Ballroom Dancing

SXSW panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by Gary Miller

Red Flags in Contracts

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 12

With major labels bedeviled by online delivery, and the CD an endangered species, working musicians need to realize that in the future changing your name to an unpronounceable glyph and painting "slave" on your face will no longer cut it. Now more than ever, performing songwriters especially must embrace a businesslike attitude about their music. What's more, record execs are no longer the only sharks in the pool. So-called click-through contracts, for instance, which allow bands to upload songs and videos to sites like MySpace and YouTube, can give online companies unintended power. Those were some of the take-home messages from a mid-day panel on contracts anchored by part-time blogger, full-time attorney Nancy Prager, who was joined by fellow lawyers David Prasse and John Strohm, who's better known as the guitarist for the Lemonheads. "You've got to read your contracts," emphasized Prager. "It sucks. I know. I read them everyday." Prasse added: "You need to know who you are getting into business with. Do they live their lives with integrity?"

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