When PBSC Windsor Program Coordinator Shawn Stewart began law school, he already had a career as a musician under his belt. He knew very well the challenges that musicians face. Shawn explains, “[t]rying to navigate the music scene is not easy, and I have done a lot of work through the years contacting different avenues that can help a band tour [and] record.” Windsor-Essex, Ontario, is home to over 2,000 professional musicians. The health of this substantial industry is a priority of the Windsor Essex Music Advisory Council, PBSC’s organization partner on this project.
Drawing on his contacts in the music industry and insider knowledge of life as a musician, Shawn reached out David McNevin — a University of Windsor Faculty of Law professor and a labour and employment lawyer familiar with the Windsor music scene. Shawn met David over the summer of 2017 to pitch the idea of creating a manual to answer musicians’ legal questions. Together they came up with a project structure that is both ambitious and innovative.
The Windsor Music Project involves 12 PBSC volunteers working in teams to develop a six-chapter manual for musicians who seek to understand the legal landscape of the music industry. The manual will cover topics such as the legal construct of a band, intellectual property and copyright, legal issues that arise in touring, the role of a musician’s union, contracts with third parties, and the practicalities of operating a business. The final manual will be presented at a public legal education seminar in March 2018. According to Professor McNevin, “[The] Windsor Music Project will provide musicians in Windsor and Essex County with information to assist them in identifying critical legal issues to plan ahead for a successful career as they navigate the ever changing landscape of the music business.”
We look forward to seeing the manual available to artists working in and around Windsor.
PBSC Windsor Program Coordinator Shawn Stewart in the recording studio