Notes From a Lawyer: What Every MC Should Know Before Signing on the Dotted Line

One of the key elements of success in the rap game is understanding the terms of your contract. I sat down with New York based entertainment attorney Andrew Krents, who has worked with hip-hop, dance, and rock artists for over two decades, and asked what 3 things every new artist should know before getting down with a major or an indie:

1. Know what rights you’re giving up, specifically your rights in recordings, touring, publishing, and merchandising.

2. Know what costs will be charged against you. From soda to studio time to tour support–all this can make a dent at the end of the day to what moneys you see.

3. Pay attention to the “controlled composition” clause. This provision deals with the publishing copyrights and, depending on how it’s worded, it can contribute to or decimate the amount an artist receives in respect to mechanical royalties per unit made and distributed.