The Intra-Band Agreement: Why Your Band Needs a Pre-Nup
November 8, 2016
Why Your Band Should Consider an Intra-band agreement
When new bands are early in their careers, there is a sense of “us against the world” and a comradery that makes all the members think that their friendship and common purpose will never fade. This is exactly the feeling engaged couples have. In fact, most people feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of pre-nuptial agreements. The sense is that you should not be contemplating what happens if the marriage dissolves because you are somehow setting the marriage up to fail.The purpose of a pre-nup is to contemplate and reach an agreement of terms in the event that the marriage ends at a time when the couple are not overcome with negative emotions and can agree on what would be fair. The same purpose applies to bands with what’s called an “Intra-Band Agreement.”
What is an intra-band agreement?
An Intra-Band Agreement, at its simplest, contemplates how and what happens if the time comes that a band member leaves voluntarily, must be fired or the band breaks up. The best time to make those decisions is now, while everyone likes each other. If you wait until someone quits or is fired, the process is sure to become messy and ugly.
I have witnessed this too many times. Without an Intra-Band Agreement, a leaving member will often result in long, protracted and expensive legal battles. In one case, in the course of a long and heated dispute, a leaving member had filed a complaint with the court, but never actually served it. A blogger discovered the complaint and published it online, with all of the other band members home addresses. I had to rush to the courthouse to have the complaint sealed.
Too many times, I have seen both the band and the leaving member spend more money in legal fees than the amount that winds up being agreed upon; couple that with the aggravation and emotional toll over the course of what could be years. All of this turmoil and expense can be avoided by having an Intra-Band Agreement drafted before any trouble begins. Hopefully, your band will always get along and you will never need to invoke the Intra-Band Agreement. That’s the way it usually works, right? But, if your band does reach the point that someone is quitting or needs to be fired, you are all likely to feel glad and well served by the certainty and the streamlined process the Intra-Band Agreement provides.
The Bottom Line
As the saying goes: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” A couple doesn’t get married expecting it to end in divorce. New bands can’t possibly imagine there being a time they would be suing one another. But, it happens. All too often. Ask The Eagles, or the Beach Boys, or RATT or The Cars or….you get the picture. Make some decisions now while everyone can agree on what’s fair. Have that pre-nup if your band divorces. An Intra-Band Agreement will save your band time, money and a lot of stress.