A Discussion Guide to encourage necessary pre-contract conversations between artistic parties

Created by music lawyer Ari Solotoff of Solotoff Law in consultation with ACF staff, our partners, and an initial cohort of composers, publishers, and industry leaders, this discussion guide and sample deal memo helps to frame the considerations that should be discussed between artistic parties prior to commissioning a new concert work for large ensemble.

In this on-demand webinar, Ari Solotoff breaks down how to use the discussion guide and explains the five stages of the commissioning process:

  1. The Development Stage, when preliminary and non-binding discussions are taking place between composers and commissioners regarding the creation and financing of a new work;
  2. The Deal Memo/Contract Stage, when the parties begin to align around material terms for the commissioning project, possibly committing early development funding for a potential project;
  3. The Preparation and Delivery” Stage, when the composer is focused on creating, composing, and delivering the work;
  4. The Premiere” Stage, when the work is given its first rehearsals and public performances; and
  5. The Post-Premiere Stage, when subsequent performances, regional premieres, and the first recordings of the work may take place.
Ari Solotoff

Ari Solotoff is an entertainment lawyer and the Managing Attorney at Solotoff Law. He launched the firm in 2020 with a specialized focus on counseling clients at the intersection of copyright, entertainment, and the arts. In addition, Ari serves as an adjunct professor at the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan, where he teaches courses on Music Law and Legal Issues in the Arts. Ari’s practice uniquely blends representation of a diverse range of clients, who are known for defining and defying contemporary culture (Billboard-charting catalogs; Pulitzer Prize-winning literary authors; and today’s leading composers, concert artists, and ensembles), and copyright-driven cases.

The Discussion Guide is made possible, in part, by a grant from Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership’s funds from the Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research, Solotoff Law, and contributions from composers, artistic administrators, managers, and publishers.