The redaction of fair cancellation and recording clauses

in the music event sector



By Chloé Forget

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




Music event sector is highly risky due to the uncertainty and temporary aspects, therefore cancellation and recording clauses are crucial for risk management in music vents contracts. This paper studies the redaction of cancellation and recording clauses in the music event contract. In this article, we analyze five different contract templates (AIA, FIDIC, CONSENSUS, EJCDC and CSI contracts) to figure out which alternative will be the best option to redact fair cancellation and recording clauses between an organizer of event and the artist manager. Our researches demonstrated that the CSI contract is the best template to redact fair cancellation and recording clauses thanks to relation of power abut both parties, that are equals in this contract, and the compensations process, that is fair and fast for both parties.

Keywords:     music events; music contract; production contracts; cancellation issue; recording artists; event cancellation; producer responsibilities; event organizer obligations; penalties


Last year I bought two tickets for Shakira’s concert in Paris but just one week before the date, she announced she would not be able to perform the show. It was a complete surprise for me, and, for instance, I didn’t know what was going to happen with the purchase I made but also, I started wondering about other issues. For example, have you ever asked yourself what would happen to both of the parties of a contract if the artist doesn’t show up for his/her show? Have you ever asked yourself if you are authorized to record on video the show with your cell phone? It seems so natural for all of us to go to a concert, enjoy ourselves when our artist arrives on the stage, take photos and videos, post them on our preferred social network, and many other things that we always take for granted.

However, each musical event requires lots of previous work that can take weeks, or even months, for setting up a contract between the artist’s manager and the event organizer. Without a contract, the artist will have no more than a moral obligation to perform the show he/she was paid for and the organizer will have no obligation to protect the copyright of the artist. The artist will lose his/her artistic property (or at least, part of the revenues for his/her performance) and the organizer will lose money and damage its brand image by paying to someone who is not coming. Hence both parties need to find an agreement and write it down in order to make it applicable in a trial, whenever one of them doesn’t fulfill his/her duties. A contract is essential because it warrants that all the parties involved will act as it was previously decided and respect their responsibilities (commitments). According to the article “8 Issues to Know and Address Before Sign a Music Producer Contract” of McDonald, H [1], discussing the terms of a contract is a very difficult task because all the situations should have been considered by the parties, and here is where the main goal of the contract clauses reveals. In particular, the clauses indicate specific situations and will specify the penalties that would be applicable in each particular case. What does make difficult the implementation of cancellation clause and recording clause?

According to the website Symphonic, “Music event are fully part of project management area.”[2] Indeed, each event done in music sector imply a project management structure and its attributes. According to the size of the event, music event can require a portfolio structure to realize the event. For example, a music festival that last several days include several projects, in the way that each concert of this festival may be a project inside this portfolio. What make the project management sector specific for cancellation clause and recording clause?

In this essay, we will focus on two clauses that are essential, but also problematic, for any kind of music event: the cancellation clause and the recording clause. Moreover, it is precisely their essential character what makes them problematic because a lot of things are at stake on their formulation.

For instance, if the artist cancels his/her performance, then, it is very likely that the whole event, that may include more participants, will be canceled immediately as well. Thus, the organizer would have probably to deal with the other commitments that he/she acquired with the stakeholders and with all the clients who paid for the show. In the same way, a recording of the performance, even a partial one, could damage the artist-intellectual property if it is not controlled by a specific regulation provided by the organizer. To avoid these and many other problems, the clauses must be discussed, and penalties must be defined to enforce the duties of both the artist’s agent and the organizer.

The purpose of this essay is to evaluate what is the most efficient way of writing down the cancellation and recording clauses for the parties involved in a contract in such a manner that respects, but also enforces, the obligations acquired between each other when they engage in a contract the pursues the common goal of performing and/or organizing a music event.

This essay will answer to: How cancellation and recording clauses can be fairly redacted in a music contract?

This question will be analyzed by using the Five Whys Funnel Analysis thanks to the following questions:

  • Why do we need the cancellation clause and recording clause?
  • Why are there risks in music events?
  • Why music events are uncertain sectors?
  • Why music contracts need to consider project management attributes in order to redact cancellation clause and recording clauses?
  • Why is it complex to define the most important attributes for cancellation and recording clauses in music events?


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Forget, C. (2019). The redaction of fair cancellation and recording clauses in music event sector, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Forget-fair-cancellation-and-recording-in-music-event-sector.pdf



About the Author

Chloé Forget

Paris, France




Chloé Forget is an Msc student from SKEMA Business School. She is currently studying Project Program Management & Business Development. Before that, she studied 4 years global management in the same business school. French native but she grew up in a multicultural environment thanks to her travels (Spain, the UK, Germany, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Peru, …). It was thus only natural she decided to study abroad. She studied in Fundação dom cabral in Brazil, and in North Carolina State University in the USA. She has experience in project management for being responsible for a music festival in France and in development of new products in a tourism agency in Mexico. As a project management student, she recently obtained PRINCE 2, Agile PM and IPMA certifications.

Chloé lives in Paris and can be contacted by email at chloe.forget@skema.edu


[1] McDonald, H. (2009, May 16). 8 Issues to Know and Address Before Sign a Music Producer Contract. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/before-you-sign-a-music-producer-contract-2460647

[2] Legal Contracts for Music Producers I Symphonic Distribution. (2018, September 21). Retrieved from http://blog.symphonicdistribution.com/2017/06/legal-contracts-music-producers/