What does signing to a non-exclusive deal mean? One question has come up consistently over the years when my artist friends come across a company using the term “…represented on a non-exclusive basis…” At first they think “Score! Someone’s going to put my music on TV and I get to keep my all my rights!” But hold on - it’s important to understand more about this situation.
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Entries in agreements (2)
Many musicians feel like the band they are in is destined for success and that the group will never break up. Even after being a part of a number of bands, there is still that glimmer of hope—which is not a bad thing, but often times it can set you up for problems further down the road. Imagine that things are really starting to take off, money is coming in, you have forward motion and momentum. At this point, things feel good, everyone is happy, decisions are made fast, and quite possibly, never formalized in writing.
Now fast forward two years. For some reason, whatever reason, someone is leaving. The band is breaking up. If there was already fighting going on, it escalates: arguments over who gets what, who is owed what, and who has rights to what. Everything is twice as challenging and twice as hard. In a lot of cases, people hate each other, the fights get louder and harsher. This is not an atmosphere in which any equitable decisions can made.
It really comes down to a very simple solution: In the early stages, while the band is new, while things are getting ready to happen, and most of all while everyone is happy and friendly, work to set up your end agreements then.
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(Updated November 2, 2013)