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What would you do?
Old 23rd May 2006
Gear Maniac
JohnNy C's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by chymer
So, Ive been working (writing) with this artist writing and doing cheap "great sounding spent way too much time on them" demos for the artists management.
Now the artist is in a position where they will probably get signed and they want better demos for 4 of the songs that were only roughly recorded on the day we wrote them.
So, he (the manager) thinks I should do them for nothing because I if they get cut i will benefit from it. (he is funding them, not the record company)
But hang on, Im thinking I havent been guarenteed anything and now hes expecting free demos so the artist can get signed and i will probably get pushed aside for the "real producer" to step in and probably copy all my ideas anyway.
What gives?
Im of course speculating here, but it sucks. the manager tells me that everyones doing tracks on "spec" these days for majors, is this true?
the manger is of course pissing in my pocket saying that "oh your gonna get at least 5 tracks cut on the record and your gauranteed a publishing deal..."
What bollocks, i know better than anyone in this industry that your not guaranteed anything.

meanwhile, the artists mother is making mini threats saying "you know our manger can make or break you so be nice and do what he says"....what the?
Im running a frikin business here as well you know I actually do deserve to get paid for my recordings.

ok, so I know that hard work and time should pay off, but what do you do in a sitch like this?
I havent been given a production/development deal so why should I do anymore favours without being given something in writing?
On the other hand Im like, oh just do it and see what happens (my girlfreind doesnt like this idea:-) she thinks I should stand up for myself and say i dont do free stuff.)
The manger is trying to make me feel guilty for having a steak in the "you know you have something to make out of it" like, no sh#t! But I also know that if the artist gets signed you couldnt give a toss about my situation in terms of cuts and production.
I also know that my songs rock and that they have opened doors for her.

What would you guys do?
i dont wanna piss anyone off or stuff the project, but i need to have some self-worth here right?
Maybe Im thinking about it too much.:-)

Your first step is to get a lawyer. Once a writer/producer/performer reaches a certain level in his/her career it is time to get an entertainment lawyer that knows what is going on. As the writer, you should be getting points on it depending on how big of a release those songs are going to be. Don't be tossed around. I treat my writer and singer with respect and I recieve the same thing in return. And no offence, but you use the word "favor" in your descrition above. It seems to me the way these cats are treating you, there should be no favors on your part. And another thing, don't think of presenting them with a contract as rude, it is to protect your ass and assets if you catch me. Don't get tossed around and have them make you feel bad. Screw that ****. Your bustin your tail. Writing is no small task by any means. Good luck, and I hope all works out for you.
Old 23rd May 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Henchman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by JohnNy C
Your first step is to get a lawyer.
I disagree.
Getting paid to do a job, should not require a lawyer.
A simple "I will be charging X-amount of dollars per hour for the work I do for you", should suffice.
Oh, and remember nothing leaves the studio, untill you'r epaid in full. No MP3's, rough mixes etc.

And make it clear that you are doing THEM the favor, not the other way around.
Old 1st June 2006 | Show parent
Gear Addict
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by Henchman
Get paid for your work. Give thenm a deal. But get paid, nonetheless.
Who paid for the gear?
Who built the room?

Just becasue you're co-writer, doens't mean you're obligated to do work for free.
And keep in mind, the way they're trying to screw you now?
Just wait untill the labels start knocking.
They'll be pulling out the barbed wire condom.
Free?! I don't expect anyone to work for free. I wonder where the songs would get with Chymer singing them himself? Wake up - he needs her to 'sell' the songs just like she needs him to record the demos. It's a mutualistic relationship. Demo costs should be split.
Old 1st June 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Henchman's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by eyesore
Free?! I don't expect anyone to work for free. I wonder where the songs would get with Chymer singing them himself? Wake up - he needs her to 'sell' the songs just like she needs him to record the demos. It's a mutualistic relationship. Demo costs should be split.

No. The songs are written. They already have demo's. No reason to re-record thgem again for FREE.
If Mom and manager guy believes in it so much, let them pay for the ti,e to re-record the demo's.
Or, they can go buy the gear and do it themslelves.
Old 1st June 2006 | Show parent
Registered User
astrovic's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi Chymer (and everyone else on this thread).

I have a dilemma. I'm keen to put my two cents in, but I feel weird doing so as I am a lawyer and am afraid that'll I'll be accused of trolling for work - i.e "Hey Chymer - you really do need a lawyer, and that's me!" I certainly don't want to do that.

However, my advice as a lawyer is that you can do yourself a lot of favours by getting some legal advice (I would say that, wouldn't I?). It's a shame that we're up there with record company execs in terms of reputation for using and abusing, but the one comment I've got a lot is "I wish I had have seen you before I got in this much sh1t" and I'd hate to see this happen to you. (The fact you're concerned enough to write this post suggests it's not likely, though).

In my opinion, sometimes it's a false economy to save a couple of bucks on legal advice and end up whistling dixie for the hard work you've put in. Also, nothing like a lawyer-drafted contract to flush out whether or not you're gonna get screwed. If they're using you, they'll disappear and you'll have saved yourself a lot of time and grief. If they stay, even if it involves some negotiation to reach an agreement, then you know they're serious.

Worst case, you've paid for a contract you'll probably be able to use again with future clients, with a little bit of modification.

There is an exception - if you decide that the only way you're prepared to re-record the demos is to be paid in the usual way, then I agree with Henchman - you don't need a lawyer. Just make sure you get paid before you hand anything over. Anything other than that - protect yourself with a written agreement before you start.

FWIW, I disagree with those who have said you should invest 50% in this project as you're a 50% songwriter. You've been paid for your songwriting and initial demo to the tune of 50% ownership of the song. If they didn't want to give you credit, they could have paid you cash. That deal is done. The next deal - the further recording and production work - is a new deal with its own agreement. It's your call whether you want to get paid in the form of cash now or an interest in the project, or a combination of both. Either way, I wouldn't leave it swinging in the breeze and I wouldn't do the polite thing and get on with the work in the belief you'll sort it out later. Even us lawyers get burned doing stupid sh1t like that!

Consider this as well - as a songwriter you'll get 50% of the royalties - nice. But you're in Australia, so what are the odds that that will be a significant amount of money? Even if it's a "big" hit, how many "big artists" have we seen in this country that are struggling to make ends meet a couple of years later. And if some of yours songs give this chick a serious big money career, well good, but what piece of the concert sales, merchandising, licensing and promotional $$$ will you get? Nil, I'd guess. What piece will the bloodsucking manager get? 20% until his contract runs out? Will you get the job of producing and reording the album once the major label steps in? Nah. Will the songs you co-wrote that got her the major label deal actually get onto the first album? Good question - bit of a watch this space, really. And if that happens - you got nothing for your hard work.

I reckon the songwriting credits are good payment for the work you've done to date. You've bet that that work will be worth the effort, and taken the risk that it won't. Beyond that - show me the money!!!

Good to hear you've got your splits recorded with APRA. Good move.

There's my 2 cents. Best of luck with it all.

If y'all would prefer not to hear a lawyer's perspective, let me know. I don't want to be accused of trolling, but I am legit - I reckon I must be the only lawyer around with GAS!!!

Old 1st June 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
M2E's Avatar
🎧 15 years
This is truely sad to hear. I see this all the time as I've been doing this for a long time. I haven't took the time to read what everyone has said but, there is a lot of good info and bad.
I know how you feel and I've been there done that and saw the artist/manager get the deal with our songs and totally diss us. It was a UK Artist by the way. I don't want to confuse you as I see you already have a lot of help here.
Maybe after all of the advise you are given, you will be able to figure out what you should do.
I will say one thing though. In my experience in dealing with Record Label's A&Rs and CEOs. When they start to say "we need that one or two more hit songs to make this deal happen," most likely, it's not going to happen no matter what you do unless you get another label interested then, maybe, they will take it more seriously. Don't mean to dampin your spirits. Just my thoughts as I've seen this all before to many times.

Keep doing what your doin and love it.

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