Every up and coming artiste who can’t sponsor his/her music career seeks a recording deal. A recording deal that will cover the costs of production, promotion, video shoot, etc. might sound like a saviour to one who believes that they can’t’ ’break in’’ to the mainstream on their funds. However, these days I’d advise any up and coming to push themselves as far as they can through personal funds, lots of collaboration, networking, etc. so that they can leverage better when a deal comes knocking on their doors. Now, let’s look at some definitions of what a recording deal is below;

According to Wikipedia, a recording contract (commonly called a record contract or record deal) is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artiste (or group), where the artiste makes a record (or series of records) for the label to sell and promote. LawDepot defines a recording contract, or a record deal as an agreement that record labels use to assert their ownership of the product of a recording session (the master recording) and their licensing rights in the promotion of the record. Having understood the literal definition of our topic, our next unbundling of knowledge are the types of deals available to an unsigned artiste.

Some of the most common types of deals that are obtainable in the industry are:

1) The Exclusive Recording Contract:

This is a type of contract where an artiste signs to a label for a certain term to exclusively produce a certain number of master recordings which will be summed up as an album. Such deals comes with an advance or sign up fee which is recoupable upon album sales, licensing, publishing etc. In this kinda deal, the label doesn’t exploit other commercial avenues of the artiste as their revenue generation is stricto sensu from the master recordings.

2) The 360 deals:

A 360 deal as the name implies is a deal which covers all potential commercial avenues that an artiste can earn. It includes the regular streams like album sales, publishing in addition to streams like merchandising, live appearances, endorsements, etc. This type of deal is premised on the grounds that if a record label can break an artiste into main stream, then they should be entitled to some percentage off the revenue from that talent. Also, this type of deals helps labels recoup their advances if an album doesn’t do well in the market due to reasons like piracy which is plaguing the Cameroon music scene.

3) The Singles Deal:

The singles deal is fast becoming a norm because of how albums are slowly fading and labels are trying to risk wisely. The deal is one whereby the label agrees to fund a number of singles from the artiste before they sign the artiste. It could be to see how the artiste improves over time before they are totally convinced that he is a good investment.

4) Ep Deal:

The label unsure of an artiste can decide to promote and distribute the artiste’s Ep. Upon the success of the Ep, the label may decide to then officially offer an exclusive deal or something much bigger to the artiste.

Certainly, more types of deals can be found in the music industry but the above four are prevalent. They should however suit your career. Also, endeavour you have an experienced entertainment lawyer who can guide you and advise on what’s best or suits your career.

Keep a date with me as I take you on the essentials of a music deal on my next article.

Culled from Henry Ezikeoha

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a practicing lawyer. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced entertainment lawyer. 

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