Monday, July 12, 2010

Music Business/Law Tips - "Delivery" (Part 1)

Whether an artist signs a recording contract with a major or minor record company, the label will have some say over what type of material will eventually be released by the artist. Hence, there exists what is known as a delivery requirement in recording agreements.

As the concept is known in the music industry, delivery means that the record company has to accept the recordings which are brought to them by the artist as adhering to the terms of the record deal. The contract will specify what standard the record company will use to test how acceptable the recordings are. It is important that the artist be aware of what standard they are agreeing to.

The most common standard is that the artist must deliver commercially satisfactory recordings. In essence, this means the company will only accept recordings which it believes are hit records. Such language is what a newer artist or an artist without much bargaining power can expect. This ambiguous standard can cause many problems, including: (a) the label suspending the contract period until acceptable tracks are delivered, (b) putting the artist deeper in debt to the label because additional recordings cost more money, and (c) allowing the label to terminate the deal under the argument that the artist was late in delivery and thus breached the contract.

[part 2 next week]

Ben McLane Esq

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