Skip to main content

HELP I need to release a artist from my record company roster, but need to understand this contract terms?

Saginaw, MI |

Before I can release the artist I need to clarify the contract. First, under "Termination" states "Either party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement due to the operation of ARTIST not fulfilling any portion of ARTIST Minimum Recording Obligation or/and COMPANY not fulfilling any portion of COMPANY recording, manufacturing, distributing and sale of ARTIST Phonographic Master Recording but shall not affect both Parties to receive, or obligation to pay, any and all compensation and rights provided for under this agreement".
Does this mean if my company terminate the agreement, my company pays the artist out of the Agreement?
Or if the artist terminates the agreement, my company can hold on to the artist professional name (stage name) until the Masters are rendered by artist?

Also under "Warranties And Performance Obligation" section 4.(II).(B) states "ARTIST shall not thereafter use the professional name in any commercial or artistic endeavor; said professional name shall remain for all purpose the sole property of ARTIST who continue to record for COMPANY and perform ARTIST obligations under this Agreement". So does this mean that my company can deem any other companies or persons from using the stage name until the 3 Master Recordings is submitted by artist?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    If you are quoting directly from the contract, it sounds like you have a very confusing & possibly badly drafted contract. In my experience, this is probably because the person who wrote it is either a non-lawyer trying to sound like a lawyer or a lawyer who is using a form he/she got from somewhere else & doesn't really understand.

    It sounds like the first provision is simply saying that either side can terminate the contract if the other side fails to live up to their obligations, but once terminated the company would still have to pay the artist any money due from exploiting the artist's songs.

    Re: use of the stage name, that language you quoted is very confusing. Typically, I think it is very unusual for a label to keep rights in an artist's stage name - unless it is the name of a band that the company created and the artist being released is only one member of the band AND the rest of the band is remaining under contract to the label.

    You really need to consult an experienced music attorney to look at your actual contract & to make sure you terminate the artist properly. Good luck.

    Please note that this answer should not be considered "legal advice" and no attorney-client relationship is formed by answering this question. You should hire an attorney licensed in your state and familiar with the relevant areas of the law to conduct an analysis of your situation and provide you with fully informed legal advice. This answer is posted for general purposes only.


  2. The 1st paragraph says company can release the artist if artist hasn't fulfilled their minimum commitment. Company still has to pay artist what's owed.

    There's nothing here about Company's right to use artist's stage name.

    I'm still wondering how any record label cannot have its own lawyer to decipher what they drafted (or what someone trying to impersonate a lawyer drafted). It doesn't look like a lawyer write this.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


  3. Contracts snippets cannot be interpreted in the abstract, the whole document must be read as a whole to advise you

Entertainment law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics