I have good news. I know that this news has been expected. The first part of my trilogy has been under re-construction.The Essence of the Music Business – Contracts is going to have a second edition. I have done this update through the year and now it took for a review. I have added examples, and edited them more responsive for this day. As a writer’s happiness, fortunately the structure withstood the update well. However, I redesigned the total of 586 points. It was great to come back to Appropos Lingua Translation Company for proof reading services – just like with the first edition. They are great!
This news should not cause any confusion – in relation to my past posts. The third part of the trilogy – The Essence of the Music Business –Strategy – is on schedule and will be published in August.
I wish everyone a great spring time. This year also seems to be the year of new releases.
There are only a few lectures to give and then it is Christmas. This year has gone a long way and a lot has happened. I have some good news. The third part of ‘The Essence of the Music Business’ will be completed on time, though I haven’t yet decided the publication date. So many things affect it, and it is not entirely in my own hands.
I’m coming to mentoring students next spring in various academies. This allows me to write more articles. I am sorry that I have not been able to write as much as I would have liked. This has been entirely due to the timetable of this autumn. When you are teaching, you are in a completely different mode than what is required for writing. When the legal mandates that I am getting relatively regular on it are still being added, it is difficult to split up to two. Those obligations go ahead of everything else. On the other hand, it keeps up-to-date on all developments in the field. I’ve got a lot of new topics that I can write about.
Below is student’s photo taken from this week’s lectures at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.
Hope you are all well! I’ll keep informing when something new will come up.
If the artist’s intention is to tell his or her story, the strategic considerations must be taken into account in the narrative. It is not one and the same thing what the artist tells, if the story aims to influence the artist’s prospects or the artist’s image requires it. Part of that strategy is guided by the artist’s own ambitions and the other part is driven by necessity. Some parts of the story line requires a certain kind of response, while in other respects the artist is free to decide what is being produced at any given time. It is clear that some parts of the story are trying to create and open new grooves while the other parts are intended to confine the story and its content.
It is of great importance where the artist is in his or her career stage. At the beginning of the career the narrative aspirations are different from the situation where the artist has already created the relevant career. If the artist is world-renowned and there is no need to struggle to improve awareness or with the feed rates, the main focus is probably on the content issues. Instead, the artist who is just entering the industry and maybe gained some foothold in their home country, the situation is different – if it is to reach wider market. In this situation, in storytelling, it is hardly worth going ahead. The events around the artist and the success achieved create its own unique frame for the story. Pop music news flow has an essential part of the pursuit of success. Just for this reason, it is hoped to be included in the story of an ever-increasing number of artists – either directly or indirectly.
The best thing is always to stay in truth and practice what you preach. In the early stages of the career staying in this ideal is difficult if your music cannot find the listeners and your success is to be done under the terms of your story. This does not mean that the artist should color the story at the expense of truth. No – it’s more about giving efforts to improve the attractiveness of the story.
Earlier the greatest desire was to get the music to the widest possible public play in radios and television and tell the story to this end. Success in those channels would boost the sales of album and increase other copyright derivatives. The same goal is still being pursued today. However, there must also be success in the provision and presentation of streaming service providers. In the past, the commercialization of marketing was to bring the artist’s albums to the record stores and preferably, well-presented. In the streaming era, this same idea is to get the artist music to the best possible positions on the streaming supply, in their internal playlists and as quickly as possible to click. Before the artist has achieved the desired market position, the story must support these efforts. Therefore, the business reasons may limit but also dictate the narrative of the story if it has given such status.
The artist often uses different versions of the story in different geographical and market areas, depending on the feedback they receive in there. In many situations, this is even necessary. At this stage it is worth recalling the need for coherence. Bearing themes should not much differ from each other. So much to the public should not strive to influence that each market area would have a different story – the story that is appropriate for that area.
If the artist is just landing to some particular market area, no big achievements should be included in the story – they are not yet happened in this area. In this situation, the story could emphasize some other components, for example, artistic perception or artist’s personality. Of course, if success in some other geographical area has been so significant or noteworthy that it could have an effect outside that area, you should consider incorporating it. If the artist has achieved platinum sales, for example in some remarkable market, it may be relevant in another market area too.
