by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec
Before signing a record contract with a major record company or an indie, every performer must know the answers to the following questions.

1. Time Limit: How long will the contract last?

2. Options: How many times may the contract be renewed, for how long, and by whom?

3. Recordings and Releases: How many sides will a performer record, and does the record company have to release the finished recordings commercially?

4. Royalty Clauses: How much money does an artist receive from the sale of singles, albums, cassettes, CDs, downloads, and videos?

5. Reduced Royalty Clauses: How much does an artist receive for sales in foreign countries, record club or television album collections, radio station promotional copies, and low-priced budget albums and new technology?

6. Record Company Deductions from a Performer's Royalties: What expenses do record companies deduct from a performer's earnings?

7. Costs of Packaging a CD, Tape, or Other Recording: How much money do record companies deduct from an artist's royalties for the cost of album covers, special inserts, download services, and tape, CD, DualDisc, or video containers?

8. Free or Discount Recordings: How many recordings can a company give away for free or at a discount without paying royalties to the artist?

9. The Recording Artist as a Songwriter: Do record companies pay lower songwriter royalties to artists who perform their own songs? Can a million-seller or successful "best hits" album mean financial disaster to a writer/performer if other songwriters on the album don't agree to reduce their writer and publisher royalties?

10. Foreign Releases: After the album is released in the United States, is there a guarantee that it will also be released in foreign countries?

11. New Technology Formats: What type of royalty reductions occur when a record company releases a recording via a new technology format?

12. Videos: Will the record company produce a video of each single from the album? How much is the record company obligated to spend?

13. Audits: What rights does the artist have to audit the record company's books to check sales and royalty figures?

14. Tour Support: How do record companies handle the all important issue of tour support when the performer is on the road and who really pays in the end?

15. Advertising, Marketing And Promotion Support: What type of guarantees can you get that the record company will commit monies to marketing and publicizing the performer and the album?

16. Web Sites: Who owns the artist's Web site?

© 2006 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec

This article is based on information contained in the new, revised paperback edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Industry" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).

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