This article is a service of James Rose, Creative Business Lawyer® in Nashville. We can help your operation on the Row succeed with a full range of services designed to increase your bottom line in this business through touring, branding, digital product, and merchandising. We facilitate relationships, negotiate show dates and production, keep your costs low, brainstorm solutions, and ensure that you are fairly represented to maximum profit. We also offer a STARTUP Foundation Audit or LIFT Foundation Audit. These sessions blend a proven system for success in business with the skills of an attorney who is intimately familiar with the needs of industry professionals. Call us today to schedule.
Collecting your money is a big “MUST” if you are to survive in the Nashville music business. If you get paid for playing, producing, managing, and/or promoting, collecting payment is crucial to your operation.
And yet, perhaps you've made it an afterthought.
Here are the types of scenarios we are seeing as Creative Business Lawyers when asked to review client agreements. Agreements such as the one that follows feel like gigantic turn-offs that manifest themselves before an agreement is even finalized. A deal breaker. Not a deal maker:
Here's how it worked:
Step 1: Review agreement that basically says if you are accepted for mentorship, we are going to charge you the full amount (unspecified in agreement) and you are responsible to pay it, no matter what.
Step 2: Apply for mentorship and put down a $500 refundable deposit.
At this point, if I am her potential mentee client, I have checked out already and would never pay a $500 deposit, whether it is refundable or not.
The agreement comes at the wrong part of the process, and the wording overly harsh. There is no way that it would prompt the prospective client to sign on.
Agreements are in place in the industry not just for your protection, but for the protection of the relationship that they represent.
How your agreements are presented, when they are presented, and what they say are of critical importance to your relationship with your clientele.
In this case, our lawyers recommended that we upgrade of the language of the agreement to make it more mutually protective – A “Win – Win” for all involved. The agreement was not to be presented until after the application was reviewed and the mentee was approved and validated his or her desire to fully participate by signing the agreement.
So now, the process is:
Step 1: $500 refundable deposit to get an interview. If approved during the interview, review the agreement together and solidify the relationship, being sure to point out the places that the agreement protects mentee, not just mentor. If not, refund $500.
Step 2: Sign agreement that is a true Win - Win agreement. Begin long-lasting relationship.
This process will enhance sales, ensure that the right people enroll in the program (those who will be most successful with the mentorship) and also create raving fans.
The language of your agreements and the way you present your agreements are critical pieces not only in the process of receiving pay, but also in building a lasting business.
If you would love to have your agreements reviewed, not just for legal terms, but to ensure that they support your marketing and client engagement processes, creating better, more profitable client relationships for the long-term, contact us for a comprehensive audit of all of your Legal, Insurance, Financial and Tax systems. We'll include a full contract review in the process.