The artist’s story must take note the structural aspects as well. The artist’s story is well written if it indirectly brings with it the elements such as those that the industry can capture. This is crucial at a time when the artist is still unknown to the general public. When the story of the artist reveals expectation-worthy factors, the recording contract will be considered in a different way than in a situation where there is still no evidence of this. If the artist is getting a television performance or own spot at some relevant festival – this is worth pointing out in the story. If something abnormal happens in the artist’s communication system, it is also worthwhile to include in the story, even if it seems insignificant. They for sure bring their own twist in the story. It is not uncommon for some genre to be particularly impressive in some particular geographic area. If the artist’s music goes through an area where the artist’s style is not usually popular, it is almost an obligation to point out. All this brings the value to the artist’s story and makes it interesting.
It is good to note that story lives all the time, even if its core would remain the same. A very few artists can pass through the story by dictating the terms of it. The public and industry’s reception makes it impossible. Especially during the early stages of the operation, all kind of monitoring is important when the artist is waiting and searching for the place to go through. If the popularity for some reason is growing or decreasing, the reason for this would be good to locate. If the number of audience or fans to a new artist is increasing from one thousand to ten thousand, and this change takes place in a short time, there is probably some reason for that. At this stage, in storytelling, it is worth focusing particularly on those factors and the channels in which that growth is taking place – even though the artist’s story would require something else. You can leave that back-to-back action and activate it when the current hype starts to fade. Especially the new artist must take advantage all the moments in which awareness of their existence and music grows.
The same is true in another direction. If something makes the artist less attractive or lowers the number of listeners, there is no point in targeting energy. It is good idea to change the plan and focus on it elsewhere. The attention should be taken to the places where the artist and the artist’s story seem to be more interesting. It is important for the story to continue and never stop.
Hence, the story of the artist is the root theme – a stone-based designation to respond to everything around. On the other hand, it is also the popularity and the business that is built for that purpose. It is characteristic that it changes in the artist’s career at different stages.
Your story may require a disclosure of some matter. Even your own desires may require this. However, if events around it do not support that decision, it is worth moving to a better time. Some specific theme around the artist is always framed the most. Importing a new episode may mess up previous patterns and cause confusion. As a rule, one could say that a new season cannot start until the previous one has been exhausted. Strategically interesting is the moment when the artist moves forward in the story or changes the emphasis.
There are two things to follow in particular – the hit accuracy of your own feeds and what people are really interested in. This makes us wonder what the artistic freedom is and whether it always exists at all. Fully strategically, proper communication may turn into plastic if it is obediently followed. It is good to note that it is life that happens within all this – with all its mistakes, successes and failures. It is these distractions that make the story interesting and thus a success in achievement.
The artist’s story has many narrators, one of which is the audience. A good story begins to live a life of its own. The more popular the artist is, the more the artist usually has resources to invest in this task. If somebody else is writing your story, make sure you can bear it. The music industry is characterized by the fact that the story of the artist is told partly by other facets than the artist him- or herself. There are reasons for this. The artist is not always the best interpreter of his or her story. For example, in the contract negotiations, the subject matter and the essential things is often presented by the artist’s manager. Internal communication in the field is a completely different matter as it is to the public and media. Still it is about the same story. In these cases, the root story does not always play the main role. That’s why it is important that the management speaks on behalf of the artist in forums where other vital details of yours are to be expressed than the story itself. Skillful management can place the promoting and selling arguments so that the story of the artist does not suffer.
What I am trying to say – it is usually necessary to share experiences, feelings, and of course to promote oneself to get the answer. Some of these feeds have some cool lively stories, vitalizing elements. Others are again invented ideas and perceptions that are not fully thought out. It is important to understand that all those messages form the image that you give about yourself. In an ideal situation, it is balanced with your goals and takes into account your needs and aspirations at any given time. Sometimes it is not in harmony with your story. The harmony might get broken as a result of some external matter, your own actions or the reaction of the public.
Tracking and analyzing your own communication is a professional way to deal with it. A well-designed operation may fail completely. In this situation, your choices are often the cause. Once this unbalanced state is set to return, it is important to remain faithful to the root of the story, the idea that everything is based. It is usually about finding a new or alternative display to return the course. Anyway – the experience is the best teacher. The story tells you how to develop. Mistakes should not be frightened. In the era of electronic media, its communication can be quickly changed and repaired – it can also react quickly.
The artist’s story requires it to be told all the time while the artist’s career is at the active stage. Sometimes it is written by the artist, sometimes someone else. Other noteworthy things than what this article demonstrates are there. It would have, however, longed the already long article. The purpose was to bring perspectives on this constantly topical issue.
