Hiring an Attorney to Shop Your Music

Beware of major deductions and high percentage commissions

Some entertainment attorneys shop the band’s music to record labels and music publishers. These “shoppers” use their industry connections to obtain deals for the band and are paid with a percentage of the band’s income from the deal (typically 5% to 10%). This is referred to as a label-shopping deal, and the income may continue for the life of the deal, or for a limited period of time, depending on the arrangement with the attorney.

For example, an attorney may shop your band’s music around and draft your contract in return for a percentage of the band’s income from that deal. The attorney may charge $5,000 plus 5% of your record deal. Every time your band receives a payment from the record deal, the attorney would receive 5%. Your band may have to continue paying this percentage even after you switch attorneys.

You may wonder why attorneys shop music. After all, this is not a task that requires a legal education—managers and bands themselves often perform the same function. The reason is that attorneys have assumed a unique position of power in the music business: They’re wellâ

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