Recording Contracts #1

The first thing to note, by way of an introduction to recording contracts is that a contract is an agreement between two or more parties. It represents a meeting of minds on the features of a relationship that they want to have for mutual benefit.

It is designed and intended to establish the obligations and rights that flow from this meeting of minds, and an intention to work together in some way to produce a desired objective. The purpose of the contract, the document, is to bind and benefit the parties so that there is no dispute down the road on the various aspects that colour the relationship. In short, it is the rule book for the relationship.

The contract will also provide for what happens when the relationship comes to an end, for whatever reason. A pre-nuptial contract operates in precisely the same way – and has the same dangers lurking from its genesis. Things are all lovey-dovey when a pre-nuptial contract is signed, but it is intended to cater for the situation when the parties (to the marriage) are likely at each other’s throats.  So, really, it must be approached with this in mind, unpalatable though it will be for the star-crossed lovers whose day marking the commencement of everlasting bliss is fast approaching.

The upshot of this is that parties can agree what they want to agree.  There is no clause or provision that must be in the contract, and don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise.

Oh, to be sure, certain provisions are advisable, recommended, and you might be stupid not to have them incorporated, simply to protect your own rights and interests. There may be certain contracts that have formalities; they must be in writing – the sale of land, for example. Furthermore, as is described in Owning Copyright, these contracts must be signed by or on behalf of the parties. But these are formalities, and do not relate to the substance of what is being agreed by the parties – although, if the formality is required by law, then there will be no contract at all, whatever its substance, if the stipulated formalities are not complied with.

It is important to understand this when you are presented with a contract – whether by a record label, manager, agent, whoever!!