We had an interesting lecture on the strategic use of social media and the artist’s story at HEO on 23th of April. The first public lecture after the book release – yes it feels good again. The summer will be in the construction of a new book’s promotion. The Essence of the Music Business – Philosophy is scheduled for release in August. Lectures have been booked for the autumn season and more is coming. Some of these lectures are open to the public and will be further informed later.
There have been some inquiries whether I am doing any legal assignments. The answer is yes. The contacts are more than desirable – in other matters as well. I wish a joyful spring for everyone.
Footwork in this context does not mean the true meaning of the word – it is more of an association. Footwork is the easiest aspect to present as one of the most important phase of a career in the early stages. Footwork is synonymous with the responsibility of everyone their own career. In the music profession, the business of an artist is typically first a presentation, especially by the professional groups supporting the artist. There is nothing wrong with this technique, however such a presentation is likely to mislead people in terms of footwork, which is the artist’s own responsibility. Footwork entails things done by the artist themselves, either being onsite or otherwise ensuring that the project under construction is moving forwards. One important starting point to consider in the music business is that your dreams are yours – not anyone else’s. Generally, outsourcing is usually needed to achieve them – but not as a matter of course.
Professional thinking assumes that self-titular authorship manages its plot with the same intensity that the necessity of a task requires. It would be an ideal situation if that were the case. Everyone would simply choose their goals and concentrate their full energy and passion on it. Everyone would be well prepared and practiced in their skills so that they can respond to each request of help coming out of the box. With such an equation comes structural problems. It would require each participant to experience the operation as their own, with financial benefits. Only a real professional can concentrate and engage with the necessary care when dreams and work-related compensation are not met, which is perfectly understandable.
Hence, a professional thinking only dictates what should be done and whose responsibility it is. Because we all have our own dreams and goals, and we cannot always implement them ourselves, we must compromise and rely on the help of others. In this context, agreements will be entered into in exchange for these mutually important elements. As an example, an individual may be a social media master that with correctly timed operations and feeds that support the artist’s career, the artist and their existence may become quickly known to the general public. This requires continuous monitoring and analysis of input power. It is not enough for the first feeds to be done impressively, and then deteriorate, which is the most common mistake in this case. Another big mistake is to assume that an expert would willingly continue working without any incentives. It is quite possible that, without a reply, the aid provider sees no other possibility than to continue in other contexts than with thestory of the artist. Commitment is sometimes difficult to achieve when it comes to other peoples’ dreams. Each dream must be somehow included in each pattern of effort so that the goal of success is maintained throughout.
Most often this motivation is acquired with money. The obvious problem being that there is rarely enough capital at the beginning of a career. That support therefore needs to be acquired in some other way and when nothing large is on offer – you are not able ask a lot. The artist should also note that even a couple of unfinished projects can attract remarkable interest. Bringing the artist and their production to a point where it really begins to produce takes time and resources. Even though such cynicism is fortunately not always true, it should always be taken into account. At the time when there is nothing to offer to the public, projects cannot be left to someone else, at least not entirely.
At this stage it is good to return to the idea of your own responsibility. It is not realistic to expect anyone to do the lion’s share of the project if they are not entitled to a share of the resulting income. The previously mentioned master of social media showing their flavor through the production of an artist, combining their own personal motives – bringing the knowledge into a favorable environment and raising awareness to the public in a professional manner. Nothing prevents these ‘free employees’ from using their contribution as a springboard for their own personal dreams.
A social media master needs something that reflects his or her skills. This is also the case with other professional groups supporting the artist. In the music business, it is difficult to be a relevant factor without music and artists.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with this. The music industry’s livelihood is based on independence and free will. On the tactical side however, problems arise if the artist’s success counts on such cooperation. Thus if such an attempt to move forward fails, the artist will be in trouble.
The artist easily relies on those who provide feedback and encouragement. It is not uncommon at all for someone to comment on the first demos on a regular basis. Because industry circles are a difficult equation, or at least the belief is such, the artist can become locked in a challenging trap, both in fact and mentally. This should also be understood by professional groups that support the artist.
