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English language troubles: royalties vs. licenses vs. sales etc.???
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deft_bonz
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#1
21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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English language troubles: royalties vs. licenses vs. sales etc.???

Hi

I need your help, because my business english is not that good.

My situation: I'm producing an album for an english speaking singer, who wants to cover famous jazz songs in an electronical way. Somewhere between lounge and house. Since we take famous songs and don't alter any lyrics and melodies (maybe some notes and repetition here and there) I'd count our songs as covers. Is this correct?

I'd like to set up a contract for our co-work for this project, and it seems we both are not very familiar with the following terms, although she comes from Australia.

As far as I understood it right in english, please correct me:

-) Royalties are the money you get for being the composer and/or copyright owner of a song.

-) Licenses (if this is the right term, please correct me) are the money that come from selling the album.

That would mean for our cover songs, there are no royalties for us, but only licenses from selling.

Is there anything else I need to cover concerning the money flow from selling and playing live or on air?


Thanks a lot in advance for your inputs
Murat
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#2
21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Hi

I need your help, because my business english is not that good.

My situation: I'm producing an album for an english speaking singer, who wants to cover famous jazz songs in an electronical way. Somewhere between lounge and house. Since we take famous songs and don't alter any lyrics and melodies (maybe some notes and repetition here and there) I'd count our songs as covers. Is this correct?

I'd like to set up a contract for our co-work for this project, and it seems we both are not very familiar with the following terms, although she comes from Australia.

As far as I understood it right in english, please correct me:

-) Royalties are the money you get for being the composer and/or copyright owner of a song.

-) Licenses (if this is the right term, please correct me) are the money that come from selling the album.

That would mean for our cover songs, there are no royalties for us, but only licenses from selling.

Is there anything else I need to cover concerning the money flow from selling and playing live or on air?


Thanks a lot in advance for your inputs
Murat
Hi. I started an in-depth reply, but noticed about half way through that I'd got to more than 1000 words, so decided to can it.

Basically this subject is a huge can of worms, so the short answer is:

1) Royalties - yes you are partly right.

2) Licenses - again yes, you're partly right, but overall no, you are wrong.

Bear in mind that there are more than one type of music license and royalty.

You should be aware that music publishing law is extremely complicated and specialised. I absolutely recommend you consult an experienced music industry lawyer before proceeding too much further. The guy who competently handles your house conveyancing is more than like not to have the faintest idea.

This is, in your case, potentially more complex should your artist press & release the final product through an Australian label. APRA (The NZ/Australian performing rights organisation) has quite different rules than, say GEMA here in Germany.

Again, seek out a specialist. If you can't find one in Switzerland, PM me and I'll give you the name of a guy here in Germany. I'm certain he'll be conversant with your laws.

Good luck. Mike
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deft_bonz
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21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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Thanks... she is from Australia but lives here in Switzerland. So we are going to sell the album to a label together. We won't publish ourselves. The idea is to split everything that will come 50/50.


Royalties we won't get anyway for covers.

But then there's the money coming from the selling. I believe it's not called licenses. What term do I need to take for the contract?


Another idea is to leave the incoming money completly to her, but then ask for more money for my work.
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21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Thanks... she is from Australia but lives here in Switzerland. So we are going to sell the album to a label together. We won't publish ourselves. The idea is to split everything that will come 50/50.


Royalties we won't get anyway for covers.

But then there's the money coming from the selling. I believe it's not called licenses. What term do I need to take for the contract?


Another idea is to leave the incoming money completly to her, but then ask for more money for my work.
OK, that's a whole lot simpler. I understood you were going to release the album yourself.

What you will do in that case is "license" the completed album to the label.

All the issues pertaining to copyright will be handled by the label. Your contract would need to make this clear, and would also include, obviously, the amount you will be paid for each copy sold, and how and when this payment will take place.

I'm prepared to bet that the label will also prepare the contract - they'll have a template for this already. I would though make certain a competent lawyer checks it for you.

If you intend to make significant changes to the original arrangements - not the instrumentation but more the melody - I'd still be inclined to consult a music lawyer to see if the changes you've made are sufficient to gain you a point or two of the composition. If the lyrics remain the same, 100% will remain with the original lyricist.

You'll also need a short & simple contract with the singer that defines your arrangement for this project, which is basically what you both will be doing towards the final result plus the 50/50 split.

Again, good luck, Mike
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21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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Originally Posted by Yeah, right... View Post
OK, that's a whole lot simpler. I understood you were going to release the album yourself.

What you will do in that case is "license" the completed album to the label.

All the issues pertaining to copyright will be handled by the label. Your contract would need to make this clear, and would also include, obviously, the amount you will be paid for each copy sold, and how and when this payment will take place.

I'm prepared to bet that the label will also prepare the contract - they'll have a template for this already. I would though make certain a competent lawyer checks it for you.

If you intend to make significant changes to the original arrangements - not the instrumentation but more the melody - I'd still be inclined to consult a music lawyer to see if the changes you've made are sufficient to gain you a point or two of the composition. If the lyrics remain the same, 100% will remain with the original lyricist.

You'll also need a short & simple contract with the singer that defines your arrangement for this project, which is basically what you both will be doing towards the final result plus the 50/50 split.

Again, good luck, Mike

Yes, the label will do the contract between them and our project. That's the usual way. I was talking only about the contract between the singer and me. I was just needing some english clarifications. In German I'd know how to set up the contract, but not in english, so she also understands all terms and conditions etc.

