Music Law: How to Run Your Band’s Business

Music Law: How to Run Your Band's Business

By: Richard Stim 
Publisher: NOLO 
Publication Date: October 2009 
ISBN: 978-1413310566 
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler 
Review Date: January 25, 2010 

If you've found yourself getting a bit more serious about your band and music and would like to protect your intellectual property without spending a fortune on lawyers, this book would be a wise investment. For example if you have written a great song you need to be fully aware that "playing a song in public is not a publication." Overlooking many seemingly minor details like this can prove to be costly in the long run. The legal advice in this book is very thorough, but if you do need additional help, the author, Attorney Rich Stim, will point you in the right direction. If you have signed with a major label, you need a lawyer.

If you are serious, you need to learn as much as possible about music law because publishing contracts can often be "complex and often illogical." If you are dealing with other people, you need to make sure they are reputable. This book first explains that you will need to establish what type of business you will have, whether it be something simple such as a sole proprietorship or a corporation. Then comes the paperwork because you will need to protect your rights and learn how "not to get ripped off." You will learn about common issues and problems confronting a band, how to go about setting up a partnership, dealing with additions and loss of band members, financial issues, division of profits, detailed information about copyrighting your material, insurance issues, dealing with debt, how to protect yourself from personal liability, issues pertaining to a band manager, copyrighting your songs, publishing your work and much more!

This is not a difficult book to read and understand because it is so clearly written. There are many forms in the text and files on the CD-ROM that can be printed out. To eliminate any confusion there is an instructional video on "How to Register a Song Copyright." This is a step-by-step narration and visual that will be extremely helpful to the songwriter. There are numerous informative sidebars throughout the book and an excellent, extensive index. This book and CD give little vignettes about how songs make money.

Quill says: If you want to make money, you have to spend a little and this book would be a good start!

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