What is a recording agreement?
A recording contract is a legal agreement between a recording company and an artist. This contract must be carefully looked over by the artist as it can contain specific provisions that inhibit their freedom. These agreements describe provisions such as exclusivity and various forms of rights.
What is exclusivity?
Recording agreements bound the artist to one recording company, which stops them from working with other companies for any other reason, unless provided permission. Therefore, the artist is exclusively working for the one recording company. Anything created during the duration of the contract is also the exclusive property of the recording company, allowing them to own the copyright to the artistic material produced. Furthermore, the company has the exclusive right to use the artist’s material in the media for promotional purposes. However, in return the company provides monetary compensation for the work created by the artist.
How long do the agreements last?
These agreements usually do not specify an end date, but rather require a set number of singles or albums to be produced by the artist. Typically, companies require one or two albums initially and then can request for additional ones. The number of albums the artist must create is also referred to as the Minimum Recording Commitment.
All contracts have more provisions than the ones outlined above. In most cases, there are certain clauses that directly inhibit the freedom of the artist. Therefore, it is imperative that the recording artist consult an entertainment lawyer when negotiating and signing a legal agreement with a record company.