The songs (melodies and lyrics) will stay as covers and all the money will flow to the copyright owner. That's the easier way, than starting to claim any copyrights. So we also stay very close to the original. Leaving whole parts (like solos) out, or more repetitions don't count anyway as changes.


So in fact, what we are going to split is the money we get for licensing the songs to a label. In english I'd say we sell (in fact it's more of a "rent", because usually you get them back after 10 years) the publishing rights to the label, and the money we get for it (e.g. for every sold media, download, etc.) is going to be split.

But for pure covers there is generally no split, because there won't be any money. Or we can get in touch with the copyright owner and he accepts some changes and we get a partial of the royalities (wish me good luck for this )
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21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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You really want to talk to an industry lawyer about that, brother. The copyright laws change from territory to territory. And terminologies change as well.

What you think is a 50/50 may not be so 50/50, as there are so many other stuff involved in this along the way.

B.
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21st March 2012
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Originally Posted by Barish View Post
You really want to talk to an industry lawyer about that, brother. The copyright laws change from territory to territory.

What you think is a 50/50 may not be so 50/50, as there are so many other stuff involved in this along the way.

B.
So you mean, even if it's a cover, we can get copyright issues in another country, although it's a completly legal thing in Switzerland?
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21st March 2012
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Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
So you mean, even if it's a cover, we can get copyright issues in another country, although it's a completly legal thing in Switzerland?
Yes.
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21st March 2012
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So that means I can't produce a cover from Bülent Ersoy in an EDM way and sell it worldwide?

Is that for example not allowed in Turkey to play/cover other people's songs?
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21st March 2012
Old 21st March 2012
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Don't get me started

Do you know that, in order to get my points as "producer", I need to put myself as the "arranger" onto the sheet to MESAM/MSG here, even though I am the guy who hires an arranger to do an arrangement to a section of my production?

And if I forget to put it in writing in advance, the law gives that arranger 10% automatically, while I get a sweet bugger-all if I try to put myself in as the "producer", for to be able to be a producer, I need to be a chartered label registered to another body called MÜYAP, for some suckers failed to distinguish the producers role from an executive producers, so the law makers thought it was an erroneous repeat and "corrected" it by themselves?

And if I am covering a song, then I need to be a member of another body called MÜYORBIR, in order to get a share from my rendition of somebody else's song?

And even though I, the artist, am the guy who pays for everything for the production of my album, I can not have my album released and put on the shelves and got into legal pay-per-listen/download networks unless I register myself with MÜYAP, which costs over 10,000TL (say 4,200Euros+) alone and requires me to release two albums in my first year to avoid expulsion as a label, if I am accepted among their gang at all? Or otherwise I have to sign my album away to a label that is already registered, which is not obliged (and not voluntary either) to pay me a cent to have that album in their catalogue?

Wherever you are on earth, just bear in mind that all the corners are already taken, buddy.

"Bir dokun, bin ah isit."



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23rd March 2012
Old 23rd March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
... a Bülent Ersoy cover in an EDM way...
This is one of the most frightening ideas I've ever heard - how could you have let this enter your head?
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24th March 2012
Old 24th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Hi

I need your help, because my business english is not that good.

My situation: I'm producing an album for an english speaking singer, who wants to cover famous jazz songs in an electronical way. Somewhere between lounge and house. Since we take famous songs and don't alter any lyrics and melodies (maybe some notes and repetition here and there) I'd count our songs as covers. Is this correct?
yes, they are covers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
I'd like to set up a contract for our co-work for this project, and it seems we both are not very familiar with the following terms, although she comes from Australia.

As far as I understood it right in english, please correct me:

-) Royalties are the money you get for being the composer and/or copyright owner of a song.
there are several kinds of royalties. royalties to the songwriters and publishers, which are commonly known as the mechanical royalties. these are paid to the original song writers and their respective publishers. depending on the territory you are in you need to clear these rights differently. in the USA you can cover any song you want, but you have to get a compulsory mechanical license first...

Cover song questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
-) Licenses (if this is the right term, please correct me) are the money that come from selling the album.
well, yes and no.

when you sell your new recording of the cover there are two royalties...

1) the royalty to the song writers/publishers which requires the compulsory mechanical license

2) the performance royalty paid to the performer of the new recording


Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
That would mean for our cover songs, there are no royalties for us, but only licenses from selling.
kinda backwards... you'll get the royalties from the new recording, but you'll have to pay the original songwriters for the composition.

[
Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
B]Is there anything else I need to cover concerning the money flow from selling and playing live or on air?[/B]
for album sales you'll be responsible for paying the mechanicals, in most of europe this is done at the pressing plant, and/or itunes pays it at the point of sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Thanks a lot in advance for your inputs
Murat
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#13
24th March 2012
Old 24th March 2012
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Originally Posted by tjporter View Post
This is one of the most frightening ideas I've ever heard - how could you have let this enter your head?
I don't agree with the idea either but that's where the money is in this town, buddy

It took me quite a while to come to terms with it, but such is life. Sigh.

My current drummer is also working with her... him... her... err... whatever.

Okay, gotta go and call my plastic surgeon, sorry...

B.
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24th March 2012
Old 24th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barish View Post
My current drummer is also working with her... him... her... IT... whatever.

Okay, gotta go and call my plastic surgeon, sorry...

B.
Sounds like a dying cat...at least isn't on any Idol-type juries at the moment
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24th March 2012
Old 24th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjporter View Post
This is one of the most frightening ideas I've ever heard - how could you have let this enter your head?
I was listening to him...her...him...err...IT when I was young and loved the songs. When I saw that Barish is from Istanbul Bülent popped up in my mind... scary
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