Freelance Legal & Business Affairs Consultant + Band Agreements

5 min readFeb 18, 2021

What is a Band Agreement and why should you have one?

This week I have Helen Deakin join me on Episode 32. She is a pal of mine from my Domino days and is now a freelance Legal & Business Affairs Consultant.

This episode is a mix of advice and tips for artists and also anyone who is interested in moving into a role in music law.

To note, this was recorded back in the Summertime last year! We just decided to pop it live now, so see below for an update of what Helen has been up to in the last year.


What we talk about

✨ Path to now, includes working at Domino Record & Publishing Co. (Business Affairs Assistant/ Paralegal), previous to that at EMI Music Publishing (as a Paralegal) AEG Presents, Sound Advice (Legal) LLP and so much more since

✨ Advice to become a music lawyer

What is a Band Agreement?

So, why do we actually need a Band Agreement? What issues should a Band Agreement cover?

Music Copyrights — Publishing Vs Recording

✨ And as ever, some shout outs to other bodacious babes

My guest

Helena Deakin

Legal & Business Affairs Consultant (Freelance)

Helen currently works for herself, after starting her own Legal and Business Affairs consultancy services in 2018.

She works with music labels and artists, looking at music contracts and music law advice. Previous to that worked in legal and business affairs roles.

✨ Helen studied for a law degree at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, studied law for three years. Then studied for a Masters’s and focused on Media Law

✨ We met when we were both at Domino Record Co. at which time she was a Business Affairs Assistant/ Paralegal, having previously worked at EMI Music Publishing as a Paralegal

✨ Whilst working full-time at Domino, Helen studied a Legal Practice Course part-time to allow her to qualify as a solicitor. This course is a requirement to become a solicitor

✨ After Domino Helen worked at AEG Presents, Sound Advice ( Legal) LLP and set up her own freelance consultancy Deaks Music Law

What’s Helen been up to…

Here’s a snapshot of what Helen’s been up to in the past year or so…

✨ Working as Business Affairs Manager for Distiller Music Group (Records, Publishing + Distiller TV)

✨ Assisting Def Pressé record company with an exciting collaboration with EMI Production Music

✨ Working with TOMM¥ €A$H

✨ Working with TULLE Collective, a label specifically for women and non-binary musicians, run by Constance Keane, Emily Kendrick (XL Records), Melika Mills, and Hannah Partington (Young Turks)

✨ Assisting Eyehear on commissioning music for the Netflix Documentary ‘Rising Phoenix’

She has also been Mayoress of Chelmsford since May 2020.

Advice to become a music lawyer.

✨ Study:

  • IP (Intelectual Property) Law
  • Contract Law & Entertainment
  • Media Law

✨ Perhaps pick a university that has Media & Entertainment as an elective

✨ You can also do a conversion degree if you studied something else at university. This is called GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law)

✨ After you have done your law degree, if you want to qualify as a solicitor, you need to do the Legal Practice Course which covers more practical pieces of what you do day-to-day as a lawyer (e.g wills, land law, criminal law). Which, as noted above, Helen did whilst working full time

Why should you get a band agreement?

It does seem like a really formal thing to do but good to be proactive about creating one.

Helen advises that it is better to create one from the outset, rather than wait for an issue and then have to create one and resolve disputes.

Helen has a faaaabulous article on this on her website, take a look here.

“ A band agreement is a vital document that you will need to have to hand in order to settle disputes easily. Your band agreement will allow you to focus on the music and keep your friendships intact.”

What does a Band Agreement include?

Information you may want to include:

✨ The band name

✨ How income is distributed

✨ How expenses are looked after

✨ Ownership of recordings and songs

✨ Voting rights aka how decisions get made within the band (aka signing a record contract, signing a new manager)

✨ Band assets (ex. equipment ownership)

✨ How you get paid (ex. is it all split equally, if someone leaves the band how much money do they get and for how long etc.)

✨ + legal bits!

Music Copyrights.

Which is why you could have several copyrights in the various different recording of that song

Publishing Copyright = songwriting (ex. writing of the sheet music)

Recording Copyright = recording of the song (ex. recorded version of the song in a studio)

Shout Outs.

✨ Loren McShane — Head of Legal & Business Affairs at Sentric @LorenMacca

✨ Heather de Allende — Legal & Business Affairs at BMG UK @heatherdeallende

✨ Legally Blonde

✨ Ruby Duff @rubyduffmusic


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