Originally Posted by noiseflaw
If the project is worth anything to them they CAN find something to give you.
But once you accept a NO FEE gig - the balance of power changes. If you have not negotiated anything in return the will feel you don't value 'you' as much as you value 'them'.
Long story short:
Worked with group who liked my work and wanted me to produce and mix a track for them. My FEE was a contract for the song. They enthusiastically agreed.
Song was finished - they liked it - they ask to leave studio with the mix - without a contract.
I remind them of our initial discussion and our agreement. They 'remember' and say they will return with contract.
They return and ask to hear the now improved mix and... take it away - I ask for contract - they still don't have it! ...start saying how 'other' producers they are working with are offering free services…
I say the track does not leave the studio without a contract. They are angry, upset, frustrated. They leave.
They return with contract agreed by both parties - I give them the track and send them subsequent improvements.
The whole scenario really, really, pissed me off because I thought we were friends. and I was very clear and firm about my FEE from the beginning.
I was initially totally flabbergasted with their behaviour, but I had to hold my ground (to define an important boundary).
We no longer work together.
If I had a dollar for every story like this for almost EVERY artist I've worked with...
Some I never worked with again, after they pulled this shit.
Many, I DID work with again, AFTER they signed the agreements.
But, man oh man, are memories SHORT
in this monkey business!
And the shit artists and "collaborators" tried to pull on me is unending
The excuses, rationalizations, bullshit, legal maneuvers, victimization garbage, etc.
I especially love all the charm-school, promises, blatant patronization, and seduction shit female artists pulled on me -
sorry, girls, but you can be REAL dooshebags, sometimes!....holy, moly, the stories I have.
It's gotten to the point that almost every time I see some poor schmuck guitar player producer dude
with some sexy female singer-songwriter artist - my first thought is -
jesus, I wonder how badly that poor **** is getting skrewed!!
Anyway, most artists usually ended up coming back to me with their tails between their legs, and signing my contracts - especially, after realizing that most successful, busy producers didn't give a **** about them - and that the chances of them ever going anywhere without (my or someone's) serious production, marketing, and business support and endless hard work - were virtually zero.
Of the indie bands I produced and co-write with - several artists, bands and collaborators I produced and promoted were signed to majors.
I also worked with major label acts during my artist production and engineering time.
I worked my freeking ASS off for every artist who entered my studio and life.
In general, as I said in another thread, when you work on 'spec', you can 'spec' not to get paid.
I know there are others here with different experience - for better or worse -
but once again, memories get VERY short in most business arrangements - ESPECIALLY, the music business -
but really, in ALL business.
So contracts, in general, are a great idea.
That said, you should NEVER sign a contract with someone you wouldn't do a handshake deal with.
...because, you will almost ALWAYS regret it.
That little feeling in your stomach telling you you can't trust a person - is almost always dead on!
To end this post on a more positive note, there's a TON of joy, inspiration, excitement, electricity, and wonderful experience to be had working with and collaborating with artists, tech professionals, and even industry business folks - but the business side of things is often EXTREMELY difficult for most sensitive, creative folks like us.
Way too often in the music industry, it's the business dealing that kills a potentially successful project.
So, in general, the best idea for success is to make the business arrangements VERY clear, and very pleasant.
This is often a huge challenge, but can CERTAINLY be done, and IS done, for the lucky few.
All just my own experience.
As always, YMMV.