The person who evaluates the demos may actually be at a point in their career/situation where nothing available at that moment is interesting. From the artist’s point of view, one should consider whether such a person is the right person to give feedback in all matters. It is a completely different matter to give feedback from a general point of view compared to putting one’s own assets into a project. Such a situation, and especially the longer it continues, is bad for the artist – particularly in light of footwork. The artist likely goes astray wasting energy to assure the ‘feedback agent’ with a new demo. This kind of motivation may in turn make it harder to continue the work. It also excludes a lot of other options and closes other doors to the artist. The time that an artist should harness their social skills in other forums, is now wasted on this single judge’s opinion. Worst of all, it is perfectly possible that the recipient of your demos may one day find the artist/project he or she has been looking for and thereafter have little or no time and energy to provide even the slightest feedback.
These two situations are educational examples of what happens when footwork and self-responsibility fall short. It is completely polite to answer questions and give feedback, even though a commitment might not follow.
A man I did not always like told me to always trust your stomach. I cannot confirm the accuracy of that assertion but quite often in my own career it has held true. Not all people are meant for each other in such a delicate branch as the music business. The sooner this fact is accepted, the easier it is to move forward. The pursuit of a meaningful career can sometimes be in the midst of work and pain, and there are no shortcuts to it. You also have to remember that only a few compositions will last forever – people change. It is quite possible that some unexpected event might even bring you together with your worst enemy.
Artists must understand that some things must be done themselves, even if they have external help. The most effective artist organizations are when participants are aware of the special skills and available resources of each member. If a manager handles 70 percent – you should consider whether they can also handle the remaining 30. It just slows down the operation. The organization can find another operator who performs the task easier with less effort. For reasons of professionalism, it is not worth increasing the workload over resources – no matter what professional titles say. An artist’s affiliates tend to admire the artist’s organization as a whole – not always whom it belongs to. Such a thing may be left uninterrupted because other things are so well taken care of. An operator who is working hard to do something is not the person you want to blame.
Solidarity is good. Such implementation requires an open discussion. A group is may be unknowingly ignorant of the motivation and resources of the participants. Due to copyright, the artist and other copyright holders are ultimately held responsible for everything – whether these tasks are delegated or not. Many things are related to career advancement elsewhere and are often a prerequisite for success. Since the artist does not yet enjoy public awareness, it is difficult for an artist to make a break unless the matter is first presented to the public. The question is when you should seriously consider outsourcing activities and become lazy. The answer is certainly never – but the idea is clear. In an ideal situation, the artist’s organization would work in a differentiated manner, with each department performing in accordance with the artist’s wishes and instructions, so that the story of the artist remains consistent.
Let us consider a social media master getting hype in Australia with some ingenious post of his or hers. If the artist does not have anything more important on, the artist’s management should take advantage and already begin to make inquiries about a possible Australian visit, for example TV-shows and gigs. It is extremely important to take a stand whether the performances will promote the success the artist has achieved or something else, for example related to the initial hype created by the social media master. The answer to this lies in whether the artist takes part in the cost itself, or are they already aiming for an income stream when visiting. In general both occur, but in the first phase of promotion this decision is of great importance. Sometimes it is worth taking part in the costs yourself if the expectations are realistic or the visit otherwise fits the artist’s story. Quite often such a project is left unattended or is not even seriously considered, because the artist or management feels they don’t have the resources to make the vision possible. This is a big mistake. Simply emailing rarely leads to any desired outcome, but is preferable than doing nothing. A trip can be made at your own cost if it is expected to be favorable. The promotion of the artist is about reacting.
The main rule is that hype should be utilized, or at least the artist needs to become mobilized in some way. That moment will never return in the same way, and it only lasts a short time. A new artist needs a story and the audience’s interest is the best way to get people to listen it.
A horror scenario of this situation would leave the Australian hype situation totally ignored or not used to its full advantage. The resulting hype is mainly enjoyed by the band’s inner social circle and bragging to friends and domestic media. Perhaps the artist’s management comes to the conclusion that no visit should be made, which can be a sensible decision due to analyses showing resources and interest were in fact not sufficient to make the visit profitable. But let’s think about it from another point of view.
What if the artist had taken advantage of the Australian hype opportunity?
Let’s think about this matter from a passive situation. An artist’s actions should be internally aligned so that outsiders can also detect it, making it easier for people to contact the artist. Even if the artist has outsourced management, the artist’s website should also have the artist’s contact information, especially at the beginning of their career. This is not a no-confidence motion for management – it is just that contact may concern a variety of things and the artist should be aware of all possible contact opportunities. Hence, if the artist has reassigned operational responsibility too early, or is simply lazy and/or careless and ignores potential advantageous situations, many easy-to-follow or act-on things may be completely missed and not implemented.
