Posted by: Tobias | August 7, 2008

Rock music and contract theory

It is the conventional view in the discipline of law and economics that complete contracts, i.e. contracts that define precisely what is to be done in every eventuality, are either prohibitively expensive or even in principle impossible to write. The best we can hope for are contracts which make relatively broad stipulations and work reasonably well in the majority of cases.

That, however, has apparently not kept Sting from trying to cover all his bases and write just such a contract with the other members of The Police for the reunion tour that ends today. His bandmate Stewart Copeland tells Der Spiegel about the extent of his micro-management:

Copeland: Wir haben vier Monate mit Proben verbracht. Mir persönlich hätten zwei Wochen gereicht. Doch allein der Vertrag für unseren ersten Gig hatte 37 Seiten, in denen vorgeschrieben war, wie genau wir welche Songs zu spielen hatten. Das wurde erst später etwas lockerer. [We spent four months rehearsing. For me personally two weeks would have been enough. The contract for the first gig alone had 37 and specified precisely how we were to play each song. That loosened up a bit only later.]



  1. The first gig described in a 37 pages contract the following statement made in the interview: ‘Wir sind nicht mehr die selben Leute und passen nicht mehr so zusammen’ can be considered the understatement of the month.

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