by Vid Warren
Here is an example of a slightly edited real contract. Some bits may be hard to read. All of the information in the [square brackets] was put in by me.
If you have a contract shoved at you, there will pretty much always be room for negotiation. If there isn't, chances are they're trying to rip you off. If you become a member of the MU (Musician's Union), their lawyers will look through contracts for you free of charge (it costs annually to be a member though). Don't be bullied, you should be given the chance to take it away and look through or, better yet, get it looked at. All the top professionals use lawyers to look through that kind of stuff.
It's always best to use a good contract if you're getting paid. That way, if they cancel on you, they have to give you notice unless they want to pay you anyway. (imagine your fanbase turning up to nothing because of a last minute cancellation, they won't be too eager to come again). If you are to receive a cut of the door, it's best to include 'whichever is greater out of....or....%'