So if a record contract is not the Holy Grail for musicians, what is it? Mike Visceglia, bassist for Suzanne Vega, argues that a good recording contract is more like catching the white rabbit than finding the cup to everlasting life. In a two-part article on his Web site, Visceglia advises young and unsigned artists how to navigate the quagmire of contracts. Mechanical royalties and CD-sales-based royalties are the two main income streams, he explains, and understanding the differences can determine an artist's financial stability. He offers tips on how to avoid becoming one of the many musicians who are lied or cheated out of their earnings with illegal and unethical agreements. One of the best things an artist can do is find sound legal counsel. "Pick a good lawyer with no allegiances to any particular record company," Visceglia writes, "and make sure you have clear auditing rights to delve into the murky corporate accounting that's maybe hiding the money that is rightfully yours."