In the situation where the artist is directly contactable, the Australian trip can be accomplished at a later date and the situation still be taken advantage of, even after the initial hype may have died down.
These situations tend to occur when the artist’s activities associate with economic value, or at least some kind of expectation value that the industry acknowledges. Before this, the artist does not want to make any far-reaching plans with anyone without justified grounds. It is also unwise to grant any rights at any level until it is clear that the music will be released and the organization is set up enabling passive income entry. Up to that moment the artist should be self-sufficient, even if supported by other people. Someone’s commitment cannot be defined if there is no guarantee of desired outcome, thus this is the period in which the participants are living in more or less uncertain circumstances.
The main rule here is that if you question whether something is being dealt with on time or proposals or initiatives are reaching the recipient, you should take care of primary contact yourself. During the time when no one has economic motives acting for the project, many things can be easily left untouched.
In the promotion of an artist, the most important thing is to connect the music with the artist, so people know who they are when they hear a song. The wider this knowledge spreads, the more successful the promotion. Footwork should not be stopped or neglected before this position is achieved. It is up to the artist, how they ensure this is happening, which also requires monitoring of the situation. Here we come to the area where the limits of responsibility for requesting and providing support are met. What is reasonable? When very strong commitment from others is awkward to expect, the artist should be mainly responsible for the progress of projects. It should also be noted that although the operation works together, the horizons are the combined personal goals of everyone involved. These are not always consistent even if cooperation has already begun, which is the reason why it is important to study the basics of the industry carefully. Then it becomes easier to evaluate what to expect from others and what to pay attention to when mapping the need of external assistance.
I want to tell you how I choose the contents of my books. There is a lot of literature on this subject, some of which are converging. It seems unnecessary to start dealing with these things with a great devotion because these subjects are already so well written. I leave some of the essential things to a lesser extent, but take the matter out. Instead, I try to bring my books to the situations where the most common problems occur. Surprisingly yes, they are pretty simple. We are dealing with the gap between theory and practice. It is often a question about experience and its amount. A few things can speak expertly, unless one has ever had one.
It can have an extensive knowledge of the industry, but ‘virginity’ is inscribed. This knowledge is not yet tested in practice. In accordance with this assumption, I try to bring readers to the situations where they most likely to end up with. It is my intention to confirm the information already available to them, but also to bring out the perspectives that are not immediately imminent.
Such a bi-directional rearrangement will help less experienced to get the basic knowledge of what you should at least know. On the other hand, it helps the more experienced to strengthen their own opinions on their own solutions. Behind the lines is therefore hidden a lot. I believe in learning by doing. Whenever one or two alarm clocks are entered in the text as it becomes appropriate, the reader will be able to evaluate their progress also in a busy schedule. That’s what this is all about.
It is completely different to do something for the first time as doing it a tenth time. It is also a different matter to be self-involved as to track the event from the page. In general, it is relatively easy to answer how a bid should be addressed. It sees it from the general level quickly, which conditions are appropriate and which ones do not. But when the same offer comes in a situation where you are responsible, it is not that easy. In such situation it will have to take a stand on the meaning of the agreement in many different dimensions. It will have to think about what the artist can do if she or he does not agree the offer. It will have to consider the consequences that will arise if one or more conditions are changed. It also has to consider the option of accepting an agreement as such, even if it may be possible for the artist to get a better offer next month. When your own contribution and related remuneration are added to calculation, we are already dealing with quite a large equation.
One task of the literature on this subject is to highlight the alternatives that would be available in that situation. However, it is not always advisable to copy all the solutions from the books, but to make your own applications. I try to include my books with the theme that enables the reader to reach essential points. Since there is so much information available about the subject, it is so easy to lose the story. There is no single correct decision, but every decision will have to take the responsibility. In some circumstances it may well be sensible to accept an unreasonably impressive condition if the contract otherwise balances this. In principle, however, it is not sensitive to act against the most influential laws in the field, such as transferring economic rights in the early stages of the career in exchange of having a bigger budget for the first album.
I usually highlight the situations that have repeated over years on several occasions. Even though the technology develops and, as such, issues change shape, it is often the same concern. From the side of the artist, they almost invariably return to their own freedom of choice and how to maintain it in a sensitive level. The artist has a dispositive power due to copyright for their own output. When it is meant to acquire a living, it is often necessary to transfer these rights. In order to succeed in that task, those rights must also allow to be engaged by other parties.
