Is an offer made asking an artist to perform binding before a written contract is signed and deposit is paid?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Is an offer made asking an artist to perform binding before a written contract is signed and deposit is paid?

Can the offer be adjusted after both parties have agreed to preliminary terms terms?

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you made an offer to the artist and the artist accepted, that may well create an enforceable oral (often called verbal) agreement even in advance of a written contract being signed. The terms can be adjusted after acceptance of the original offer, but only if both parties agree or consent to the change (contracts may only be changed by mutual consent).
Note that the exact circumstances--what specifically was said by each side--are critical in determining whehter, in this particular case, a contract was formed. For example, if you said, "I will pay you $10,000 to perform on November 3, 2015) and the artist said "agreed," that would form a contract. But if you just said, "would it possible to hire you to perform, maybe on the 3rd of November" and the artist said "yes," that is most likely NOT a contract--there was not sufficient definiteness as to what was being agreed to, since all the artist did was provide the information that they are for hire and may be available on the 3rd, and all you did was inquire into whether hiring them for that day was feasible. Neither of you, in this second example, committed to the hiring for that date.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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