ForeWord Reviews

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The Musician's Guide Through the Legal Jungle

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Music Law, Guide Through the Legal Jungle Audiobook Series

Foreword Review — July / Aug 2000

Musical performers are not generally known for their fascination with intellectual property laws. That’s probably why so many run afoul of them. This listenable guide is a shield to protect performers and songwriters from making the most common legal mistakes. As anyone who makes a living in it will confirm, the music business is business first and art second.

Designed and written by music attorney Butler, The Musician’s Guide covers questions about ownership and copyright of songs and recordings; choosing a band name and maintaining rights to it; choosing the best business setup for a musical act; duties and rights of personal managers, business managers and talent agents; advantages and disadvantages of union membership; how record labels and music publishers are organized; negotiating recording and songwriting contracts; and calculating royalties from record sales and other uses of music.

Normally, such arcane fare would be sleep inducing, but this production actually makes it all fascinating by presenting the material through the voices of two narrators, a novice performer and a legal expert. Each segment ends with a quick review.

The accompanying booklet is a treasure in its own right. It summarizes all the points made in the tapes, lists additional reference sources, provides useful charts and forms and concludes with a glossary of terms common in music law.

Anyone who aspires to make a living with music can avoid a lot of grief and expense by attending to these tapes.

Edward Morris