Do I Need A Music Lawyer?

Some of the best advice to give a person/band desiring a career in the music business is to hire a music lawyer.

After that advice, the next question is “when.” When do I need to hire the music attorney?

Before you call a music lawyer, Tamera recommends you read one or more books related to your career in the music business.  Click here for Tamera’s recommended reading selection.

After you finish your reading homework, when to visit and/or hire a music lawyer really does vary from situation to situation.

I am a Songwriter:

  1. If you are a songwriter, you probably do not need an attorney until you have a contract from someone wanting you to assign your copyright or to license your song.
  2. Music lawyer Tamera Bennett typically is retained when a collaboration agreement, copyright assignment, single song agreement,  exclusive songwriter agreement, or synchronization license has been presented to a songwriter or music publisher.

I am a Recording Artist, Band, Producer:

  1. If you are a recording artist, band or producer you probably do not need an attorney until you are playing frequent gigs and have a “buzz.”
  2. As with songwriters, Tamera has found she can best assist artists/bands/producers when a contract is already on the table.  It may be time to call in a music attorney when you are presented with a management agreement, a shopping agreement, a production agreement, or record deal.
  3. Keep in mind that a band should typically seek legal advice early on so that a band agreement, partnership agreement and/or formal business entity can be established to spell-out the rights and obligations of the band members.

Can you Pitch my songs?
Most music business books recommend artists and songwriters hire a lawyer to pitch their demos to help secure a songwriter’s agreement or a record deal.  That is great advice, but you really want to make sure the attorney you use has the contacts you need in your specific genre.  As an example, an attorney with contacts in the country market may not be the best fit for a Rap artist.  Tamera’s practice is focused on guiding clients through the music business legal maze so at this time she does not provide pitching as part of her client services.

I want to know how to get started in the music business and protect my songs?
Tamera is often contacted by musicians and artists with questions on how to get started in a music business career, what mistakes to avoid, and how to protect songs, beats, master recordings.  Tamera has found musicians/songwriters receive a greater benefit by reading Tamera’s blog post here for links and information on how to get started in the music business than by scheduling a consultation too early in their career.  Tamera also highly recommends you read at least one of the music business books listed here before you contact a music lawyer.

What if I get sued?
If you think you need to sue somebody or you have been sued, you need to immediately contact a litigation attorney that is familiar with music business issues.  You typically want to hire a litigator that is located in the county where the lawsuit is filed, or an adjacent county.  Tamera helps clients with transactional/contractual matters, but she will provide you names of litigation attorneys that may be of assistance.

Is there a Consultation Fee?
Different attorneys and law firms have varying policies on the fee that may be charged for a consultation.  Whether or not a consultation is charged may also depend on the region of the country where you are located and is typically a business management determination made by the law firm.  A lawyer having or not having a consult fee is not a reflection on the quality of services you will receive.  At this time the Bennett Law Office firm policy is to charge a reasonable consultation fee.


2 responses to “Do I Need A Music Lawyer?

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