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April 17, 2012

A lot of difficult subjects have been confronted, discussed and laid out bare on this blog over the time it has been running. Some of the articles here have given a flat out opinion or a general detail and the points of both sides to an argument. This particular article might be one of the hardest subject to write about: changing band members.

There are few (if any) bands who do not go through a variety of band members and line up changes. The better prepared and more knowledgeable bands of this fact usually have some sort of legal agreement in place to prevent any issues. Even if a band member chooses to leave rather than being forced out or fired, there can be very damaging legal matters that arise if you are not prepared. As we have stated in a previous blog here, creating a legal agreement is fairly easy with a bit of research or you can seek out actual legal counsel.

While legal agreements may not seem critical for a small, local band, it could help avoid future problems with a previous band member if there are payment discrepancies. There are countless major bands who have had past members claim they helped write a song or did work they deserve payment for. Having an agreement that defines what rights a band member has once they’ve left the project can eliminate future disagreements.

Another major issue that arises is the continuation of the band name and songs. We all know a band that has had problems with members leaving and then trying to prevent the remaining members from being the same band. Unlike songwriter credits where there are laws in place that dictate how these work there are none that state whether a band name can be used. There are plenty of bands out there who still use the same name despite having none of the original members because they had a formal arrangement in place to allow this.

Like much of what we have previously discussed the general legal matter surrounding band life can be easy but are extremely important. There is no reason not to get a simple agreement in place to prevent any of these problems from arising because unlike a marriage where there is at least a 50% chance of staying together there is no chance your band will always be together and not change.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Shaun permalink
    April 17, 2012 1:53 PM

    Great Article! Over the years i’ve filmed myself playing riffs and songs i’ve written that are hard encoded with the time and date. Mostly for the fact i wouldn’t forget them. Some of these riffs/songs have gone on to be used with former bands i was in….But i’m glad i have these filmed….just in case…

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