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A Musical Performance Contract allows a musician to set forth the terms and conditions of an arrangement to provide a performance to an event organizer. With signatures from the event organizer and... Read more

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Making a Musical Performance Contract

  • What is a Musical Performance Contract?

    A Musical Performance Contract allows a musician to set forth the terms and conditions of an arrangement to provide a performance to an event organizer. With signatures from the event organizer and the musician or band, this document can help each party to set appropriate expectations. With Rocket Lawyer, your Musical Performance Agreement isn't a generic template. If you ever need support from an attorney in the event of missed payments or any other problem, your Premium membership provides optional access to Document Defense®.

  • As a musician, should I always create a contract for musical performances?

    It only takes one no-show or one venue not paying your band for both parties to learn that Musical Performance Contracts are a smart idea. Whether you are doing a solo gig or a full band setup, it is always crucial to record the details of your shows. You might decide to use a Musical Performance Contract because, when done properly, it yields the benefits listed here:

    • Neither party is confused about compensation
    • The duration of the performance is agreed upon
    • Both parties understand the scope of their responsibilities

    If you decide against making a Band Contract, you may not experience any of the protections connected to having one.

  • What is included in most Musical Performance Contracts?

    Band or gig contracts are often short and easy to understand. However, they can be as complicated as you want them to be depending on the event. Most will be short, but if you are managing a large, expensive event, expectations may be more extensive on both sides.

    Basic information included in Music Performance Contracts:

    Name and contact information of both parties

    Most often full, real names (rather than stage names) are included as well as contact information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

    Description of services

    This section includes the location and name of the venue as well as the date and time of the performance.

    Performance of services

    This section covers the details such as set up and sound check times. It can also include information, such as music type, how long the band is to play per set, the variety of music (limitation of repeats) and etiquette expectations (for example if swearing needs to be limited). Some also include in this section the sound equipment and expertise the band is expected to bring.


    How much is to be paid for the performance, when it will be paid, and how it will be paid.


    This is not common for small venues, but popular bands with busy schedules may require a deposit to guarantee their services. Most often, the deposit is non-refundable but subtracted from the total after the performance.

    Cancellation policy

    This section outlines the minimum time required for giving notice of cancellation. If the band needs to cancel, it should be within enough time to book another similar act. If the venue or event organizer cancels within a certain period, often the contract will require that the band still be paid in full.


    Usually, performances are singular and just list one date, but if you have a contract for repeated performances such as once per week, you can create a contract with terms and options for renewal.

    Relationship of parties

    This indicates, in most cases, that the band or musician is not an employee of the individual, venue or event organizer. This helps relieve liability issues.

    Force Majeure

    This simply means something like 'superior force.' This section outlines rules about what things could happen that would release both parties from the agreement without consequences. These are often� "act of god" events such as floods or earthquakes.

    Other information often included along with the basic contract:

    Equipment and layout

    It is helpful if the bands know in advance things like what kind of power is available, lighting provided, sound equipment details, drum riser specs and so on. Details should be specific, for example, exact brand and tech specifics should be provided for PA equipment.

    Riders or backstage perks

    Most bands do not have the influence to request complicated, expensive backstage accommodations, but many ask the bands if they can provide a few hospitality items. Common requests include bottled water, tea, energy drinks, alcohol, coffee and food. Often the venue can save money by providing catering services backstage and limit requests to dietary restrictions.

    Merchandise sales

    Bands should know if they can sell merchandise, and if so, if there is a designated area for sales and tables available. If the band needs their salespeople to be allowed into the event without a ticket, that should be arranged in advance, as well. If the venue takes a part of the sale, that should be clearly communicated.

    Video and audio records

    If the performance is recorded, how those recordings are planned to be used should be discussed. If the band or performer wants a copy of the recording for promotional reasons, how that will be shared should be arranged in advance.

    Performance expectations

    The drunken musician cliche was not fabricated out of thin air. Both parties should set expectations around intoxication and performance. If a band member cannot make a performance, the band should have a backup player willing and ready to perform.

    Parking and loading/unloading

    Bands should know in advance where they can park and load and unload their gear. Some venues will put out signage directing the bands where to go. If they need to park their vehicle and gear overnight, the organizer or booking person should have suggestions for safe places to park.

    Lodging and transportation

    Some events pay for musicians to have pre-event or post-event accommodations and may help with transportation costs. Location and access information to hotels, homestays, or campsites should be communicated in advance as possible. Transportation costs such as gas or airfare (including airport shuttles) should be agreed upon before the day of the event.

  • How can I fill out my own performance contract template online for free?

    The good news is you do not need to start from scratch when getting your agreement in writing. When using the document tools on Rocket Lawyer, any musician should feel empowered to draft a free Musical Performance Contract with ease. Your contract will be built step by step, so you can feel confident that it has the proper details that you'll need. Ordinarily, given the level of customization, you might ultimately pay a conventional lawyer fees in the hundreds of dollars, if not more.

    If you have any doubts before getting started, ask a lawyer, or browse our full repository of business documents.

  • Is anything else required after I make my Musical Performance Contract?

    After making your custom contract on Rocket Lawyer, you'll have the ability to open it wherever and whenever you choose. Feel free to try any or all of the following actions with your contract: making edits, saving it in Word or PDF format, printing it, or signing it by means of RocketSign®. Attached alongside each Musical Performance Contract, there is a set of recommended steps you should take after your document is finished. You should make sure to give a copy of your fully signed agreement to your client.

  • Can my Musical Performance Agreement be checked by a lawyer?

    If you opt to do it by yourself, seeking out a legal professional to give feedback on your document could be relatively time-intensive. Some lawyers may not even agree to review a contract if they were not the author. In the event that an attorney does offer to help you, they would still charge their standard fees to do so. An easier and more cost-effective alternative is to go through Rocket Lawyer attorney services. If you sign up for a Premium membership, you can get your agreements reviewed or send specific questions. Whether you decide to produce more copies of your Musical Performance Agreement or other agreements for your business, we'll be here to support you.

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