Should Musicians Register as a Business?

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Think back to the last time you went to a restaurant, bar, party or concert and watched a band or individual musician. If you’re like many, you may not have thought of those musicians as an actual business. The musicians you were watching may be making the same mistake as you did and it will cost them.

If you’re a musician who is receiving compensation for your services, you’re a business and as such you should registered with the state where you or your band resides. First, let’s think about a worse case scenario. Your band was invited to play at a wedding in a country club. Setting up requires running an electrical cord to an outlet located far enough away that the cord has to be ran where people may walk. Without knowing it, your extension cord has a cut in the line and as a result, somebody walks over it not wearing shoes (you know how wedding receptions can get) and electrocutes them self causing injuries.

Through an attorney the person decides to file a lawsuit. If your band isn’t registered as a business, you and each of the other people in your band are personally liable if the judgement goes against your band. If your band is registered as a business, only the business is liable. If your band is not registered as a business,  a judgement against you may result in losing all of your equipment but that’s better than the judgement impacting your family as well as you.

What type of registration should your band have? Wheter you are a solo musician who isn’t playing with anybody else, or an small band, you can register as an LLC. With the help of a incorporation services company , it will be easy and cheap.

If you are an original band, a band who writes their own songs as well as performing them, you have to decide who owns the written songs and how ownership is affected when somebody leaves the band. If you’re a cover band, a band that plays other artists’ music, it is a little easier but regardless, you have to decide who owns the rights to the band name, how the money is distributed among band members, how equipment is maintained, travel considerations, and other expenses. Because of the complicated nature of popular bands who perform frequently, a corporation may be the best option.

Whichever way you decide to register your band, make sure to consult each other and draft a written document, possibly an articles of incorporation, that lay out all of the questions above.

If you’re a band, you’re a business. Contact a business registration service to talk about the best way to register yourself or your band, or other musical ensemble.