36+ Sample Music Contract Templates

What Is a Music Contract?

Music contracts come in different forms. It can be a music production contract, a record label contract, a music publishing contract, a music licensing contract, and more. So, let us define some of these contracts. A music producer contract is a document that production companies, producers, and audio engineers use to reach an agreement with an artist and a record label company to create master recordings. A record label agreement, also known as a recording contract, is a contract that record label companies use to maintain their ownership and licensing rights of master recordings. A music publishing contract is a written deal that publishing entities and songwriters use to address which party has rights to the music and lyrics of a song. A music licensing contract is a license that legally permits one party to use a master recording or a song of a copyright owner.

According to Statista, in 2014, the number of musicians in the United States totaled 27.98 million.

Also, Statista anticipates that the revenue of live music in the U.S. will increase from $9.28 billion to $11.99 billion from the years 2015 to 2021.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2015, the median pay of musicians was $24.20 per hour, but in 2019, it increased to $30.39 per hour.

Useful Facts About the Music Industry

The facts below don’t only benefit a musician, but also music entrepreneurs. Some points are motivating, and some are truths that will keep you in line with reality. Regardless, they are all vital information that every musician must know.

Being a music nerd doesn’t automatically mean that you are a music business expert. As a fan, having some experience in attending live performances or recordings doesn’t automatically mean that you can book shows, run labels, etc. There are matters that you have to understand through experience. Even if your understanding of the events happening in the music or entertainment industry is clear, you won’t get the process unless you have some experience. Still, knowing a lot about music is a requirement if one wants to be an entrepreneur. However, don’t think that being a nerd in music will make you a music business expert.Reviews and sales are not always directly proportional. Getting reviews may be a great thing to make a name, but having a lot of positive reviews doesn’t necessarily mean that your sales are going up. Even if you get 100 reviews that praise your music, the number of people who will buy your record still will be relatively small. Note that playing your music on the radio is more effective than having print reviews alone. Yes, having good reviews is still a factor, but it is not the whole story. You can utilize reviews to attract recording companies and to book gigs.You can earn money by selling music. Some people strongly believe that music should be free, and musicians should only make it through live shows and merchandise. Well, that’s an exaggerated notion. It is a fact that sales are going down. Also, there is a lot of free music for all. However, the reality remains that you still have fans who are waiting for your new music and are willing to pay you for it. The strategy is to create a balance between giving free goods to your fans and offering them an opportunity to purchase your music at a reasonable price in whatever format they like. Bear in mind that release formats differ from one music genre to another. So, if your fans demand vinyl, CDs, or want it digital, attend to their requests. You should know who your fans are. Don’t give in to the idea that you can make money by selling promotional goods such as mugs, t-shirts, and tickets.Don’t base your success on the past. You probably know several musicals and recordings that have made it to the top. Yes, these facts may inspire you, but you can’t base your success on others’ successes. Even if you can find several bands who have become famous on social media platforms, it doesn’t mean that you will have the same destiny. Even if you follow the footsteps of band ABC who was live on a TV show because of an unusual advertisement, it doesn’t mean the same outcome will happen to you. You can learn from the examples of other musicians, but you have to create your path to achieve your goals. Also, watch out of public relations people who will convince you to repeat what other successful musicians have done.A record company can help you. Many people believe in the idea that record companies cannot offer anything useful to musicians. Note that now all record companies are run by greedy businessmen who just care about money. Genuine music lovers operate several of these companies. They are people who will help you so that people will be able to hear your songs. Though some musicians have natural skills in handling the commercial side of their profession, others only have talent in music. That’s where record labels play a part. Additionally, labels give you more knowledge about the industry, offer you contacts, and help you with a budget. Yes, some musicians succeed by doing it themselves, but this reality doesn’t apply to all. So, carefully think about which road you have to take as a musician.You must value the basics. A lot of attention is presently on social marketing tools that most musicians use. The foundation of a concrete music career is by writing original songs and performing on shows. As a musician, you can survive without these online tools. However, you can’t survive for long without creating new songs and playing on shows. Take note that a great song is much better than a software tool, a networking website, a blog, or a headline. As a musician, you should always keep an eye on your music.Don’t rely on social networking. Social networking will help you connect and keep updates with the people who love your music, but it can distract you if you don’t know how to prioritize. Again, don’t neglect the basics and don’t focus on succeeding in social networking platforms. Also, don’t pay others so that you could learn how to use these tools. That is unnecessary because you can learn about it yourself.You can earn a living with music. Though not all who work for music live a luxurious life, making a living with music is possible. Aside from performing, there are several jobs out there for music lovers that will be enough for them to pay for their bills. Remember that people succeed with a lot of hard work, and failure comes before success.

How To Earn Money and Make a Living As a Full-time Musician

If you plan to work as a full-time musician, you need to make a living out of it. You may be passionate about it, but it can be hard to attend to your necessities if you don’t get enough income as a musician. So, how do you earn money and make a living as a full-time musician? Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Play Your Music Live

Having live performances is what most musicians do to earn money. Make money by having shows under a live music contract, a door split agreement, or by playing on the city streets with a tip box. A door split contract is an arrangement between a venue owner or promoter and a band. Under the agreement, the performers will not get a fixed payment for performing, but they will get a commission from the ticket sales. If you are still a newbie, be content with small fees at first because building a name will take some time. Look at the bigger picture and focus on your long term goals. Once you establish a name, you can then demand larger but reasonable fees.

Step 2: Sell Your Creation

Sell the music you make, and make it easy for your fans to purchase it. You can do digital distribution or sell CD-Rs on shows. Don’t overprice or underprice, sell your creation based on its worth. You can also sell copies of your music on record shops under a consignment agreement.

Step 3: Sell Music Merchandise

Selling music merchandise will also help you increase your earnings as a musician. Create original t-shirts, stickers, coffee mugs, or badges and sell them after a show or on online sites. This idea will benefit you most, especially after doing an excellent performance. Your fans will probably buy your goods since they are still in high spirits.

Step 4: Play the Music of Other Musicians

While you are still creating your own music, you can do the work of a session musician. A session musician is a work for hire musician who takes part in shows with other bands and artists without being an official member of the team. They play what others ask from them. Amiability is the secret to working as one. It can be challenging, but it is an opportunity for you to improve your skills and have more connections.

Step 5: Open Yourself to Other Music Jobs

Being a session musician is one example. The idea is to utilize your talent and knowledge for other musicians in return for payment. Do you have the talents of a music producer? Work in the studio. Do you find it easy to book shows? Help other musicians. You may have many skills as a musician, use them to earn some extra.


The copyright laws give musicians exclusive rights to produce copies of their sound recordings and musical compositions. Also, the copyright holder has the right to receive royalties for the distribution of his/her creations and recordings.

Do musicians need contract managers?

A contract manager takes care of the daily affairs of a musician. They do several things such as the following: (1) building a team, (2) coordinating with record companies, venue owners, and promoters, (3) keeping your finances in order, (4) searching for sponsors and opportunities for income streams, (5) looking for people in the industry that will help build the musician’s career, and (6) helping to make career decisions.

What is a band contract?

A band contract, also known as a partnership agreement, is a document that spells out how the band will operate. It binds all band members to face everyday realities as a group and as professional musicians.

A music contract is a document that protects the rights of a musician. Though it comes in different forms, every contract helps a musician straighten up his/her career path. Most importantly, it protects the music he/she makes. If you want to be successful in the music industry, don’t neglect the use of these crucial papers.