists to truly set themselves apart from the crowd. Nowadays, being original or standing out amongst the crowd is what will get you noticed. And for aspiring singers and performers, this applies not just to the way they look or project themselves as artists, but down to the kind of music they create as well. A truly gifted artist is when his or her music can connect deeply with audiences and stir emotions, feelings or even memories in them.

How to Create a Music Agreement

To create a formal music agreement, you should start by gathering all the necessary information first. Once you have prepared all the details, then you can begin drafting the contract. If you are looking to save time and resources, try using an existing template for more efficiency and convenience. Select a sample agreement that suits your needs and simply follow the basic steps below. 

Step 1: Identify the Parties 

The first step in crafting a music agreement is establishing the identities of the parties entering into an agreement. This may vary depending on the nature of your arrangement. Whether it is between a record company and a musician or between a songwriter and a performer, the complete names (or company name) of all parties must be present. This section contains a couple of introductory paragraphs or lines and usually follows a certain format. The format may vary slightly depending on the structure of the document, but what’s important is to maintain consistency throughout the rest of the other sections.    

Step 2: Outline the Expectations and Responsibilities

Once you have established the names of the participating parties, proceed to outlining the various roles and responsibilities for each party. Setting expectations is key so as to avoid any undue conflict or disagreement in the future. Or at the very least, having a clear definition of responsibilities can help resolve potential arguments more quickly. For instance, a record label and an artist may agree to a certain number of albums to be put out. This expectation ought to be explicitly stated in the contract. A record company’s other responsibilities may also include strategic marketing, tour accommodations, talent fees, etc.    

Step 3: Establish Terms and Conditions

The next step is interconnected with the previous section. Both expectations and responsibilities need to be further broken down in the terms and conditions. These stipulations or provisions dictate the agreement and basically serve as a guide on how to conduct the business arrangement. In the case of record and music agreements, typical terms and conditions would include the duration of the contract, payment terms, professional fee guidelines, copyright claims, breach or termination of contract, recording schedules, tour schedules, etc. Terms must be stated clearly and specifically to avoid any confusion or undue assumption.  

Step 4: Affirm the Agreement 

Finally, the contract must be confirmed by both parties. Since it is an official document, there must be a formal declaration that both parties freely consent and agree to the aforementioned terms. The act of confirming and recognizing the agreement is standard protocol and applies to most types of written contracts. This section basically serves as the closing statement. Lastly, make sure to leave enough space for both parties to affix their respective signatures.       


What is an artist agreement?

An artist agreement is a formal contract made between an artist and a record company, talent management company or any similar organization.

How do you get a music contract?

There can be a variety of ways to score a music contract these days. You can work on putting out an excellent demo and take advantage of social media channels to bring awareness to your craft and talent. It might help a great deal if you have a following, considerable fan base, or just people who regularly support you and your music.

What is a music producer contract?

A music producer contract is a binding contract that outlines the various terms and conditions (e.g., copyright, representation, etc.) revolving a business partnership between a music producer and an artist or performer.

Many people have dreams of making it big as a singer or a performing artist. But behind the glitz and glamour of fame, the recording industry can be a cut-throat and competitive environment with a significant amount of paperwork that includes all sorts of contracts and agreements. Browse the selection of sample templates above and create your own music agreement today!