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Band Agreements and Lawsuits: Sugarland

September 28, 2008

I ran across an Entertainment Law Blog written by Barry Neil Shrum regarding the country act Sugarland. In yet another example of band relationships crumblings and going to the courts, former member Kristen Alison Hall filed a lawsuit against her former band mates. She claimed she wasn’t paid out partnership profits and that she contributed the trademark (band name).

Most bands don’t really think or plan for things to go sour because they don’t think it will happen to them. Having an agreement with everyone will help ease everyone’s minds if things do go sour (especially if you’re starting to bring in more and more money).

It’s like a pre-nup. You don’t expect or want things to go sour, but you also can’t predict the future.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2008 4:45 pm

    Forming a band is very much like forming a business. Partnership and shareholder agreements are pretty much essential these days. Its good to get these types of things taken care of before hand rather than winding up in legal proceedings that can take months if not years to solve. Exit strategies are very helpful, that way everyone knows exactly what they are entitled to if someone breaks to the partnership.

    – MRW

  2. September 29, 2008 7:12 pm

    Hoover – Thanks for the link. As Mitch says in his comment, a band would be wise to conduct their activities much like a business. Band members should consider what type of business entity they want to use to conduct business – not only is partnership an option, but many bands form closely-held corporations or a limited liability entities for this purpose. Research your options on the Internet and/or consult with an entertainment attorney to prevent misunderstandings. Just as with Sugarland, nothing like this is ever an issue until substantial sums of money start changing hands – then everyone who has any interest at all is suddenly interested!

  3. September 30, 2008 3:53 am


    It’s totally a business if you’re planning to take things seriously. It’s not always the easiest thing for bands to get their heads around, but if making a living off music is what you want, then you gotta.


    Thanks again for posting that blog and the comment. I’m looking forward to more of your posts.


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