If you are planning a live music event you will need to make sure you have a contract in place with the performers. This is especially important if you have a financial stake in the event and are inviting paying customers. You need to make sure you have a written guarantee that the cover band will attend the engagement and what is expected from both parties. There may be occasions with local function bands where a contract is not needed. Sometimes an email confirmation may be enough if you know of the act.
If you do go down the contract route the live band may issue you a standard contract with their terms. These are available from the Musicians Union and are very simple straightforward contracts. It will usually include as a minimum the date and time of the engagement, the location, fee and duration of the performance. More in depth contracts may include who is responsible to providing equipment such as staging and PA systems. Some cover bands will be paid a set fee for the gig and other larger acts may ask for a percentage of ticket sales as well. This is something that should be negotiated early on.
If the band has an agent the contract may also include the percentage that is payable to the entertainment agent and payment terms. Sometimes it is much easier dealing with a music agent as they can offer advice and guidance. Remember however that an agent is not a legal representative and will not be able to offer you legal advice. Even if they did you are entering into a contract with them so they would be the last person you want to take legal advice from!
It is not usually necessary to take legal advice unless the contract is complex. Then you should approach a music industry lawyer to look at it for you. Usually though you can review it yourself. Some live bands also have what is known as a performance rider. This will set out what the band requires in terms of accommodation, refreshments etc…
Performance contracts are commonplace and not something you should be afraid of. After all it helps secure your position and gives you some comeback should you need it. Contracts are in place to set out clearly who is responsible for what so that there is not ambiguity. After all the music business is a business much like any other .
For more music industry advice visit the Music Live Blog.