Legalese recently launched a suite of free agreements for musicians.
The company has positioned itself as a creative legal agency which has redesigned legal services to suit creative, start-up, and tech-based businesses by making them accessible, affordable and understandable.
As lawyers, the Legalese team have played an interesting and unique role in the South African music industry. Their site describes it as:
Our position has allowed us the advantage of working with many bands, musicians and producers and we’ve gotten a bird’s-eye view of a beautiful and professional music scene. As part of our work, we draft contracts. Clients approach us with a scenario and we put together the paperwork to make this vision come to life. It could be a band trying to distribute its royalties or a producer trying to ensure she gets paid for her gigs. A good contract makes life simpler. It keeps everyone on the same page and lowers the risk of a dispute. Each party to a contract is bound to its terms and has recourse if the other party doesn’t live up to their obligations. There are many ways to build strong business relationships – as lawyers, we like contracts. One of our aims at Legalese is to offer affordable and accessible legal services. While our prices are lower than a traditional lawyer, setting up initial working contract is still a costly exercise for a musician starting out professionally. Over the years, we’ve experimented with ways to offer musicians legal protection. After many conversations with members of our music community (CTEMF, Black Major, Red Bull Music Studios, our clients and others), we had an idea to try something new, for the industry we love.
By clicking the links they provide, you can download a set of legal agreements that the legalese team have put together specifically for the local music industry. Each agreement is in template form and you can complete and sign it without much effort. They’ve also included an introductory page on each agreement, explaining what the agreement is for, what the legal terms mean and how to use each agreement.
In the past, they’ve charged for drafting these agreements but are now offering them for free. The hope is that they offer value to those that use them. These agreements have been drafted based on the Legalese team’s experience in the music business, however keep in mind that they are generalised agreements and do not constitute legal advice. If you’re entering into a business relationship which is valuable to you, then it may be worth getting specific legal advice, and drafting bespoke agreements for your needs.
Legalese adds that making these forms available is an experiment. So if you find the agreements useful, send them feedback. If they offer you value, pay it forward by sharing them with other musicians and if this works, they’ll do more.