Licensing and Taxation for Self-Employed Music Professionals

Licensing and Taxation for Self-Employed Musicians

Does the thought of setting up your own business as a self-employed musician make you break out in a sweat, especially around tax time?

Come learn the ins and outs with Todd Gardner, Berklee faculty member in the Music Business/Management Department. He will discuss the following:

  • Going into business in California and other U.S. states
  • Choosing the proper entity and the steps in forming a sole proprietorship (SP), general partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation, with particular attention paid to SP and LLC
  • Filing for a business license in various cities and counties
  • Hiring employees, collaborating with others, and common tax issues
  • Finding free or inexpensive resources for the process in Los Angeles or anywhere else you find yourself  


Gardner has spent more than 20 years as a musician, business consultant, litigator, mediator, facilitator, lecturer, and problem solver. His experience varies widely and includes contracts, environmental and health law, administrative enforcement, entertainment law, after-school media and arts programs for at-risk youth, litigation in both civil and criminal cases, interagency negotiations, community disputes, workplace conflicts, business development, and licensing and land-use disputes. He has also been an official NGO observer in the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen, Denmark. When not engaged in those pursuits or teaching in the Music Business Department at Berklee, he is the drummer for the JD Moffat Quartet.

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