42+ Sample Band Contracts

What Is a Band Contract?

A band contract is a formal agreement between two or more parties involving the service and performance of artists and musicians. Sometimes, it involves an external party seeking to hire or contract the service of musicians for their talent.  

One famous lawsuit involving a band and their record label company is when Virgin Records sued 30 Seconds to Mars for breach of contract. According to a Business Insider article, the $30 million lawsuit stemmed from a claim that the band members failed to deliver a third album to Virgin Records; when an agreement was made for a five-album deal. Eventually, both parties reached a settlement in 2009. 

Types of Band Contracts

Band contracts can refer to a number of partnerships. It is important to be clear what kind of contract you are engaging in. Different scenarios may apply. You can either be a band member yourself or an outside party or representative (e.g., music venue, manager, record label, etc.) who wishes to engage the services and musical talent of the artists or band. 

Internal Group Agreement or Partnership: This refers to a band contract within the group or amongst the band members. Like any group, band members can also disagree. One member may have an idea that the others may not necessarily agree with. A lead vocalist may seek creative control, alienating the rest of the band in the process. It is important for a band to set the ground rules and know where to draw the line. Setting the terms and conditions internally between band members can prevent any unnecessary argument or help diffuse one in the future. When members know what is expected of them, they are in a much better position to know where they stand and can learn to prioritize the band’s interests above their own personal interests. An internal agreement can also define the roles and responsibilities of each member, and the profit sharing terms within the group. External Partnership or Band Management Contract: The global music industry has dozens of major and independent labels that are always seeking new acts and artists to produce music and media for consumers. Before an artist or band is officially part of a record label’s roster, a contract is usually a prerequisite. Both parties need to define the business relationship and draw up the necessary terms. This can include the roles of both management and artists, compliance and service guidelines, length and duration of contract agreement, grounds for termination of band membership and/or partnership with management. A common point of contention for bands and their labels always involves the issue of money or intellectual property. A band contract or partnership should clearly define and specify the terms and conditions regarding copyright, intellectual property of songs, royalties, etc. Independent Contractor Agreement: It is common for people and event organizers to hire musical acts or performers. In this case, the band offers their musical performance as a service to the client. A venue or exhibition center can host music festivals and contract the service of various artists as part of their program event. A couple can hire a live band to perform at their wedding reception. All these scenarios involve a band or musical act as an independent contractor. Bands and Other Musicians: In many cases, solo artists and even bands, sometimes require the services of other musicians. These musicians are not typically part of the official group or considered permanent members. Session musicians are hired for many reasons. They can provide back up in a studio recording, accompany the official band on tours, and provide any kind of support an artist would require. Session musicians normally have short term contracts, but most of the time it would depend on the label or band’s needs. Other Cases: A different case of a band contract involves membership and commitments. For example, a high school marching band or jazz band may sometimes require a contract for their members to sign. It can contain a declaration of band commitments, rehearsal schedules that the member is expected to attend, consequences for non-compliance, and other expectations required from the member.

Components of a Band Contract 

The content of your band contract would greatly depend on your need. Make sure you know what type of agreement you want to enter into. The following components are commonly found in band contracts: 

Engagement: Like any basic contract, start by indicating the parties involved. Include the complete name of the group or band. Be explicit and specify the nature of engagement. On what capacity are the parties operating? Is it an independent contractor agreement? Or is the contract a school organization’s way of reinforcing commitment from their members? Musician’s Obligations: What is expected of the band or performer? The contract should explicitly state what the band’s obligations are. The agreement could state that the group is required to attend trainings and regular recording sessions. In another instance, a restaurant or hotel could hire the services of a house band for a duration of 12 months. The contract states that the house band is required to perform during dinner every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday for an entire year. Description of the Show: This is a vital part of an independent contractor agreement. Usually in the case of events, a band contract states important information and details the description of the show. Is it a series of live performances or a one-night only type performance? Make sure your agreement contains the complete details. In the case of a wedding band, the contract should indicate the date and time of the show, location of the event, the song setlist, its start and end times or number of performance hours. Payment Terms: Make sure your contract states how the band or musical act will be compensated. Specify the actual amount to be paid and outline the payment terms and conditions. For example, a band agrees to perform at a live event but before either party can proceed, an initial deposit needs to be made. To fulfill their end of the bargain, the event organizers agree to the terms and pay the remaining amount after the performance is rendered. Other Terms: Sometimes, artists are required to perform shows on a recurring basis. For many full time bands, a tour may even last several months. In this scenario, the artist or band would not only require a road crew, but a full support team to deliver a big production. The conditions of transport, accommodation, and meals for the entire team would need to be defined and stated in a contract. Where would the band members sleep and will meals be provided to the crew? How will the production team move from one performance venue to another? A band contract should stipulate and clarify these conditions. The same goes for an independent contractor; sometimes in special cases, the restaurant offers the band free meals in exchange for a musical rendition. Cancellation Policy: Your band contract should also include a cancellation policy. In the event that either the band or the venue cancels an event due to unforeseen circumstances, the right guidelines are in place to settle any dispute that may arise from the unexpected cancellation. A band may also choose to cancel a performance if the organizer fails to fulfill the payment terms stated in the contract. Be sure to identify the period of days a show can or cannot be cancelled, its corresponding fees, refund guidelines, etc.

