Words: Chantelle Fiddy
Earlier this month, the Musicians’ Union together with the Featured Artist Coalition (FAC) and the help of chart-topper, FAC ambassador and MU member, Kelli-Leigh, announced a new piece of joint guidance for session musicians and featured artists. If you’re an upcoming musician and collaborating in the studio, consider this essential reading and learning.
The aim with the guidance is to offer advice to creators, in order to establish how they should be engaged when working on projects. With so much confusion around rights, processes and negotiations, the hope is to bring some much needed clarity to the recording studio.
Speaking to UD, Kelli-Leigh said: “In this business, knowledge is strength and power. A lot of artists get taken advantage of both unintentionally and intentionally when they have no reference points to understand how to look after themselves (within the business aspect of the music industry)… There seemed to be no clear document or one place to go to garner this knowledge – especially if an artist or session musician/ singer doesn’t have management. I didn’t (have management) at the time of the recordings I sang on which went to Number 1 in the Charts, which inspired my journey of learning. I want to make a difference in the music business. I want to make the playing field fairer for those that may not have financial access to advance themselves but rely on their talent to cut through. This guidance document with the MU & FAC will shine a light on recording protocol and give artists a better foundation at representing themselves in future sessions.”
Arming singers and producers with better knowledge in session, vocal and featured artist work, is clearly long overdue, the industry awash with tales of bad deals and missed opportunities.
Sam Jordan, MU Sessions Official says: “Making sure musicians are equipped with the knowledge they need to agree a fair deal and know when to seek advice is essential in creating an industry where musicians are paid and treated fairly.”
The guidance includes understanding contractual differences between a session musician and featured artist, how and where you should be credited, where you might be entitled to royalties as a performer and the essential things to consider and ask. The quick checklist provided should be memorised too: consisting of five key points, it advises you learn to identify your role, establish the nature of the work, what’s in the deal, who your main point of contact is and what’s happening at the session.
David Martin, FAC CEO, adds: “Artists and musicians, particularly vocalists, are often unclear about where the dividing lines are between the various roles they play within the music industry. We have therefore been grateful to Kelli-Leigh in lending her extensive expertise to help to demystify this area and empower creators.”
Read the guidance for yourself HERE
To learn more about the inner working of the music industry, book your ticket for Industry Takeover All Dayer, Sept 4th @ Protein Studios, NOW.