Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Part 1

Is it usual for a manager to continue receiving a commission on royalties after his contract with the band or recording artist has expired?

It used to be the case that a manager would receive commission in perpetuity on all income arising from deals which an artist entered into during the management term. However, this is no longer so and, whilst it is still generally accepted that a manager will continue to receive commission after the term on income from recordings made and songs written during the management term, there are numerous variations on what the rate of commission might be and for how long it may be paid. There is no such thing as a ‘standard’ management agreement and artists should take legal advice before committing themselves to the engagement of a manager.

Is it usual for a record producer to also get songwriting credits and a share of the publishing royalties?

The income derived from publishing rights in respect of a hit song can be significant. Many individual producers, if they feel that they have played a part in creating the songs which they are recording, will accordingly claim credit as a co-writer. Often the individual producer’s role is limited to the creation of arrangements and in this case a producer should not get a writing credit or a share of royalties. However, it is not always easy to say exactly where the creation of the song ends and the arrangement of the music begins. For this reason it is essential to ensure that the terms of a producer’s engagement are clearly established at the outset.

In the event of a band splitting up, who owns the rights to the band name?

As a general rule a name will ‘belong’ to the person or persons using it so that, in the absence of any contrary agreement, none of the members of a band can use its name after the band has split. However, the existence of the name may precede the formation of the band and in that case you need to consider whether the name has simply been ‘lent’ to the band and, if so, whether it will revert to the original owner(s) after the band splits. If the band has formed a partnership or set up a company then it may well be that the partnership or company continues to own rights to the name and may be entitled to authorise one or more former members of the band to continue to use it. However, if the band has been signed to a record company the chances are that the recording agreement will require the leaving band members to give up any rights they have to use the band name in favour of those members who continue with the record company. This issue is one of may which need to be considered and resolved between the members of a band before they split up.

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Bulletins are for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters. Where reference is made to Court decisions facts referred to are those reported as found by the Court. Please note that past bulletins included in the Archive have not been updated by any subsequent changes in statute or case law.