Dear Record Label: What Legal Pointers Should I Know Before Getting Into the Music Business with My Bandmates?

In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.

In this series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.

This week, the advice comes from Roadrunner Records Senior Director of New Business Development Dan Goldberg.

Q: What various legal pointers should I want to know before getting involved in the music business with bandmates? (ie. If more than one person is given songwriting credits, then the song in question can only be used for promotional purposes if both parties agree.)

DAN GOLDBERG: It’s definitely a good idea for band mates to lay out their obligations and applicable profit splits for various streams. This can be achieved by a relatively simple internal agreement among the members of the band. In regards to songwriting credits/splits, this varies amongst writers and is often taken by a case-by-case basis. For instance, one approach is where all band members are guaranteed a minimum songwriter's share per track irrespective of whether they’ve actually contributed. Other bands decided to share everything equally, while finally other bands assign a songwriter's share based on who actually wrote what amount. It’s a good idea for bands to discuss this early and often, as it’s an area that can often lead to many disputes and problems.

If you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!

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