On the other hand, professional groups and businesses supporting the artist must be able to secure their share in the whole. Their rights, due to intellectual property rights, takes place behind the artist’s right. Since many sources of income in the industry allow accumulation of passiveincome, it is clear that rewards will be distributed in the long-term and with a delay. Well, intermediaries may change and often change during this progress. Here we come to the heart of the difficult matter. How long and how much the artist’s supportive action is relevant to justify the contribution from the artist’s rewards. Secondly, it is about the decision-making power as to how the related catalog should be organized if the parties are no longer in contact with each other.
Films provide a good and understandable example of this. Movie producers and its actors may set up a separate company for one movie only. When doing this movie, they work closely together. After the release and promotion, everyone continue their lives and work in other contexts. All the money produced by the film to its creators will be distributed in proportion to the shares that the parties have defined in their mutual agreement.
Almost every book of mine reflects on this problematic, at least in some respects. I believe that only internally strong organizations will endure a patina of time. If it is clear in advance that this will not happen, this should also be reflected in the artist’s actions and plans. Knowing to lock at the right time and knowing to keep the options open is a difficult equation to implement. I try to encourage everyone to make their own position first, but also to listen to more experienced people. In the next book, the same subject will be presented in another perspective. However, I will endeavor to take account of the issues already discussed when presenting a new one.
The Essence of the Music Business – Contracts has been published. The book is available at least from the following Distributors. More is coming and each Amazon Unit has a book in its catalog. You can also purchase the book from Google Play.
Here is the article on the transferred rights and contract types that I promised. During this holiday, I had just enough time to finish the text. This article continues in the next section with passive income and how the different contract types and transfer of rights are economically linked to it.
The artist has often no choice but to transfer some of the rights that are originally belonged to them in the pursuit of their business goals. In the implementation and organization of their business, the artist management (whether or not outsourced) is a responsible player in relation to granting the rights, or licensing of them. If the artist is not thinking to handle everything themselves, is the artist most likely to deal at least with the record companies, music publishers and booking agencies.
For the sake of clarity, the artists also work effectively in other relevant business areas, such as new media (ringtones etc.), sponsorship, and merchandising. However, in these business areas, there is no such solid linkage or great influence on the core business of the artist that it would require a great attention in this article.
This article is about assigning, granting or transferring the rights which term it then wants to use. The essential aspect of this action is its impact on the artist’s private life, decision-making power and economic conditions. Each transfer of rights restricts the artist’s position to some extent. The artist, though, should receive a financial compensation from certain admission. The transfer of rights is an important trading instrument for implementing the artist’s business and career plans. What they are searching for these interest groups is often capital, infrastructure and strategic know-how.
The artist management’s mission is to create and develop the artist’s business so that it serves the needs and the goals of the artist. The artist’s merchandise for all this is the attraction of one’s own pre-essence, the performances both live and a recording, and of course the music behind the performances. All of these activities are associated with the copyright dimension. This means that the factors of production require the artist’s consent to allow the manufacture of products. It is a completely an articulate matter, in which all the music business areas the artist has activities and aspirations.
Because the success of the artist cannot be predicted very well, it must be careful when it comes to assignment of rights. The content, strength, or the scope of these granted rights is of great importance in assessing the motives and commitment of each interest group or a partner that the artist would like to have. To counterbalance the transfer of rights, it would be good to have a margin, something in return. The transfer of rights, thus, must never be free of charge. The artist’s business plan and current popularity is the source that tells you what rights are relevant and which should be excluded. The main rule could be that no rights should be granted for any kind of void action, just as an option without the implementers.
The rights to be transferred are either fixed term, indefinite or permanent. The most intense right relates to music publishing, whose value as merchandise is superfluous to cover up. The right of the publisher is identical to that of the author (song-writer) – the copyright will continue to protect the compositions at least for seventy years beyond the life of the author. The publisher’s right is not an original as the author’s, but a derivative. It is generated by the correctly signed music publishing contract. This agreement transfers to the music publisher significant rights – originally belonged to the authors themselves. The contract does not restrict the artist, therefore, only for the duration, but also in fact. In order to be justified, the artist has to in some way make sure that the publisher makes its own contribution to the fact that the value of the relevant catalog increases as substantively as in the case of income streams. Otherwise the music publishing agreement is difficult to justify. The music publishing agreement entitles the publisher to as much as 50 percent of the copyright-related revenue of the songs. It should also be noted that the termination of the music publishing contract does not end the rights of the publisher to those songs that have been included as a part of the contract during the term of the agreement. Even if the active part of the parties’ agreement is terminated, the relevant rights of the publisher will remain in force.
