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Artists are one of the most creative people we can find around considering their imaginative ability to come about with stunning ideas. Considering the shift in global employment and work methodologies, a lot of skilled persons now freelance including artists as they determine their pay and work schedule.

Recent studies have shown that over 53 million Americans work as freelancers today changing the regular nine to five working hours schedule. As a freelance artist, beyond your creativity and giftings, there’s a place of keeping abreast with the current trends and the rapid shifts the industry experiences daily. Adding to your skills development, you know developing a professional artist contract is not negotiable to successfully handle your projects.

Perhaps you are already staring at a golden opportunity, and all you need is a contract that will present you well before a client. But how then do you create an agreement if you are yet to formulate one?

It becomes a challenge if you are yet to understand what it takes to make a good contract; and adding to the fact that new trends are emerging every day as clients also appreciate more bespoke agreements. If you find yourself in that situation, you may want to jump at every agreement you see.

But before you do that, let’s see what a contract is all about before we show you to identify a great artist contract template.

Image Credits: template.net

1. What is a contract, and why do I need one?

It is not uncommon to see different books on business advice on the need for a contract to work with every client. But in real business, people let things slip through the cracks. Some even believe that only big projects require a contract making them skip some vital paperwork.

But it’s actually a little stuff you ignore that have the potential of causing expensive and time-consuming problems. A contract is an agreement either to do or not to do something; it is a legally binding document that clearly outlines an agreement between two parties so that the “object” is achieved while preventing disputes or litigation.

Whether you are skilled at creating art, specialized in some activity, or you do a freelance recording as an artist, you would need a contract because human relationships could be messy, and memories are imperfect. Although a contract may not prevent you from all complexities and probable ambiguity in communications, it can bring about clarity and consensus between you as a freelancer and your client.  

2. What makes a good artist contract?

A contract isn’t necessarily a bulky document with so much information. It could be just a simple outline of the terms and conditions of a project by which you, as a consultant and your client have agreed to work. It could also be a complex document depending on the level of  intricacies of the project and the number of elements involved.

Image Credits: template.net

The following are essential elements in a good artist contract that would protect a freelance agent and his client.

2.1. Client information

You should have relevant information about your client on your artist contract as well as data about yourself as a freelancer. The agreement should detail or describe the parties clearly. All information provided should be with the consent of the parties involved.

2.2. Detailed service

Artists are creative and magical, and as such, your contract should spell out the services you would render to the prospective client. It could also give an overview of the goal, outlining the chunk of activities that would be seen in the end product.

2.3. Payment method and schedule

The payment plan of your client is a critical part of your artist contract. Freelancing is a risky business, and as such, there should be a clear definition of a milestone arrangement that would trigger the final payment for the project. The payment schedule can be weekly, bi-monthly or in any frequency agreed upon.

2.4. Intellectual property and copyrights

There needs to be an agreement on who owns the intellectual property you create. Should you reserve the right to the intellectual properties, you should come up with a license that permits its use to your clients, and the license expiry date should be stated if there is any.

2.5. Dispute resolution

Should in case a party breaches the agreement, your artist contract should carry the medium of resolution; which may include arbitration, mediation, or court resolution.

2.6. Revisions and alterations

You should give room for review and revisions of project in your proposal. However, you should beware of unlimited revisions by applying some clause that would prevent such happening. In doing this, answer questions on how alterations should be done, and at what point would you charge additional fees for the project. Through it all, a good relationship with your client would go a long way in making changes to your project with ease.

Other elements that your contract should capture include warranties, confidentiality/NDA, and Non-compete clause.

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