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Points, credits, agreeing who did what on a project?
Old 26th July 2005
  #1
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Points, credits, agreeing who did what on a project?

*** I'm sure many of you have been involved in a situation like this, and I'd appreciate some common sense advice, just as a starting point

(Yeah I know, "talk to a lawyer" )



Just finished up on a project which went from "demo" to "album", with me as producer, involved from start to finish.

Later, on the understanging I could take it only so far, we re-tracked vocals and some instrumentation with an engineer to bring up the sonic quality (again, with me a producer for the most part... as agreed verbally. This is because of my sonic imprint, which the artist thinks is integral to the sound, BTW

It all worked out great:

A couple of the tracks were re-tracked and produced by the engineer with glorius results. Thats a no-brainer as far as credits go.

Some were re-programmed and added to (drum tracks)

Most were based on the original mixes (using my stems), and remixed with me, artist and engineer all involved...

SO next step is to have a pow-wow to agree on credits:

Best way to go about this?

Hearsay from the artist: Engineer has suggested he gets credited as "Executive Producer"... Not really sure what that means. Doesn't that mean overseeing the entire project, and/or putting money into it?

Thanks for any tips...
Old 26th July 2005
  #2
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cfjis's Avatar
 

Executive Producer is a title given often to money-men or someone who oversaw that project, but didn't necessrily do the hands-on work.

Perhaps a co-production credit, or "additional production by"... however, "additional production by" usually means "project saved from the trash by"... and it doesn't seem as though that's the case here.

I'd suggest going with "Produced by You", then have an asterisk for the tracks in which the engineer did some production, and list those as "Produced by You and Engineer."

Anyway, good luck... crediting can be a strange and tricky thing (dealing with it right now with a band).

-CJ
Old 26th July 2005
  #3
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toolskid's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfjis
I'd suggest going with "Produced by You", then have an asterisk for the tracks in which the engineer did some production, and list those as "Produced by You and Engineer."
-CJ
thats the best way of crediting this project imho, you can avoid the vagueness of co-production credits and the connotations of additional production this way. Same with engineering.

Executive producer is an inaccurate credit for the engineer based upon the information you have given us

Good luck Andy!
Old 26th July 2005
  #4
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Quote:
Later, on the understanging I could take it only so far, we re-tracked vocals and some instrumentation with an engineer to bring up the sonic quality (again, with me a producer for the most part... as agreed verbally
Verbal agreement...That is the bummer here....Not that this helps now, but even a simple agreement (written) before a project starts is the ONLY way to travel.

As for now...just be honest, be level headed and be friendly. Speak your peace and stand your ground...you should get credit on EXACTLY the things you contributed to on this record and nothing more...and the engineer should get credit on EXACTLY the things he contributed to on this record and nothing more..

BTW- It is totally cool and acceptable to share credits also.

'Executive' music producer? On a record?...Never heard of it personally.

'Executive music producer' in Film...of course.

Not sure what he 'did' to warrant that label or album credit but based on your description he simply produced and engineered some of the album..If so then that is what should be his credit.

Keep it simple.
For some reason this kind of thing gets personal ... but business is not personal..it is just protecting everyones best interests.

P&B
Old 26th July 2005
  #5
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DirkB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Verbal agreement...That is the bummer here....Not that this helps now, but even a simple agreement (written) before a project starts is the ONLY way to travel.
Exactly. The producer is the one with his name and signature on the producer contract. If you haven't signed a contract, things can get messy, especially when some money is coming in.

When I'm producing, a contract gets signed before we start. If someone has a problem with that, I know I'm in for trouble so I don't even start...

Good luck,
DIrk
Old 26th July 2005
  #6
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Blast9's Avatar
Yes...

This is something we started a couple of years ago as demos, so you're right, nipping it in the bud with a written agreement is a good way to go right from the beginning:

In any case, there's no fighting going on... Just need a starting point for our "round table summit" :-) "forewarned is forearmed

Thanks for your help!
Old 26th July 2005
  #7
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In respect to points on a album, unless it's a major record deal or major indy deal where a good chunk of records could be sold, points aren't even realistic. Maybe this is a major money maker, I don't know. I've never come accross a project demo that turns into a record and then there being a discussion about points. Either there isn't a reallity of the situation at hand or they're egos have got the best of them. Don't get wrapped up in it.
Credits are a different situation though. Sounds like they hired you because of your talents. Accordingly so, they should give you credit where credit is due. Just like the points thing though, don't get wrapped up in the squobble. It will only stoke the fire. If you recorded/produced some songs on the record take credit for those songs. If the other guy recorded/produced some songs on the record give him credit for those songs. If you co produced some songs with him take credit for that. Honestly I've never been in a situation where the band hasn't been ready and willing to give proper credits. Just be up front with them from the get go about what you expect. They did so with you by coming to you for your ear and knowledge.

B
Old 27th July 2005
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJohnston
In respect to points on a album, unless it's a major record deal or major indy deal where a good chunk of records could be sold, points aren't even realistic. Maybe this is a major money maker, I don't know. I've never come accross a project demo that turns into a record and then there being a discussion about points. Either there isn't a reallity of the situation at hand or they're egos have got the best of them.

B
While I believe you have good intent...That is silly advice.

ALWAYS negotiate points on any record big , small Indy or self released.
That is potentially your future.

There are always a 2 likely scenarios that have happened so many times that it has been written on bathroom walls.

One of those scenarios is that the album does blow up and sells alot of units...
Lot's of folks in history are still crying in thier beer over that scenario.
Even if a band doesn't rocket...the monies from the deal are enough to help feed the family for awhile.

Besides..who is producing artists who they do not believe in? Unlikley to succeed or not makes little difference. This is the music industry where nobody knows anything. Prediction isn't possible and talent is not necessarily a contributing factor to success.

Always get points.

Got a lawyer? Get the straight dope!!

P&B,


Quote:
The producer is the one with his name and signature on the producer contract


If it ain't you it will be someone else!
Old 27th July 2005
  #9
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Rodney Gene
Quote:
While I believe you have good intent...That is silly advice.

ALWAYS negotiate points on any record big , small Indy or self released.
That is potentially your future.
I agree, if you've got the clout and rep to suggest recieving points, by all means, the world of record production is your buffet. Depends on the situation and where you're at in your career. I come from the school of thought that the bands should be the ones benefitting from profits of records. But that's just me. By the way have you looked at record sales? Do you think artists are really making any money these days? If you're in the business to make money off of bands I'd seriously think about a career change. If you want to waste your time on making money on the back end of records good luck. You'll probably miss out on some great projects. Maybe that's that's why I'm not filthy stinking rich.
Old 27th July 2005
  #10
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
'Executive' music producer? On a record?...Never heard of it personally.
suge knight.... death row? he was ALWAYS listed as executive producer. i think a few rap labels had the financier as exec prod on them.
Old 27th July 2005
  #11
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There are no rules with credits... people can, and are, called just about anything (e.g. John Kalodner: John Kalodner)

but Executive Producer TYPICALLY is a credit given to the guy who masterminds or supervises the production... the idea guy or the guy who holds it all together somehow, but is NOT involved as the day to day, front line producer.

OFTEN, but not always, it's a bull**** credit that's tossed as a bone to the label president or manager or someone who feels "essential" but doesn't sit there while the vocalist is crying or the drummer is vomiting or the engineer is missing or any of the other fun parts in making the record.

I can't for the life of me figure out WHY an engineer would want that credit, but who knows?

More important, you say you acted as producer, with the band's verbal assent, all along.
So, if I were you, I would assume that I was the producer in any discussions.. and probably the SOLE producer.
Next, as the producer, I'd discuss what credit the engineer deserves.
You could decide to keep him happy and give him the utterly stupid exec producer title.. but that DOES seem graspy on his part (and really pointlessly so, as no one has any respect for exec. producers generally and the odds on it helping him are near nil)... or you could suggest another title.
I might suggest Associate Producer , if you felt he contributed production ideas.
On the other hand, if he functioned as an angineer, even a really GOOD engineer, and didn't do anything ELSE, then ENGINEER seems like a good credit. To me.

I also think that as producer you should get a typical producer royalty on all records sold after the band recoups recording costs.
That's typically 3-4% of retail price.

but all this should be discussed in as friendly a manner as possible.
So far as you say, you're NOT arguing. Try to keep it that way; it will be more productive.

If all else fails, credit the engineer as: John Kalodner.
Old 27th July 2005
  #12
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I had a similar thing happen to me last year, and it turned pretty sour!

About five years ago, I started a project with a then-friend and talented singer/lyricist (also quite successful on the comedy circuit) writing songs and developing a concept for a future album. After several long breaks, caused by the artist's other commitments as well as a couple of "I give up on it" nervous breakdowns on her part that I helped cure, an album's worth of songs started taking shape. Demos turned into a raw production, even more work took the project to a more refined stage. Each step was again interspersed with severe insecurity attacks and long touring breaks. After nearly four years of this happening we agreed that I hand over the project to another studio (run by the boss of the label that had by then developed an interest in the artist) for final vocal sessions and mixing. We agreed verbally on a licensing deal between artist/myself and the label that would be put into writing once the product was ready for release.
When I received the mixes, I thought "hey, they didn't change much at all", except for two songs that had a totally different production approach. 90% of the tracks had my full producer's signature on them, which is easily recognised as I'd also played most instruments and created the sounds and effects. I did notice that they had made the mixes somewhat safer, less left-field (you could say boring) compared to my initial rough mixes, but all my work was clearly there.

When it came to credits, first of all, there was no talk of a licensing deal. Next, the label boss wanted 100% production credits, leaving only engineering credits to me. While the label did offer me half of the available points, they didn't see me as the producer at all. The artist kept very quiet throughout it all, quietly leaning towards the label's stance, leaving me totally without any support. I saw myself as much more than just a producer on this project: I "invented" it together with the artist, created the sound and the music, co-wrote every single track and played guitars, keyboards, programmed and/or recorded drums. In fact, I felt I was a part of the act (as had been agreed years before). The other "producer" merely re-recorded the vocals, produced/changed two songs and mixed the album.

Throughout the argument I tried to stay friendly but resolute. We eventually settled on 50% producer's points for me (grugdingly) and I coaxed some money out of the label, not much - it wouldn't even cover my studio expenses, but better than nothing!

The moral of the story: While you can be lucky and settle amicably after the work has been done, nothing beats a written contract.

I'll probably make the same mistake again, as I like developing projects from the ground up and seeing what happens, all at my own expense - if the talent warrants it.

Cheers,

Recky
Old 27th July 2005
  #13
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Blast9's Avatar
Damn... Recky... That's some story, and I feel for you, because I know what its like when you put in the hours (often more than the artist)
to get from A to B (often an intangible goal).

Thanks all for your informative posts.. As I said there's no beef, no axe to grind, just asking for advice so I can prepare myself before the meeting...

Now, where did I put that verbal contract? I'm sure its lying around here somewhere... heh
Old 27th July 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJohnston
I come from the school of thought that the bands should be the ones benefitting from profits of records. But that's just me
Are you being serious? Of course the artists makes money... That is the entire reason to have a contract.

What is 3-4 points VS the artists 20..?
Producers get points because they typically develop the artist to a viable, sellable and marketable place. Do you honestly feel they deserve nothing? Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BJohnston
But that's just me. By the way have you looked at record sales?
Yes...My contract also includes downloaded sales.

Records and CD's are being bought..just not as much on the teenybopper scale.
There was a thread about it here a few weeks back that had some interesting stats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BJohnston
If you want to waste your time on making money on the back end of records good luck. You'll probably miss out on some great projects
Waste my time with points?
Just curious...is that how you do business?

I have zero idea where that makes any sense? Can you elaborate?

I work on great projects...I believe in them...I think they are great...the artists thinks they are great...Why in the world wouldn't I want to protect that investment from the start?

It is a simple investment..!!

I still get paid upfront to make the record...Where do you 'lose out'?

Why invest in stocks?

Why invest in anything that isn't guaranteed?
Because you believe it has the potential to succeed!! That is how I feel about the projects I work on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by recky
I'll probably make the same mistake again, as I like developing projects from the ground up and seeing what happens, all at my own expense - if the talent warrants it.
That is called a production deal...bro. Start a company.

You front the whole she-bang...and you OWN the masters. It is then your responsibility to do something with them if you want to recoup or make money or help the artist succeed.
Old 27th July 2005
  #15
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Yea, I know it's a production deal and I've NOW got a production company! At the time I didn't and the whole project started out very differently, i.e. with me a part of the "band"! And it happens to me occasionally that I just want to get something off the ground without the paperwork because some novice artists are terrified of signing a deal before knowing where it's headed. But maybe that's just me... ;-)

Recky
Old 28th July 2005
  #16
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HTML Code:
Yea, I know it's a production deal and I've NOW got a production company! At the time I didn't and the whole project started out very differently, i.e. with me a part of the "band"! And it happens to me occasionally that I just want to get something off the ground without the paperwork because some novice artists are terrified of signing a deal before knowing where it's headed. But maybe that's just me... ;-)

