Setting Up Your Entertainment Business – A DIY Checklist

  1. Become acquainted with your state’s Secretary of State (“SOS”) website. It has a wealth of information to guide you in creating your corporate structure. Most states allow for you to form businesses online by filling out contact information and providing the applicable fee.
  2. Do a name search just to be sure that your business name of choice is available in your state.
  3. Locate the corporations tab on the relevant SOS website and follow the prompts to creating the corporate structure of your choice.
  4. You must have a registered agent in the state of registration of the business. There are entities that provide this service for a yearly fee. If you are filing a business in the state in which you reside, you may be your own registered agent. The registered agent is the individual responsible for receipt of service of process for your business. All this means is that if you are sued and have to be personally served, someone has to be on file as a person authorized to receive summons on behalf of your business. Contact us if you need a registered agent in the state of Georgia.
  5. Wait for confirmation from the SOS that your business entity has been formed.
  6. Draft entity documentation (Operating Agreement for LLC, Bylaws for Corporation, Partnership Agreement for Partnerships, Joint Venture Agreement for Joint Ventures) Contact us for all of your drafting needs.
  7. Apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The application is fairly simple and straight forward and can be done online at, or you can file a paper application (Form SS-4) and mail it in to the IRS. More information can be found on the IRS website. An EIN provides the business with an identification number for income tax purposes so that you do not have to use your social security number on financial documents related to your business. You will need this to set up a business bank account.
  8. Open up a business banking account with an accredited financial institution (e.g. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, Suntrust, etc.). You will need a copy of your organizational documents (i.e. Operating Agreement, Articles of Organization, DBA certificate, etc.) indicating that you are a registered entity and describing people who will be authorized to transact with the bank on your company’s behalf. Shop around to different banks to find out their account requirements and associated fees in order to ensure you select an account type that is best suited for your needs.
  9. Manage all business-related operations through your loan out company. This means sign all contracts in the name of your business. Pay yourself a salary from your business account to your personal account – DO NOT just use your business bank account as your personal account. Your business bank account statement should only contain transactions related to your business!
  10. Affiliate with SoundExchange and register all the songs in which you perform as a recording artist on them. Contact us to order our E-Books entitled “Monetize Your Music” and “Music Publishing” for more details.

Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Funderburg Law, LLC, an Atlanta based entertainment law firm. Lerae has almost 10 years of experience in entertainment law in both music law and film law. As an entertainment lawyer and blogger, Lerae keeps her viewers and subscribers up to date with entertainment law news, especially in the areas of music, copyright law and trademark law. If you are local to Atlanta, call and set up a consultation! She would love to hear from you!

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