When you first form your group together with your mates it’s impossible to imagine the bitter fights and murderous arguments you’re going to have in a few years’ time…just joking. Or maybe not. The fact is, being in a group, no matter how close friends you are right now, can be stressful and can lead to a lot of disagreements, jealousy, and bad feelings. And that’s why you need to make the important decisions while you are still friends! Team management for musicians doesn’t always come easy, so set out your guidelines.
Agree on fair terms and sign your contract, that you all agree on, while everything between you is peachy. If you don’t make these agreements at the beginning and the band disintegrates in bitter fashion further down the line, it’s going to be very difficult to be rational and reasonable about things. This isn’t the contract you all sign with the record label or with a publisher, this is an internal contract that sets out the terms of your agreement with each other. You need this in case anything goes wrong and the band is no longer the one you began with, but also just so you are clear on what’s what.
The single most important thing your band possesses is your name. Whatever your group is called, whether it’s Hawkwind or Rainbow Butt Monkeys (real band), the name is your band and it’s important you figure out what to do with it if the band breaks up. Do you decide once the band has broken up the name dies with it and no members can use that name again? Or does the songwriter, the founder member, or the front man get to continue performing with this name? Or is it that the name can only be used if a majority of the band perform together in the future ie if one member leaves?
This will be a contentious one, but it’s vital that you sort out who gets what percentage of the profits. There are no set rules for how you divvy up the funds and it’s up to you as a group to agree on this. On the face of it, it seems that the fairest way to do things is to give all members of the group an equal share, but this isn’t always how it goes down. It’s often thought that founding members should get a higher percentage and this is often fair as they are the ones who started the band. You can also devise different profit shares for different areas of your business, so maybe you share the concert profits equally, but not record sales.
If you are running your group in a democratic way, you are going to take a vote on making major decisions, like whether to play that small town festival and whether to sign with the dodgy looking record label. As with the profit share, this isn’t always done equally and often the founder member or songwriter gets a bigger share of the vote than others.
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