Originally Posted by Bigdorkus
Yeah 3rd degree thats my concern here. Our agreement was five songs to completion, of which at this point is down to vocals and some color tracks. All tracks up untill now have been payed as we go. I am wondering if he thinks I will take the tracks, mix them myself or take them some place else. Or at the end of this when its finished there will be an "added value tax" kind of ugly surprise. I have every intention of staying till they are done and the rough mix he gives me is fine for what I need to do with it but I don't want to get screwed. Its his unwillingness to load the tracks to my HD that gives me pause. And my position, as it has been underscored here, that I have payed cash and I have nothing in writing.
This is my first time in the studio and this guy seemed knowledgeable and professional, so I have followed his lead on most every aspect of it. I have one more question perhaps someone could answer for me. In the end when I am finished and he has mixed it, what is the common practice? Do I get the tracks and the finished product ? I appreciate all the views and perspectives on this. Thanks
Hey I'm glad you posted a follow-up. The moral of the story here is communication and planning. ALL of this stuff about track ownership and deliverables should have been discussed prior to any handshakes or money changing hands.
We're past that now so let's see where we stand. You have a 5 COMPLETE tracking/mixing (mastering?) agreement with an engineer. Nothing in writing. Things are good except he won't give you tracks yet.
In the United States the engineer, when not agreed that he is a "work for hire", does indeed own the recordings. However you own the performance, lyrics and melody so it's not like he can sell the tracks for profit or anything.
You definitely need to have a one on one with this engineer. He may be getting paranoid that you are going to screw him over. I've had it happen to me where I released stems and the next thing you know the band is using a cracked version of Pro Tools or whatever DAW they got and we never finished their album. Having my name on a record that was poorly mixed tarnishes my reputation.
As far as written agreements not being the case at studios I'm not sure. I do written agreements all the time now so expectations are clearly layed out.
Here comes the most useful post I've ever put on GS, some of my contract provisions:
- Contract is governed by the laws of New York. New York, being a media center, has a lot of specific laws relating to recording studios that are clearly spelled out. If a lawsuit is ever filed this would be advantageous
- Usage for marketing. Most bands don't have a problem with me posting a sample of their songs on the studio website. But if relationships ever go bad I'd like to keep the option of marketing work I am proud of.
- Copyright ownership. Typically I give ownership to the recordings to the band. For free work I will put a 10,000 sale/copy cap because you never know what band may hit it big...And yeah signed bands will typically re-record at a bigger/higher end studio but for potential box sets or b-releases they would like those earlier recordings, no doubt.
- Deliverables, timeliness (when things are due) and price. Also at which landmarks in time are payments due. I typically do 1/2 to reserve studio time, 1/2 before we start recording day-of, 1/2 retainer for mixing and final payment due upon satisfaction of client. Then the rest spells out what exactly they get (disc with data, playable music CD, mp3 on FTP server, etc.)
- Lateness provisions. Studio time starts at reserved time not when client decides to show up. If client finishes up early they do not receive money back for unused time.
- Credit, for myself/my studio on the band's website (wherever they post tracks) along with on any CD booklet materials.
- This is a very important one. I'll copy and paste it right from the legalese in my contract:
RIGHT TO CURE
No failure by xxx xxx, xxx Studio or [artist] to perform any Licensee’s obligations hereunder shall be deemed a breach hereof, unless the party gives the other parties written notice of such failure and the latter party fails to cure such nonperformance within thirty (30) days after former party’s receipt of such notice.
In other words if somebody f*cks up you have to give them time to correct their mistake.
- Arbitration clause (to avoid having to go to "real court"):
8. ARBITRATION: Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Agreement or any breach thereof shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Rules of the American Arbitration Association.
and finally the all important clause that will save your butt if ever sued. The provision that says only the stuff in writing counts:
4. ENTIRE AGREEMENT
This Agreement sets forth the entire understanding of the parties thereto relating to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior agreements, whether oral or written, pertaining thereto. No modifications, amendment, or waiver of this Agreement or any of the terms or provisions hereof shall be binding upon the parties unless confirmed by a written instrument signed by authorized officers of the parties.
That's all I got for now, peace out gentlemen.