Being in a band has its perks, but its also much more difficult organizationally and logistically. If you’re in a band, you’ll have to figure out a few things that you might not have to worry about as a singer/songwriter. Here are 4 that we think are especially important.
If you’re in a committed band, everyone should do something. And everyone should agree to do something ahead of time. Give booking responsibilities to one person, event promotion to another, web maintenance to another…etc. 1 person shouldn’t get stuck doing everything. And if a member is too lazy to help, then you should kick them out.
Come up with Goals
Does your band have a purpose? If you’re doing it for fun, then no problem! Make sure everyone realizes that…so that there aren’t any hard feelings when someone decides to leave. But if you all are serious, make sure each member is committed and doesn’t think this is a temporary thing. It doesn’t matter what you decide. Just make sure you decide it together. Image also factors into this. Who do you want to be as a group? Make sure your image is consistent and that each member represents your band accordingly.
This is a sticky topic that probably won’t be a big issue unless you become famous. Make sure you decide on ownership of your band’s songs. Does one person write the lyrics while one person writes the music? Does that mean the song belongs to just two of the band members or the whole band? If a third band member contributes a line or a verse, does that mean he owns the song as much as the other two guys? It’s confusing!
So why is this a problem? Many lawsuits have occurred among famous bands over the above debate (i.e. Nirvana). One band member thinks he should get some of the royalties while another band member is collecting all the checks. On a much smaller level, you might have a particular song on iTunes. What if the band breaks up? If that song is getting crazy downloads on iTunes, are you still splitting the money evenly between all 4 or 5 members. Check out this write-up on Ownership: “Who Owns a Band’s Master Recordings”
Open a Bank Account
This is especially important for a band when you start making money. You’ll eventually need to pay for the gas you put in your van. You’ll need to pay for things like flyers, food, merch, and production/packaging of your CD. It’s easiest to have a bank account to make things official, keep records of everything, and avoid future “Hey, you owe me money” quarrels.
If you are making decent money at your shows, you should have a bank account.