In any business, you need connections and industry knowledge! The music business is no exception!
So, sharing this info with you is our way of giving you that little bit of extra knowledge and a couple more connections – TO HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS!
Those who get to spend their days being creative and indulging in their passion for music or arts are really… blessed! And you probably understand that music matters, but we still suggest you have a look at this great initiative coming out of the UK: Why Music Matters.
Creativity and music make our lives better. Imagine a day with no music in that café or tunes playing while you work or jingle in the background. So, it’s only fair that artists and musicians are compensated for their contribution, like everyone else who works hard. The best way to make sure you can continue being an artist (and preferably not the starving kind!) is to be a bit savvy and understand that you are offering a service, creating a product and running a business… and approach it in that way.
So many artists I’ve worked with over the years (and, yes, I’ve been a working artist myself) have an aversion to the business side and I’ve heard things like ‘I don’t want to lose my art for money’ or ‘that’s not what I’m good at’ and plenty of other versions of that. Basically, because it’s probably not your motivation, maybe you even hope ‘it will just work itself out’ or ‘it won’t be an issue’. Nobody wants to put a lot of work into something, just to find it’s being stolen. So, if you want to spend your days doing the things that motivate you the most – Performing! and making Music! Films! Art!- then a little planning and knowledge can go a long way to helping you be successful doing just that, and living your passion.
I am Kayte Lewis and I am one of the directors of Maniac Music Factory. I am also an entertainment lawyer with Chris Chow Creative Lawyers, based in Sydney, Australia, and I’ve worked in the creative industries for over 25 years.
When running a business in the music industry, especially as a musician, the first and most important principle to understand is copyright. If you create something and you take the time, and put in the work, to ‘put it down’ in some way, then you automatically own the copyright in Australia (and many other countries!). It’s free – there’s nothing you have to do – it’s just yours. You can sell it, license it and make money from it. That’s why copyright was created – to encourage you to create and contribute your ideas to society in a way that lets you make a living from it. There’s some great information at the Australian Copyright Council’s website.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property. If you want to know more about other forms of intellectual property (like trade marks) and how to make money out of IP, you might also want to check out IP Australia.
Copyright (and IP) can become a little tricky when you start to work with others… and most artists I know love to collaborate… after all, some of the best work comes from collaborating. But things can get messy if they don’t work out, and as that old song says… breaking up is hard to do! Putting in writing who owns what and what happens if, say, your band breaks up, can be incredibly valuable when the ‘breaking up’ has to happen. For example, if you’ve already got a band agreement in place and kept notes about who wrote what and when, then – like any divorce – it can be a whole lot easier to separate and keep the benefit of your share of the work that you’ve put in. My colleague, Chris Chow, has put together a few handy tips, 101 style, for the Telstra Road to Discovery website setting out a few points bands should consider when working together or forming a band.
There’s actually a lot of great info on the Telstra Road to Discovery website!
To ensure the best success I was given some great advice once – “start out as you intend to proceed”. Basically, this means just put a few things in place, then focus on what you do best… being creative. If we can help you do that, then give us a call or shoot us an email.
At Chris Chow Creative Lawyers typically we: draft, advise on and negotiate agreements in the entertainment and creative industries. In the music industry, we commonly assist with recording, publishing, management, distribution and producer agreements as well as synchronisation and master licences, co-writer agreements, band partnership agreements, endorsement deals and dispute settlement deeds. A large component of our work is helping clients understand their contractual rights and responsibilities – and the law. As well as this, the firm is all about helping negotiate the best possible outcome for our clients.
If you need a hand then the best contact for me is [email protected].