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Recording Contracts Can Be Confusing By: Ty Cohen

Over the next few minutes, we are going to review three important areas that you might find covered in recording contracts. Recording contracts can be quite overwhelming, especially if you have had no experience with them. You will find that they are lengthy and extremely detailed. They cover many areas and these are just to name a few, the word record, term and option. The actual word “record” in the music business has many meanings in relation to music contracts. It covers any audio recording device such as CDs, cassettes, vinyl records and any audiovisual devices like laser discs and videocassettes. Fortunately, all new technology that comes out on the market should be included under this definition as well. Then you are going to have your options. Options are defined as rights granted to the company to buy your albums and produce within a certain timeframe. Options, as with most aspects of recording contracts are irreversible from your side of the deal. But unfortunately, the record label is not required to use them. This basically keeps you with this company for as long as they want you to be there and truthfully that is only as long as you are successful. If you are successful then the company will continue to exercise those options. If you are unsuccessful, the label will then allow the music business contract to expire. Lastly, you have your term of contract which refers to the length. This is not typically measured in years in the industry. Instead, term is measured by album production periods. This way, the contract remains valid until the final album is completed. Let’s say your commitment album is the first one in your recording contract and then you have four to five additional options and then your final. This means you will be with the label until the last record is complete, if they are satisfied with your work. If for some reason the company isn’t satisfied, then your music contract could be up after the first album. This seems unfortunate for the artist but business is business, especially when is comes to music business contracts and the music biz. Also, keep in mind that some contracts require records to be recorded and released within certain time frames or you could be released from your music contract for being late. Recording contracts are some artist’s dream but always keep in mind that the music biz requires hard work and absolute dedication. About the Author: Ty Cohen, the online music industry's most recognizable voice is the former owner of a successful independent record label, current owner of Platinum Millennium publishing and nation-wide music industry seminar speaker and panelist. He is also the author and creator of over 40 best-selling music business books, reports, courses, audio products and other music industry "How to" resources, that have helped tens of thousands of individuals like you to successfully find their way in the music business. Visit for more information on music contracts, recording contracts & music business contracts.