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video game soundtrack - do we need a contract?
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psyche101
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29th June 2009
Old 29th June 2009
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Arrow video game soundtrack - do we need a contract?

Hi,

We're currently involved in music production for two seperate video games.

Both are small scale, independent (i.e. hobby) developers and there aren't any distribution or publishing deals in place at present.

We're an unsigned partnership making music in our spare time.


Would it be best to draw up some kind of written contract incase the game is ever released?

What would be the first steps to make this happen? Free websites / lawyers?

Is it normal to work for no upfront fee (i.e. just possible royalties)?

What percentage of royalties for a soundtrack might be acceptable?


Any advice would be much appreciated!!

Cheers
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29th June 2009
Old 29th June 2009
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psyche101
Hi,

We're currently involved in music production for two seperate video games.
*** Congrats.

Both are small scale, independent (i.e. hobby) developers and there aren't any distribution or publishing deals in place at present.
*** Nice place to start.

We're an unsigned partnership making music in our spare time.
*** Get some basic terms of agreement circulated, in writing, even if just emails to which both parties agree to some basic material terms.

Would it be best to draw up some kind of written contract in case the game is ever released?
*** Probably not a bad idea.

What would be the first steps to make this happen? Free websites / lawyers?
*** You may not need either on this scale - simple emails can work fine. Write out what you expect in clear easy language. Generally, you already have some form of verbal agreement - just commit that to writing, send it to the other people, and get them to respond that they agree to those terms as well - should be that simple.

Is it normal to work for no upfront fee (i.e. just possible royalties)?
*** Everything is "normal" depending on the situation. Generally speaking no upfront fee would require that the creator of the music, is the owner of the music. Generally in video games, films, tv, the producers own the masters and 100% of the publishers share of the publishing - but in cases like this, the creator of the music, not the producer of the game should own those rights.

What percentage of royalties for a soundtrack might be acceptable?
*** Royalties from a Soundtrack Album or Game sales? Music isn't paid royalties on Game sales - it's always a flat fee. Soundtrack Album royalties range from 12-20% but in this case, you'd own the masters so you'd get 100%.

Any advice would be much appreciated!!

Cheers
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1st July 2009
Old 1st July 2009
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If you get royalties on a video game you'd be the only person in the world - unless it's a music game, and even then it's sales figure buyouts - slightly different from a royalty.. It's al work for hire in the business. You will need a contract and NO it isn't normal to work for no money.

Now - bearing in mind it's a hobbyist affair - you may be able to get something quite groovey !!
psyche101
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2nd July 2009
Old 2nd July 2009
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Thanks for the replies, much appreciated

I think one dev is suggesting payment per-song.

I'm unsure how to approach this, something like $200 per song to get the ball rolling?

We don't want to come across as greedy or under-sell ourselves...
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3rd July 2009
Old 3rd July 2009
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that's very low. Why don't you do a teared payment plan.

Set the proper worth of what you are doing - a guide is $300 - $500 a minute - BUT do a low up front figure and only full payment from either receipts or upon a publisher coming on board. that way you can stay price low for the time being and increase when they have budget....
psyche101
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5th July 2009
Old 5th July 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
that's very low. Why don't you do a teared payment plan.

Set the proper worth of what you are doing - a guide is $300 - $500 a minute - BUT do a low up front figure and only full payment from either receipts or upon a publisher coming on board. that way you can stay price low for the time being and increase when they have budget....
Thank you for the advice - we floated the idea and they've agreed
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