A guide to the boring side of music

Oh yeah, this is going to be a super exciting post. You’d better avert your eyes now before you fall asleep.


For reasons that must remain mysterious (I’ll tell you the whole story when I can. I promise!), The Halls have needed to hire a music lawyer and set up some proper businessy stuff.
I guess at some point, it becomes necessary to run your band like a business.
Gawsh, it really is irritating stuff, though. For example, I want to get us an ABN (Australian Business Number). But the application form for an ABN told me that to proceed in my application, I need to provide an ACN (Australian Company Number). So, i moseyed on over to get our band an ACN. But what do you know, guess what you need to be eligible for an ACN? An ABN!!! Lol. It just makes no sense, it’s like a loop of evil. I need to call these cats on my day off and ask them what the dealio is.
Setting up a joint bank account is also proving to be a bitch, as we all have to be present on the same day to sign for it. Which is dang near impossible during the week, with all our different schedules. So we’re just going to use one of Ged’s savings accounts for now. (We trust him, haha.)
Anyway, it’s lucky me and Ged are organised in terms of this kind of stuff. If it were up to Ross and James, probably none of this would get done. I don’t blame them at all though, it’s just not their forte. (Just like being a cool laid back rad guy with crazy hair isn’t my forte). Ross and James are the chilled ones, and me and Ged are the hyper ones. Although Ged is pretty chill, actually. Maybe it’s just me who’s the hyper one.Moving on – if you ever need a lawyer for music contracts and the like, Darren Sanicki of GI & Sanicki Lawyers in Melbourne is amazing. He is a musician himself, and went on to practice music law. He has tons of experience, and their firm specialises in music, entertainment and intellectual property law. They rep clients like Cat Stevens, Matt Corby and tons of great Aussie artists. Darren is the nicest guy, and really knows his stuff. Yes, The Halls are pretty poor right now and it’s hard to afford to pay lawyers. But it’s really worth it to understand the nitty gritty of things.Music business 101: never make the mistake of signing a contract without totally understanding it first! Even if you think you understand it! I’m not a total dumbass, but law contracts seem to be freaking designed as hard to read. I found a sentence in something we’re looking at that went on for nearly 2 paragraphs; it’s just so dense, and there’s a lot to take in. I think I understand the stuff – but there is so much of it that you instantly forget what you’ve just read – it turns your brain into a sieve. Hence, a laywer – someone you pay to explain this crap to you in plain English.

If you ever need legal advice, QMusic has a great resource page with links to a bunch of .pdf files. QMusic is a Queensland arts organization, but I think their fact files would be helpful for any Australian or even international musician. For example, the management agreement .pdf is amazing and explains the usual clauses of a management contract. It tells you what is industry standard, what things to watch out for, and what things it may be necessary to add into the contract to protect you and your band.

QMusic resources
QMusic Management .pdf

Arts Law Centre of Australia is also a GREAT resource if you need free, or much-cheaper-than-usual legal advice. The only reason we didn’t go with this is that the turnaround time can be up to 3 weeks, and we don’t have that much time. Everything is outsourced to professional music lawyers, and you get 2 contract reviews and several phone advices included in whatever you end up paying. (They quoted us $280 for what we wanted done. Which is pretty rad, especially split between band members). So if you have the time to wait for a few weeks for an answer, talk to Arts Law!

QMusic also has a range of links (Down the bottom of the ‘resources’ page) that outlines what should be present in various relationship agreements. A band agreement is a really useful thing to set up for your band. Once you’re actually taking in some dollars, it is fair to everyone to work out some sort of concrete rules for who gets what percentage of what. The Halls have decided to go quarters in everything. I know that some of us come up with some songs more than others and blah blah blah, but we really feel that each of us puts as much effort into the band as we possibly can. We want everyone to feel like they’re on equal footing, and we all love each other, so in reality it doesn’t seem fair to me if I was making a big chunk more than anyone else or vice versa.

Lastly, here’s a pretty cool & no-nonsense, if slightly bogan, guide to tax stuff for your band. As well as ABNs and boring bank stuff. Yes, it’s from coverbands.com.au, but this is just as viable for originals bands.

Hope some of these links will prove useful for you. Have a great week!

🙂 Bec

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