Music is often at the heart and soul of many forms of creative expression within the entertainment industry. In today’s disruptive and constantly evolving age of digital entertainment, The Hollywood Lawyer’s music practice combines commercial and strategic savvy and legal experience to promote and protect our clients’ interests. In the music industry, an artist’s reputation, contracts, and legal representation can matter more than their actual musical talent.
Our comprehensive music law practice encompasses legal guidance for all aspects of the music business. Our experienced legal team represents parties regardless of their role within the entertainment industry, and our clients include both talent and industry-side professionals.
As a music lawyer Beverly Hills trusts, we help clients navigate music-related contractual agreements across their entire lifecycle, from the creation and structuring of full-service music companies and artist groups, through negotiating agreements relating to licensing and production intellectual property, and to unwinding business relationships when an entity has run its course.
We regularly advise clients who are looking to acquire musical rights for distribution across various channels, including motion pictures, television, advertisements, live theater, software, video games, and other digital media. Our lawyers represent songwriters, recording artists, record labels, publishing companies, producers, mixers, engineers, composers, and distributors, among others within the music industry.
Our Music Law Services
We partner with industry professionals and creative talent for managing every aspect of the commercial entertainment agreements they enter. Below are some of the different types of agreements and contracts on which an entertainment lawyer Beverly Hills trusts can advise in the music industry.
To ensure that a musician can protect their original work and intellectual property, our lawyers can help artists file for copyright registration. A musician may own copyright in song lyrics, the musical notation, or both. The copyright holder will have exclusive rights to using their music and making money off of it. Some of the things that the copyright holder may do include:
Making copies of the music and lyrics
Selling copies of the music and lyrics
Transferring the copyright they hold to others
Creating derivative work based on the original music or lyrics
We can guide you through the process of completing and submitting the required documentation and forms to the U.S. Copyright Office, enforcing your copyright against potential infringers, and defending against allegations from others that you have infringed upon their copyrights with your work.
Agreements Involving Side Artists
In a side-artist agreement, our music lawyers can represent either artist in the event of a collaboration, whether for a small part of one song or an entire album. These agreements include terms that dictate the percentage of royalties that each artist will receive, how long the collaboration will last, who will own the copyright in the final product, and how payments will occur.
Manager and Agency Contracts
Management and agency representation contracts set forth the terms of the relationship between a manager or agency and a musician. Most of these arrangements are commission-based and depend on the musician’s commercial success. Some of the most important terms in these contracts include what percentage the manager or agent will receive of the musician’s industry-related gross income, how long the contractual relationship will last, how the parties will manage expenses that arise during the course of the agreement, and provisions for negotiating a breach of contract.
Recording, Producing and Publishing Agreements
In a recording agreement or publishing agreement, the parties to the contract — usually an artist and a label that plans to produce their music recordings — determine the following terms:
Length of the contract
Number of albums or songs that the agreement will cover
Royalty percentages that the label will pay to the artist
How the parties will allocate responsibility for contract-related expenses
Roles and responsibilities for all parties to the contract
Producer agreements are generally between an artist and a producer, and they dictate the terms for how the producer will oversee a song or album’s creation on the artist’s behalf. In addition to the terms common for recording and publishing agreements, producer agreements will also often address logistics for recording the music, decision-making with regard to talent to include, and who has final approval over the final product.
Our experienced music lawyers can help ensure your commercial and personal interests are best represented within recording, producing, and publishing agreements, regardless of whether you are the recording studio or the talent.
Licensing Across All Distribution Channels
Other Ways We Can Help in the Music Industry
In addition to the services listed above, our lawyers are also experienced with drafting and negotiating agreements relating to endorsements, sponsorships, advertising, merchandising, touring, appearances, promotions, and branding. With respect to the film and television industry, we also focus on contracts for executive music producers, composers, and soundtracks, and we can represent any party in these agreements.
Even if your specific situation or legal need is not listed here, we can help – contact us to see how our experience and detail-oriented approach can benefit your career as a musician or your business needs within the music industry.