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Turn Up the Volume

Taking a Listen to the Business Side of Being a Musician in California

It’s no secret that people flock to California to fulfill their dreams of becoming a musician. Obviously, having the skill and the passion is a huge (necessary) part of making it big, but what type of business savvy is involved? Have you ever wondered what is required to become a musician? Or that being a musician is a business? Let’s take a look at what you may need to get started. 

As an individual embarks on their chosen journey, a career in music and in the music business, it is essential for them to have a basic understanding of the complexities and formalities associated with operating a legitimate business. You should treat your “musical career” as a full-time occupation in order to prosper and succeed on this journey.

In fact, in order to better protect their personal assets, many musical acts typically create a business entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). These limited liability entities shield the owners from personal liability for any claims arising from any contracts or other arrangements entered into on behalf of the individual through its corporate or LLC entity.

Generally, these individual’s business entities are called a “loan-out company”. These loan-out companies typically enter into a contract with a third-party as part of a loan-out agreement. Ultimately, the corporate entity, not the members of it, is liable for any debts or contractual obligations of the entity and creditors generally cannot recover against each individual’s personal assets. This protects a person’s assets from judgments or outstanding debts.

For example, this is beneficial if you are a member of a four-person musical group and during your live performance, a member spills a drink on the club’s soundboard and destroys it. If the live performance agreement at the venue is solely entered into with the band’s loan-out company (which it should be), the loan-out company will be the only party contractually responsible for the damaged property and each member will not be personally liable for the damage. The venue’s only recourse is to go after the corporate entity (which may not have assets) and, not each individual band member, for payment to fix or replace the broken equipment.

While shielding an individual from personal liability is one of the most important advantages of creating a corporate entity, there are also several other important benefits for an artist’s career. One is that having a separate corporate entity permits the musician to open a corporate bank account in an assumed name. This also facilitates easier tracking of your expenses and permits the deduction, or “writing off”, of relevant properly documented business expenses.

In order to determine a corporate entity’s eligibility for these deductions and not have the Internal Revenue Services (I.R.S.) categorize your musical career as “a hobby” (which disallows the deducting of your losses), the entity must substantiate that they are actually carrying on the business activity (music career) for profit or to attempt a profit. Since most artists do not typically make a profit and end up incurring losses for great spans of time, they may be permitted to deduct these documented losses on their tax returns.

It is also important to organize and document these expense records in case the tax authorities are interested in a more detailed examination of them. Keeping copies of receipts and utilizing a separate credit/debit card solely for entertainment related expenses makes it easier to target the deposits and credits to the corporate account.

Another benefit is that a corporate entity typically is governed by a written contract (an operating agreement for an LLC or a shareholder agreement for a Corporation) that outlines how the entity will operate. This includes an outline of the split of any profits and losses among owners.

Also, it specifies how any management decisions shall be addressed and how additional owners and members can be added (or removed) to an entity. These companies also provide easy management over any artist owned intellectual property (i.e. sound recordings, audio-visual works, photographs, logos) for licensing and distribution purposes as well as any tangible property (e.g., studio recording equipment, instruments, mixers).

Without these outlined procedures, it may be very difficult to make certain career decisions, especially when more than one individual may be involved in these important career choices.

While these business entities provide numerous benefits to its owners, there are potential ways a third-party can “pierce the corporate veil.” That is an attempt to attach an individual’s personal assets and disregard an existing corporate entity’s protection of its owners. Thus, it is essential that the company follows any and all statutory procedures and guidelines, which are different in each state.

It is vital that the entity is utilized for a proper purpose and not just merely as a shield from personal liability. Some of these corporate formalities include the preparation of annual corporate minutes to ensure the corporation is a real functioning entity. Also, careful use of business bank accounts as well as their separation from personal accounts are crucial formalities to follow.

Some labels may even require the creation of a corporate entity to permit accounting and payment by utilizing the entity’s Tax-ID/EIN number as opposed to paying an individual personally. An E.I.N. is an employer identification number and is analogous to the company’s social security number.

A final note, every individual must file its own personal federal as well as, possibly, state tax returns for the state they live in; however, an entertainer may have to deal with separate personal state tax issues in several states that they earn income from. Again, please consult an accountant or tax representative regarding the appropriate filings.

This article is not intended as legal advice, as an attorney and/or an accountant specializing in the field should be consulted.

Applying for a Business Loan with an EIN Number

So what is involved when you are applying for EIN funding /a business loan with an EIN number? Using an Employer Identification Number, or EIN number, can only legally be done as a business entity. Using an EIN in place of a social security number on a personal credit application is a crime. However, legitimate businesses with an EIN number and other corporate documents, such as a license and state incorporation, can apply for loans and credit cards. In some cases, however, the owner’s social security number may still be required.

When you are applying with us for your business loan, provide your EIN number along with the company information, such as the year it started and the nature of the business.

Decide if your loan needs also include credit cards. If so, these are fairly easy to obtain using an EIN number and other business information. Start with office supply stores, such as Staples, and then move on to department stores, gas stations and major credit cards.

With the opportunities for small businesses booming, why wait another moment. What is keeping you down? Financial restraints have been a complaint for many of the dreamers, limiting themselves to their immediate funds. There is an alternative. If you have the dreams and decent credit, Small Business Loans , No Doc Loans , and EIN Number Funding are available to you. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge you need and the resources available to make your dream a reality. Give us a call – we have the education and the perspective to help you obtain the loans you need for your small business. Visit our website or give us a call to find out what financial backing is available to make your business soar!

Unsecured Finances has over 10 years in the consulting business! We specialized in educating and assisting clients on acquiring Unsecured Business Loans and Start-Up Business Specialty Loans including; Unsecured No Documentation (No-Doc Stated Income) Loans, Unsecured Business Loans, and Unsecured Start-Up Business Loans and Lines of Credit from $10,000 to $500,000 without Assets.

Apply on our website to find out if you qualify, or call today for a free consultation: 1-888-294-2584

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