Imagine this, your band is supposed to perform at a private function. You and your group have been practicing throughout the week for this gig. Suddenly, the event is canceled. Unless you have a music performance contract in hand, you probably won’t receive any payment.
Remember Murphy’s Law? “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” As a bandleader, you can beat Murphy’s law by having a signed music performance contract. It helps both parties to understand each other’s responsibilities for any unforeseen situation. Having a signed contract in place will ensure you and your band members get paid and eliminate problems, rain or shine.
What is in a music performance contract? I’ll touch on this topic shortly. First…
Who Needs a Music Performance Contract?
It takes two to tango when it comes to signing a performance contract. In this case, the two parties involved are:
- The organization or the club owner that hires you is the “Purchaser.”
- The bandleader, band, or musician is the “Artist.”
Once the Purchaser reaches out to hire a band for a show, they should agree and sign this document. The Artist, usually the bandleader, can then prepare the group for the performance. They will know upfront the details of the gig, plus how and when the “Purchaser” will pay.
A contract should spell out the what-ifs for both sides, such as no shows, cancellations, and other issues that could happen. Check out Why Use A Music Performance Contract for more information.
Always Include These Elements to Your Music Contract
Try to keep your contract as simple as possible while still protecting your interests. As your band and venues grow, you’ll need to expand the agreement to cover contingencies that you may not need when you’re just starting.
Here are the essential elements you need in your performance contract.
Name and Contact Information of Both Parties
You’ll want to use legal names, not stage names here. Fill in complete street addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. You want as much contact information about the other party as you can. In most jurisdictions, a contract is not considered legal unless there is a complete address for both parties, so don’t skip over this step. An email address doesn’t cut it!
Description of the Venue Services
This element includes all the venue information such as the location, the venue’s name, the date and time of the performance.
Performance of Services
This section covers the details of the band’s performance. Items to include are:
- The number of musicians
- The number and length of sets
- Requirements for stage, sound, and lighting
- Any extra equipment or people such as a sound technician
Here’s where you define the amount of pay for the performance, when you get paid, and the payment method.
For established bands with regular gigs, asking for a deposit is standard practice. Typically, the deposit is non-refundable but deducted from the total balance after the performance. In this case, “non-refundable” means that in the event of a cancellation, the deposit amount will not be returned. It is common for deposit amounts to equal 25-50% of the total contract amount.
Questions to address here are:
- What is the minimum notice for a cancellation?
- What if the venue cancels, will the band receive the full amount of the gig?
- What if the band cancels?
Terms of the Contract
Set up terms and options for repeat and ongoing performances.
Relationship of Parties
The relationship section is legal jargon describing the “Artist” is not an employee of the “Purchaser.” The reason for this clause is to prevent liability issues.
This clause is a legal term for “superior force” or unavoidable accident. It’s the section of a contract that relieves both parties in the event of a natural catastrophe, like a flood or tornado, that’s not anyone’s fault.
Filling out a contract with these sections and elements will give you a solid deal that will hold up in your area. Make sure you have it reviewed by an attorney who understands entertainment law.
Download this music performance contract template below to get you started. We have included a travel clause which you can remove if it’s not applicable.
Sample Music Performance Contract
An Easy-to-Use Performance Contract for Your Band
You can copy and paste the music performance contract template from our Google Doc above to get a contract setup for your band or you can search online for a band performance contract template.
But we have a better solution!
Back On Stage is a comprehensive web app for bands, bandleaders and musicians that empowers event bands to book more gigs in minutes instead of hours.
One of the ways it does this is by automating the contract process. It integrates the built-in band performance agreement with the CRM and apps you need to run your band. Once you have all your musicians and client information in the system, you can create a customized performance contract in just a few clicks. The app automates the process by filling in most of the information in the contract and invoices.
Every band should use a contract to ensure they get paid for their gigs. Back On Stage makes it simpler than ever to create a professional music performance contract from any device.