Any other issues that I should be concerned about in recording or producing my own CD?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Definitely. Other keys points you’ll want to cover in your agreements include:

(1) Copyrights: The most important thing is to ensure in all arrangements that you retain your copyrights. Make it clear in the studio or producer’s agreement that you are keeping your copyrights to all your songs, even if the engineer or producers (if any) help you write and arrange part of your material. Hold on to 100% of your copyrights.

(2) Masters: Make sure you put in writing your ownership rights to the “masters.” Unless there is money owed to the studio, engineer, or music producer, you should have them immediately “deliver” the masters to you.

(3) Bandmember Agreements: If the musicians are part of a band agreement, ensure compliance with that contract. There may be a provision in the contract on who personally retains the”masters”, and the studio should know that in advance.

(4) Sidemen Agreements: If outside musicians (“sidemen”) are used to help record, there should be a written agreement indicating this between the artist/band and the sidemen.

(5) Mechanical Licenses: If you plan to re-record “cover” songs or somebody else’s copyrighted works, you need to obtain a license to get the right to record other musicians’ compositions. You do this by contacting either the writers of the songs and/or their music publisher. Once you identify them, negotiate a “mechanical” license, which gives you the right to record the song.

(6) Engineers: You will want to ensure you have a qualified engineer on the boards.

(7) Producers: Unless your CD will be self-produced, equally important is ensuring you or your studio has an experienced and qualified producer. If a producer is contemplated, determine which party will provide the producer (you or studio). All parties (artist, studio and producer) should have written agreements between themselves delineating their respective rights and responsibilities. If the studio provides the producer, inquire about their experience and track record, and expressly identify any extra producer fees.

(8) Duplication: As with the other possible separate services, decide which facility will replicate your masters. It is usually economically advantageous to go to an outside professional duplicating company (e.g, Discmaker).

(Reprinted with permission of Ruben Salazar, Esq.)

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