I have a situation that I need some guidance and feedback on.
Way back in the early days of my engineering-for-money adventure, I tracked and mixed 9 songs for a local band.
I was paid at the time of the work (something crazy like $200... so long ago I don't remember, and nothing was ever on paper.)
The work I did technically included "record production", as I have always been aggressive about people being in tune, and I have always had a knack for knowing when a take is right or not right.
But to say I "produced" these tracks in the classic sense would be a stretch. The band had a sound, knew what they wanted, and wouldn't have let me interfere too much had I even wanted to.
The sessions were fun, fast, low key, low tech. I was young and they were even younger, none of us really knew what we were doing, but the result was pretty good.
Nothing to write home about technically, but the tracks had a great energy that still translates today, really fun recordings to listen to.
Not a terrible showing on my part, despite how inexperienced I was. This is largely due to the songwriter and singer, who was incredibly talented.
When we were done, the band took all the masters. (which was a couple of 1/2" 8 track analog reels, and the DAT tapes of the mixes.)
At the time I didn't make any backups for myself or for safety. It seemed greedy and weird to do so at the time.
Massive, massive mistake. I was young and was not thinking of the future...
All of what I tracked and mixed for the band (save one song) was released at the time on various 7" and 10" vinyl pressings. Nothing digital.
Years go by, and lo and behold these guys become a hugely famous and dare I say influential band.
The band changed their name sometime after I worked with them, and their subsequent success is 100% encompassed by their newer and still current name brand.
Fast forward to now:
The band now have plans to remaster and re-release all the recordings they made during the early period, before they changed their name.
(this includes a full length CD that I did not work on)
The original masters for the songs I did cannot be found by the band, so they contacted me to ask if I had any of it.
All I had was the original vinyl pressings, barely played, and a cassette of about half the songs, printed directly from the master DAT tape right after the mix sessions. (thank god for that cassette)
The one band member that I know best and I eventually decided to gather all the vinyl we had between us, and do a transfer into Pro Tools with some good converters, etc.
These transfers would just have to be the new "masters". Nothing else we could do really.
I've appealed to the band to search and search again for the lost masters. It may pan out and they may find something, but maybe not...
I struck a deal with the band for my help in compiling and transferring all this stuff. It was a flat fee, and pretty reasonable for both parties. Under a grand.
They did need my help, and definitely my cassette, but really I am not doing a whole lot here.
For my flat fee, I've agreed to assemble a master for them, as I do a lot of mastering for local clients so it's something I can do decently well.
But all parties know that my master is a temporary solution, and I have strongly encouraged them to get the project mastered by a pro M.E.
If my master is helpful to the process, or even used in the end, that would be great but really I'm just doing it to be cool, and satisfy myself, practice, etc...
I have completed the vinyl / cassette transfer and delivered the raw tracks via a very simple and clean Pro Tools session.
I also wrote fairly extensive notes about the original sessions, and the current vinyl / cassette transfer session, in order to hopefully help the eventual mastering engineer put it all together.
I have all sorts of people asking me if I am getting "royalties", "publishing", etc., as part of this new release.
I have no such agreement, and I'm wondering if it's appropriate. I've never been the aggressively opportunistic type, which is how I would instinctively feel about trying to get publishing here.
But then again, maybe I actually do deserve it and it's a perfectly typical scenario in a situation like this?
I have no experience in this arena so I have no clue. All my work has only been local and regional bands, nothing nearly this official. In fact this is the first time I've ever had to sign a W-9, invoice a record label, etc.
Painfully out of my league here, I could really use some advice...
Even the smallest cut of a project like this could change my life financially, but I don't want to be inappropriate just because of that.
How should I proceed here?