A similar permanent right is also associated with the recording agreements. In these contexts, however, the right is far more limited and does not restrict the artist’s freedom of action to the same extent. In these contexts, the permanent rights relate to the phonograms and other recorded material that the artist has recorded to the company during the term of the contract. The record company obtains, under the terms of the agreement, and effectively by acting as a financial producer of the phonogram, the status of the producer which entitles the producer`s right to the legitimate period of protection. The record company usually receives the decision-making power over the phonogram as well as the music publisher gets with the music publishing contract.
This, however, affects the artist’s circumstances mainly through the possible non-competition clause of the agreement. In general, the artist is required not to record any songs that the artist has recorded for the company during the validity of the recording contract. The protection period is, according to established practice, five years. So nothing prevents the artist from recording the same tracks as in new versions, as long as five years have elapsed since the end of the contract. Such a ban aims at enabling the company to obtain a motivational exploitation right of the financial investment they have made. In this case, the artist does not have the same financial impact as in the case of the music publishing agreement. The company is required to pay royalty after the term of the contract as defined in the contract. The artist will not be left without compensation during the validity of this restriction. In the music publishing contract, the publisher does not perform anything for the artist, but becomes a part of the copyright revenue generated by the songs of the artist.
In two of the above examples, we are dealing with two fundamental concepts, a song and its performance. These two concepts must never be confused with each other. This is also the point where we get to the topic of this article. The term of the music publishing contract is not a synonymous for the terminology of the recording contract. Yet these two things are closely related. In case where the music publishing agreement concerns songs, the recording contract is in connection with the performance. The object of protection is therefore different aspects of the same thing. For those artists, who also perform the music they have made, this division is extremely important.
In addition to permanent rights, the artist transfers also fixed-term rights in order to implement their business plan. For example, the booking agreement gives the agency a right to convey performances to the extent specified in the contract. As has already been mentioned, the transfer of rights is often long-term, geographically broad and exclusive. As we can see, the artist has to deal with the contracts in several interconnected business areas at the same time. This uncertain situation will cause a headache while networking of contracts. The artist’s business areas are closely tied together. If some of the sub-areas do not function properly, it has effects on other the areas as well. It is therefore reasonable to have different exits in view of this opportunity. The artist is certainly not happy with the situation where the performances would be and records will sell, but the performances will not be on the calendar for some reason or another. If the situation is that the artist cannot match the current demand or demand is not even attempted to create, the artist will not want to adhere to a contract that, through exclusivity, prevents them from acquiring performances elsewhere. The same applies to other business areas’ contracts. Each agreement should have a future exit, if the parties intensify so that co-operation is no longer possible, or cooperation simply does not work. This is an expression of why each transfer of rights should be conditional, if only possible.
When designing the artist’s business plan, the risk management is extremely important. Where the business plan focuses on the maintenance and improvement of economic activity or earnings, the agreements are more concerned with the possibility that things will not go as planned. Therefore, mixed-type contracts should be avoided. It is not uncommon for the contracts to be negotiated enthusiastic about designing co-operation over the traditional business bargains. Where the artist’s interest groups (record companies, music publishers, booking agencies, external financiers, merchandising holders etc.) have a willingness to participate in the artist’s business in other areas than which is their heartland of competence, the artist may have a need to engage in motivated partners in all relevant areas. In an ideal situation, everything would remain in the hands of a competent, committed and trusted group, and there would be no disagreement between people over time. But this is rarely the case. It requires no more than one key player to change the organization, industry, or retirement and the whole operation gets a whole new direction.
Everything in the midst of the hurry easily forgets what this is all about. Due to the copyright dimension, it is about the transferring the rights of the artist and the consideration paid to the artist for these assignments. Each business area needs to be organized separately, even if the same operators take care of them. Every business area must also considerate as a separate unit. They must not be dependent on each other because the artist does not always grant equal rights to all their business areas or the reciprocal obligations are not at the same level.
