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Rights to songs I record?
Old 29th August 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
valleysound's Avatar
 

Rights to songs I record?

I'm thinking of a new way to offer my service to clients who don't want to pay out of pocket. I do live/mobile recording. I was thinking of having them sign some kind of release or otherwise legal binding document that says I own the recording I made. Also, there is a TV/video production company near me that is always looking for background music for their shows, and they require a release for them to use the songs.
Example: I record Joe and the Schmoes live at the Enormodome. I have a document that is easy to read and understand that does not require a lawyer, saying that I can use the recording any way I want. Is this viable or getting more complicated than I would want to deal with?
Kind of short post, but basically it would entitle me to release the songs to make a profit since I would give the band a break for ownership of the recording. They would be allowed to what they want with the recording too, maybe I would get a dollar or two per album they sell.
Let's here your opinions!
Old 29th August 2007
  #2
Gear Nut
 
GungaDin's Avatar
 

I like the general idea of simple contracts that are easy to understand and manipulate for things like sharing publishing, or getting a simple percentage of any money made from a particular recording.

Is there a way around hiring "music" or "entertainment" lawyers to do these things? Maybe someone can point us towards a book or an online resource?
Old 29th August 2007
  #3
6293
Guest
not positive but couldnt you have a member of the band (the whole band, writer, whatever) meet you at a notary's office? they are usually cheap and lots of mail boxes etc. joints offer notary services. this way the agreement is official without all the legalese. anybody know if this is legit?
Old 30th August 2007
  #4
The issue is not writing the agreement or getting the band to sign it. The issue is how do you enforce it? Who cares if you can use the recording for something, because how often is that need going to arise, especially out of a live performance situation?

If you go the percentage of publishing route, you still have to worry about being notified of the use of the material anywhere in the world, plus that artist would need to have an ASCAP or BMI publishing company where you and the artist would jointly register that song (and to be honest, if they already have a publishing company and they are playing a song live, odds are it's already registered and your agreement would post date the initial title registration - this means that unless the initial registration was amended your new registration means nothing).

IMHO, the best idea is to ask for a nominal fee for your services if you aren't comfortable with asking for your normal rates (or at least some sort of reasonable rate for your services).
Old 30th August 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
valleysound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
The issue is not writing the agreement or getting the band to sign it. The issue is how do you enforce it? Who cares if you can use the recording for something, because how often is that need going to arise, especially out of a live performance situation?

If you go the percentage of publishing route, you still have to worry about being notified of the use of the material anywhere in the world, plus that artist would need to have an ASCAP or BMI publishing company where you and the artist would jointly register that song (and to be honest, if they already have a publishing company and they are playing a song live, odds are it's already registered and your agreement would post date the initial title registration - this means that unless the initial registration was amended your new registration means nothing).

IMHO, the best idea is to ask for a nominal fee for your services if you aren't comfortable with asking for your normal rates (or at least some sort of reasonable rate for your services).
I would get the basic rate of showing up at the gig and recording, but I would let the post production studio time slide.
I wouldn't be able to enforce worldwide use of the song, what I'm after is the OK to go ahead and push the songs to make money from them. I NEVER sell songs or use them in any way except maybe as a nameless demo of my skills, being that they are somebody else's property. I just want the artist to agree, with some legal upholdings, that I can do what I want with the songs. With my connection to the video production company, I would at the minimum, get credits on all their productions with "my" music. Example: Joe Shmoe appears courtesy of Valley Sound, or something like that. If it generates interest, it gets me noticed. Also, I can make compilation albums or release the albums on my own. If I never get any more money out of the band, no big deal, but I would try to make the songs earn money, maybe even CDBaby or some service like that.
Old 30th August 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackfish View Post
not positive but couldnt you have a member of the band (the whole band, writer, whatever) meet you at a notary's office? they are usually cheap and lots of mail boxes etc. joints offer notary services. this way the agreement is official without all the legalese. anybody know if this is legit?
I'd like it to be something that could be done right at the gig. Fast and convienient. You sign here, I sign here. Thank you!!
Old 30th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
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Why would you want the rights to someone else's creation and/or performance? Wouldn't it be better to give most of the money to the artist and perhaps charge a % for your work and troubles? It took a hell of a lot more time for them to write,arrange, and rehearse the material than for you to record it, and the majority of any profits made as a result of that creation should go to them. Besides, you will be working with multiple artists, and thus have multiple avenues of income, which is usually not the case for the artist.It's always a good idea to be honest and fair regardless of the level of business savvy of the artist (Who in many cases will agree to almost anything).
Old 30th August 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
Why would you want the rights to someone else's creation and/or performance? Wouldn't it be better to give most of the money to the artist and perhaps charge a % for your work and troubles? It took a hell of a lot more time for them to write,arrange, and rehearse the material than for you to record it, and the majority of any profits made as a result of that creation should go to them. Besides, you will be working with multiple artists, and thus have multiple avenues of income, which is usually not the case for the artist.
I'm only talking about rights to the one live performance that I record. They would get the album done and do what they want and I could do the same. I don't want to be the middle man for selling their album and taking care of the money side unless they want it that way.
The terms would really be up to the artist, maybe they only want to give me two songs from a whole night, I dunno. I suggest to them my way in leu of cash and see if they want it. It really doesn't matter to me how long it took for them to write the material or any of that, I've spent years learning my trade. They should be capable of deciding the pro's and con's. They would save the buck now, but in the long run they may lose out or I may. It is business after all.
My whole idea started because everyone wants a live recording until the price comes up. Well, here's a way to do it with minimum cash outlay.
Old 30th August 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
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I understand what you're saying, but some would consider that exploitation. These are mostly young adults we are talking about who in many cases may have questionable decision making skills. Long term and/or legally binding contracts are almost never in the best interest of the artist. Profit sharing seems much more ethical and fair.
Old 30th August 2007
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
valleysound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by patrox247 View Post
I understand what you're saying, but some would consider that exploitation. These are mostly young adults we are talking about who in many cases may have questionable decision making skills. Long term and/or legally binding contracts are almost never in the best interest of the artist. Profit sharing seems much more ethical and fair.

I'd say less than half are younger bands. Most are groups who have a few studio albums under their belts and realize that they need "that live album". I was hoping to keep it simple, but it seems that there is more involved than I had originally thought. I just want to make live albums, but the cash flow is really not there for me to justify a night of recording and several days to mixing and sometimes album graphic design to make a few hundred dollars. I appreciate your views. I will think up some different options that would give the artist more control while making it profitable for me, even if it is long term.
Old 30th August 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 
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Don't be discouraged. That certainly was not my intent.
I just don't think it is a fair contract that allows you to run around town selling and licensing (etc) an artists music and/or image without restriction and without the artist being properly compensated. There has to be a way that both of you can split the proceeds (hopefully with the artist receiving the majority share). Also most good contracts have time restrictions. You should not have rights to their music and/or image forever. There must be an expiration to any agreement.
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