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Business relationship between a tiny record company (me) and a musician
Old 27th June 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
Business relationship between a tiny record company (me) and a musician

I'm about to move into a new house. More than enough space for the two of us, and I'm excited to make it usable as an occasional recording space (I have a non-audio day job). I'm planning to track on the first floor, with a bedroom as the control/mix room, but that's not the purpose of this thread.

I realized a long time ago that just about all musicians willing to work with a hobby studio have zero money to contribute. I'm fortunate enough that I have a decent job, so I can spend some time on audio work for fun, without asking for money. Maybe I'd ask for a cut of the (probably tiny) profits. I guess that makes me a record label. I don't play any instruments, but I own the mics, track, mix, etc.

Before I move in, I'm asking myself what sort of arrangement I'd propose between myself and a potential client/collaborator. Here's what I've drafted:

-- I will record, mix, and master or have mastered
-- I will provide technical creative input through this process
-- I will provide all necessary music recording equipment and space
-- I will NOT advertise, promote, market, or find gigs
-- I will NOT pay for session musicians
-- I will get 20% of profit from sales and streams

-- Musician will begin sessions ready to record (not a practice space)
-- Musician will provide all necessary musical instruments and equipment (no house anything, at least for now)
-- Musician will get 80% of profit from sales and streams

Either I or Musician may decline to engage in this agreement for a specific track or in general, until a recording has finished tracking. After a tracking session, I commit to create a final product, and Musician agrees to distribution of profits.

Plan B is always available, which is just paying me for my time, and then I do whatever you like.


What do you guys think? Is this reasonable and straightforward? I'm especially curious about the 20% number, which I picked without any real context. This is just meant to outline a gentlemen's agreement; not have any legal weight.
Old 27th June 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 
nuemes's Avatar
 

Old 27th June 2019
  #3
20% of 0 is 0.
Old 27th June 2019
  #4
It doesn’t make you a label. It makes you a sort of investor.

You’re very unlikely to see anything out of this sort of arrangement, even if a watertight contract. Most people won’t recoup anything.

With just a “gentleman’s agreement”, you definitely won’t.
Old 27th June 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
 

If you are doing this for fun and don't care if you make money or not, start a publishing company and publish every song you cut. Build up a library, and let the artists sell it for you. Collect your royalties, or don't.
Old 27th June 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
You're right, 20% of zero is zero, which is what small local artists have. But my goal isn't to make money from this activity, it's just to have fun engaging in a hobby.

With that said, would the better option be to just give my time away to whoever I want to work with? The outcome would almost certainly be the same ($0), and I'd avoid even having these discussions. If I just said "bring beer" I'd be ahead of any fraction of profits.
Old 27th June 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pemberley View Post
You're right, 20% of zero is zero, which is what small local artists have. But my goal isn't to make money from this activity, it's just to have fun engaging in a hobby.

With that said, would the better option be to just give my time away to whoever I want to work with? The outcome would almost certainly be the same ($0), and I'd avoid even having these discussions. If I just said "bring beer" I'd be ahead of any fraction of profits.
Do the first song as a freebie maybe, but make it clear that’s what it is - if you get known as the “free guy” there’ll never be any advancement.

Or - as has been suggested, be a label/publisher on your own terms. Lot more work there though!
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