As an artiste, it is crucial to own or have the rights to your sound recording copyright, as this will help you get paid for the sale and use of your sound recordings.
In this article, the subject matter of the exclusive recording artist agreement, commonly known as the Recording Contract, will be looked at. Its importance, as well as its provisions. The knowledge in this article is just that, knowledge; in a real-life situation, have an entertainment lawyer go through your recording contract before signing it.
Every label’s assets are the sound recording copyright and the exclusive recording services of an artiste.
1. Sound Recording Copyright
Sound recording is the fixation of sounds that make up the recording of a composition. It means that the label will own the rights to a song’s compositions of instruments, vocals, and inflexions. The sound recording copyright lasts for a lifetime + 70 years, after which it becomes public domain; the recording will be free to use by anyone for anything.
Before the public domain, the label will make revenue by selling the sound recording to individuals (physical and digital copies) and licensing it for use to 3rd parties (movies, commercials, etc.). The label then pays the artiste a percentage of these earnings as royalties.
2. Exclusive Recording Services
The entire period the artiste is signed to a particular label, they will not be allowed to record for another label. Thus, the label sets the terms of featured appearances on your song and those you feature on; you need the label’s permission to feature on another label’s artiste’s song.
Provisions in An Artist Recording Agreement
Artist recording agreements usually contain the following provisions;
- Terms of Tenure – duration or length of the contract.
- Recording Advances – royalties paid to the artist in advance.
Independent artistes don’t usually know you can sign a recording agreement with your own company. This singular act gives them the leverage to negotiate better whenever a major label, their sub-labels, affiliated production companies, and independent labels approach them with a recording agreement. This will be highlighted in the articles about the provisions in a recording agreement.
It is safe to say that the recording agreement determines how much you get paid and how you get paid as an artiste. Thus, ensure that you have an entertainment lawyer review your contract and break it down for you in layman’s terms before you put pen to paper.