How to Create a Band Contract

With the different types of band contracts, ensure you create the right one by choosing the appropriate template to serve as your guide. When you’ve established the kind of contract you need, follow these simple steps:  

Step 1: Indicate the Parties

Every contract starts by indicating the parties involved. In the case of a band contract, the parties involved may be the band members, management, event organizer or venue, production company, record label, external contractor, the school organization, etc. Depending on your requirements, you can either be the drafting party or the receiving one that is tasked to review, modify, and/or accept the agreement.   

Step 2: Supply the Basic Information

After establishing the identities of the parties, state the basic information. This includes describing the nature of the agreement or relationship to the band or group. Indicate the services involved and summary of the performance details. This may include, but is not limited to, show dates, call time, address of the venue, duration of performance, and other general booking information.  

Step 3: Specify the Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions make up the fine details of the agreement. Compensation, cancellation, security concerns, lodging and transportation arrangements, meal allowances, marketing and promotions should all be stipulated in the contract, if it’s applicable. For example, two parties agree to the terms of a 50% down payment before the event. The remaining balance is to be paid after fulfilling the obligation of a live musical performance. A band may enforce a non-refundable policy after an agreed period of time. Other conditions could cover weather disturbances or unforeseen circumstances. For instance, a band is set to perform in an outdoor stadium venue. The band contract stipulates that in the event of undesirable weather conditions, both parties are allowed to postpone the performance and adjust the compensation terms. Another example would be band members setting conditions amongst themselves allowing any member to engage in musical collaborations outside of the band. For this case, the band contract must outline what the group members are allowed to take part in or what activities to avoid.           

Step 4: Acceptance of Terms and Signatories 

In concluding your contract, include a binding statement that both parties agree to all the terms and conditions. Declare that the document is a formal agreement and thus, legal and enforceable. Leave a designated line for the parties or their authorized representatives to sign.

FAQs

How do you get a band contract?

To get a band contract, you can either draft one yourself or use an existing template, and customize it to suit your needs. There are dozens of contract templates available online. It’s only a matter of choosing the right one and keying in the required information. Check out the samples above to create your own band contract.

Is being in a band worth it?

People often highlight the perks of being in a band. However, performing in a band as a worthwhile endeavor is subjective. It would obviously depend on the individual. If a person’s lifelong dream is to perform in front of a crowd and share or create meaningful music, then the person will naturally feel it is a worthwhile goal. Most people want fame and success but are not prepared for the problems and difficulties that come with it. The music industry is no exception. It may be appealing, but it is also a very competitive and ruthless industry. It is important to not only know your goal, but the more difficult challenge is to stay committed to it. If you or your band want a successful career and are dedicated to make it despite the challenges, then all the toil and hard work will definitely be worth it.

Why does a band need an internal group contract?

An internal group contract in a band is not always required; but it could help settle certain issues and ease tensions in the long run. It is not uncommon for musical groups to break up or go their separate ways. Bands break up for a number of reasons. Either one or several members disagree with the creative direction of management, or there are conflicting priorities amongst the members. A common denominator for most cases involve control and monetary issues. If a band has an internal group contract, it can allow a group compromise to ensue. It may not always serve as a guarantee; but at least certain issues can be settled in a civil and professional way.

Whether you are a group of musicians looking for your next big break, or a client looking to book a band for an important occasion, a band contract is a requirement in order to clearly define and manage expectations of each party. You may naively want to be successful in the music industry, but make sure you do your research and educate yourself on how the business works. Download a sample contract now and get started!