Recky
That's why I originally posted that it depends on what kind of position you're in. If you've got the cash flow to fund projects yourself that's one thing, I do agree with Rodney. I'm in a similar position. Not everyone has that option though. A lot of guys are just trying to get there foot in the door. It's not smart, in my opinion, to start powering on points when everyone is in the boat. Again, it depends on where you are. Sounds to me like Rodney speaks from the mountain top. Good for you, I'm sure it's well deserved and that you've work hard for what you've got. You've got to remember that not everyone has the capital to fund projects they are interested in. In that case the you definitely deserve compensation. It's a bit premature to assume every project you do will turn a profit. I never go into a project thinking, "this is going to be a huge money maker". I can afford to do that though. I usually approach projects that I'd enjoy working on no matter if I made a dime off it or not. Like I said I'm set up to do that. Not everything's about "points". I guess in the end I loose, I still love what I do though.
Old 28th July 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJohnston
That's why I originally posted that it depends on what kind of position you're in. If you've got the cash flow to fund projects yourself that's one thing, I do agree with Rodney. I'm in a similar position. Not everyone has that option though. A lot of guys are just trying to get there foot in the door. It's not smart, in my opinion, to start powering on points when everyone is in the boat. Again, it depends on where you are. Sounds to me like Rodney speaks from the mountain top.
Not exactly 'mountain top' bro!!

Sloping hill? Perhaps!..I am broke just like everyone else is..Except for the fact that I am also under contract with a guaranteed check... for a few months anyway...but what then?

I move on to the next gig...Just like anybody else would.

If my artist doesn't sign a deal or chooses to sell hotdogs instead...my points mean nothing...

But back to the original reason to EVER get points in the first place (And trust me your lawyer wouldn't let you leave the room without them) is...

What happens when one of the records I work on blows up and I didn't protect myself??

This has happened so many times in music history that it is insane that it ever happens to anybody again!!
I MAY be unknown today...everybody is until they chart...

There is very little that is special about many 'known' producers (of course there are genius's also)..except for the fact that they 'are' known.

I have witnessed 3 times in the past 10 years friends who should have been further along thier career based on 'thier' bands that signed and charted (double and triple Platinum) but these cat's got NADA!!

It isn't that I am in a 'special' position... I am just conducting business wisely based on good guidance and prior knowledge.

Quote:
Good for you, I'm sure it's well deserved and that you've work hard for what you've got. You've got to remember that not everyone has the capital to fund projects they are interested in.
Of course I remember that..I am in the same boat.
I might make $20,000 upfront off of a record but I would...by all means make a better living hustling tennis shoes at the mall..My 'hourly' wage for the work I put in is less that $1.50 or $2.00 an hour.

I can't afford ****!!

Maybe someday...but right now all I can do is focus on my current artist and feel grateful for what I CAN do.

Quote:
In that case the you definitely deserve compensation. It's a bit premature to assume every project you do will turn a profit. I never go into a project thinking, "this is going to be a huge money maker".
Agreed..I have never ever under any circumstances looked at a music job as a 'means to an end'...Ihave recorded bands for money a few times...ouch!! I could not own a 'public' studio!! I praise those who do cause I don't have the heart for it!!

Quote:
I usually approach projects that I'd enjoy working on no matter if I made a dime off it or not
Ditto...And... That is an ironic statment actually...because THOSE are the jobs you should have no trouble securing for an album!!
If you are the irght person for the job...then you are the right person for the job!!
Do one song for free or for $500...

I have done SO MANY songs for $300, $400 or $500 it is crazy!! That has often been my B'n'B...

It is just about building the relationship IME.

Quote:
Not everything's about "points". I guess in the end I loose, I still love what I do though.
In all honesty bro...no one that I know (except one cool brother who owns a great label) like the business end of things. If I could work for free all day and still exist happily and still SERVE my purpose I would do it gratefully!

But I am simply playing a very small part in a game with rules that requires a tiny bit of attention. My hard work should be rewarded if the recipient of it is also rewarded.

My label friend looks at it like this...he say's "Rodney"..If it's raining...we both stand out in the rain together..." It might rain for a long time...So if the sun comes out and you step into it...I want to step out into a little as well"..

Forget points...until you do a record...Then sign a deal. Deals don't hurt...Business is NOT personal. A contract is also fior your clients benefit.
Some people feel uncomfortable talking about finances and future 'monies' with thier clients...I like to make it a good thing in thier eyes. We are ALWAYS clear on business first..that allows us to get down to making the record which is the most important thing....Most folks grasp that real easily.

P&B,
Old 28th July 2005
  #18
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Does anyone have a source for simple producer contracts (or a template of some sort)? My lawyer wants $600 to draft one. I don't really have that cash, especially because there is no guarantee that the record will ever be released (I'm dealing w/ artists shopping tracks).
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