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Songwriting Guides
Record companies
Getting advice

If there is one thing that should be tattooed on your forehead when dealing with record companies it is 'independent legal advice'. A label may like one or two of your songs and want to do a publishing and recording deal on those alone - or you may be looking at the big one: an exclusive recording deal for a substantial term, with an advance. But no matter the size of the deal or the company, you need to get independent advice from a reputable music lawyer.

Music lawyers, like any other lawyers, are expensive. But there are ways of getting advice cheaply or even for free.

First of all find the major law firms who deal in music and entertainment law and ask if they offer a free advice surgery. Some firms will give you 15 minutes of their time for free. If you are able to prepare your questions and take relevant paperwork, you could get a quick but experienced answer as to whether what you are being offered is good for you or not.

Some firms will give you 15 minutes of their time for free.

Do you have any friends or relatives who are trained lawyers and could help? There are also some good books on the subject, and these will help you understand more about the way contracts and the law work - have a look at our recommended reading section. On specific issues, though, legal advice will always be needed.

There are also cheap alternatives to top city firms. The Musicians' Union and Performing Right Society run workshops and surgeries to help with all aspects of legal work, including contracts. Find out when and where they are, though you need to be a member of these organisations to take full advantage of what they offer.
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