Respect for the contract-type boundaries will come out well in the following example. The parties can make a very detailed contribution to the content of their cooperation. In such a situation, the parties will almost certainly have to resort to the basis and structure of a type of the contract that the industry is familiar with. If the agreement with the terms of the agreement resembles a recording contract, it will automatically become an impression of the exclusive right that is usually dealt with in that kind of contract. This makes it easy to imagine that the agreement will in other respects also be exclusive and constitutional. There is nothing wrong with this, if that really is the case. But if the parties have meant something else, it is not worth considering such an agreement. If the agreement refers to music publishing-related activities, it is already in dangerous waters. Even if the copyright is not in principle possible to transfer with the tacit approval, but with the express consent, it is still a risk. Terms of the music publishing agreement in a recording contract are incorrectly used in full code red. Any suggestion of the music publishing should not be conveyed to the impression that the artist, while entering into some agreement, also includes the music publishing rights. This is one more reason why each business are should have a separate agreement and a separate exit, says the business plan between the parties then whatever.
When you grant the rights originally belonging to you, do not grant them more broadly than the relevant business plan requires. Never give up rights unconditionally. If the promised performance of the counter party falls short, you must have a chance to react. With the utmost care you should be with the music publishing contracts, as they are final. Each song that is considered to be a part of the agreement under the music publishing agreement will give the publisher the status of the publisher and generally entitles them to administrate the songs and to receive 50 percent of the copyrighted turnover.
No matter how enthusiastic you are from a new partner, do not mix plans and agreements with each other. The terminology that goes beyond each business areas is to be critically addressed. This avoids imaginations that could infer that the rights would be extended more broadly than the original purpose. The same applies to the options. To be justified, the benefit of the option to the artist should be in some way realistic. If the artist agrees on an option that goes beyond the resources and willingness of the partner, the artist’s career in this regard may be stuck. Indeed, without the consent of the existing option-holder, the artist is unable to progress in these areas with potential other partners if the option is exclusive.
Mixed-type contracts can also pose problems in very good relationships. The management agreement between the parties may work flawlessly, but the prospective cooperation in production precipitates. If the agreement is principally in the exclusive domain, the productive parts of it may also be considered as exclusive. In such an imbalance, the management party hardly hesitates to withdraw from the production side of the plot, but if the disputes for some reason will arise, the contract and its contents will certainly have to interpret. Although some of the examples in this article are far-fetched, it is sensitive to keep contracts apart – even for the own peace of mind. When the unadjusted parts of any cooperation are easily removed, and no such confusion prevents going, it is easier to plan future.
The purpose of this article is not to comment on how the artist should organize their background organization and business. The purpose of this article is to clarify the significance and motives of granting rights. It is also important to understand that they not identical in all areas of activity. The artist’s business plan lives with a changing popularity. A joint business plan and the drawn up agreements should safeguard the position of all the involved so that it is able to focus on the essentials. If the parties have chosen a cooperating model in which, for example, the other party to the contract carries out both the artist management and the actual booking, each task has to be the subject of a different contract. If the management decides at some point to abandon the booking, or booking the management, this part is will be easier to unload and continue on what the remaining cooperation is going to be. If the artist’s record company and the music publisher are the same, then these issues should not be agreed upon in one agreement only. If such a crazysituation has happened, a special attention must be paid to the assignment and the determination of publishing rights. Particular attention must be paid to the ability of artist to change the record company or terminate the agreement. If the publishing rights are tied to the recording agreement between the parties, the publishing part of the agreement should also be terminated to that extent. Consequently, only those artist’s songs that are recorded by the artist during the validity of the contract could then include the publishing right. All new songs from the artist are no longer included in the same catalog. If the artist has entered into a house-writing agreement in connection with the recording contract, extends such a right to any material that the artist has created during the term of the recording contract. Where the publishing right of the previous example is tied to the albums actually recorded by the artist and their content, such a house-writing element makes it a vaguely challenging combination. At the end of the contract, it is difficult to decide which of the songs are covered by the publishing right or whether they are all included at all.
The main rule is that if the rights are to be transferred, they should be granted as narrowly as possible. These rights can always be expanded in the future, if there is a reason to do so. However, the artist is the party who needs proof that there is economic justification for each transfer of rights. The other half of the artist’s freedom is the exits. Although the music industry contracts are often long-lasting and include options, there must always be exits against them. The artist has to get rid of the contracts if the business plans behind them do not correspond to the reality.