The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
What would you do?
Old 12th May 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

What would you do?

Ok,
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 writing...like "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.:-)

thanks
Chymer
Old 12th May 2006
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Jalabodu's Avatar
I'm in the EXACT same situation. I'm with ya man. I've put in two full years on this project and wonder what's it all worth. Hoping for some replies from experienced people.
Old 12th May 2006
  #3
Gear Nut
 

One Word

If I'm understanding your situation correctly, then I have one word for you. CONTRACT.

Or as David Mamet once put it, "get them to sign on the line that is dotted."

You have every right to protect yourself. You are in business. Business is supposed to be a relatively equitable exchange (so your contract should include both what you want, and what they want, and how to deal with making sure that happens or what to do if it doesn't happen). If they don't even want to sign a simple contract protecting your work and rights then they are not at all interested in what might benefit you. Collaboration that is not.

And if it's a serious enough situation, contact an entertainment lawyer. A few hundred dollars on a lawyer might save you (or even earn you) a bundle in the long term.

And don't let them intimidate you or give you any BS about "spec"...("everybody's doing it")...

It's hard sometimes, I know. But there are so many scheisters (sp?) in this business who will take advantage of anything that will give them a free ride at the expense of hard working writers, musicians, producers and engineers. Sure if it breaks big and you're not on board they'll come back and say, "see what ya missed!", but I'll bet they only got there because they used up someone else.

Get it in writing. If they're legit, if they're genuine, and if they really believe in the project, they will negotiate with you and sign. Otherwise, give them the boot and use all that creative and technical energy on someone who deserves it...YOURSELF.

Peace
ZenKonami

Last edited by zenkonami; 12th May 2006 at 07:23 AM..
Old 12th May 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

thanks for the reply.
at least I know Im not crazy feeling this way:-)
Any other advice from anyone.
cheers
Chymer
Old 12th May 2006
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Jazzpunk's Avatar
 

I got screwed by a 'producer' (at least he was in his own mind) and an artist I once worked with.

Not only did I never see a dime once the demo we had done helped the artist solidify a record deal with Maverick, but the artist and 'producer' built a song around a piece of music I had written and stole that as well. I ended up having to get an attorney to try and get a percentage of a song that I helped to write!

The artist got dropped from Maverick but his mommy and daddy are well connected in the industry so his record is now on iTunes and he is starting to pop up on the talk show circuit. Think I'll ever see a dime?! Fukk no.

We were all 'buddy buddy' when I was there working for free everyday but as soon as he got signed my phone calls stopped being returned.

What really hurt though was that I genuinely thought we were friends and had a lot of respect for him as an artist and a person. I really enjoyed doing the demos and was extra psyched about the tune we had all created together.

I never got anything in writing as I too was worried about being replaced on the project. Big mistake!

I don't care what I am working on now-no written agreement? Take your project to the next sucker.

Last edited by Jazzpunk; 12th May 2006 at 08:16 AM..
Old 12th May 2006
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Ok,
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 writing...like "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.:-)

thanks
Chymer
Leave. It's a BS situation.

A real manager has got the money to pay, or got access to people with a better track record than you.

If she' gets a deal, you will be replaced. Your relationship is with the artist an management and they are not going to turn a deal down to keep you in the picture. Since you're asking here, you've obviously not been through this before in you're multi-year career where you'd ahve a lawyer and mangement in place. In other words, the labe will use the peopel they have relatiohships with.

So what's in it for you. Spec money, which rarely comes through and only if you have the leverage of them needing you or a brilliant contract (which will cost you a lot of out pocket and they'll agree to pendin their lawer's review and push to start recordin before it's signed and then never sign).

Or, you get the credit and can say you did the demos that got so and so signed. You can pretty much say that now, so there's not much in it short of a legit deal.

Their manager can't do anything to you.
Old 13th May 2006
  #7
Gear Addict
 
BeerHunter's Avatar
FWIW - I'm not a music pro but I have been in a similar situation while doing graphic design. Seems to me the best in the long term is to stand your ground and get them to sign. Although most people have good intentions sometimes things just don't work out as planned. It may very well be the only "proof" you have that such a conversation/expectation has even taken place.

Also, remember that what you do now is what will be expected of you later.
Old 13th May 2006
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Ok,
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 writing...like "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.:-)

thanks
Chymer
My whole career (if you can call it that) has been dogged by exactly this style of greedy grasping artist manager, behind them are mute artists and A&R men who stand back and let the manager 'do his protect the artist - manager thing' and try to shaft me out of any money or royalty they possibly can.

It has made me relatively 'unhinged' and more than a little jaded about the industry...

Anyhow .. that off my chest..

1) do you have a written documentation of the song splits? (if not you need this before you take one step further)

2) I don't like the sound of this self centred, guilt tripping MO FO set up. (although this is standard fare for me, as mentioned above)

3) You DO have the right to be able to sleep at nights.. So I suggest you go on what I would call a "mini strike". That is a withdrawal of services until you get at least SOME SORT OF step in your direction from the sumbitches.

What to ask for...? In order to prove to this pack of hyenas that you aren't the secret love child of Adolf Hitler and Imelda Marcos - invent a modest 'running costs' fee per day. You can tell the artists witch of a Mother that if the sleazebag management were of any stature - spending a little should not be a problem.

If the guilt tripping w**kers have a problem with that.. screw em.

By the way - if they do go for this or not - they will (I predict) put on a HUGE dramatic alligator death roll about how you are not into the project, are stabbing them in the back - are HOLDING BACK THE ARTIST etc etc etc..

Pay not one bit of attention to the whining f***s

To recap - in this order

1) get writing splits down on paper...(seriously withhold mixes. PT sessions CDR's until you have this) then
2) drop the running costs 'bomb' on them.



I suspect that asking for the writing splits now will "outrage" them and you will see their true colors. If they don't give them to you - you know you are dealing with people that would happily plunge a knife in your back in the midddle of a record co boardroom, shafting you still, but just at a later stage...
Old 13th May 2006
  #9
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Ok,
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)
Tough call.

If you were dealing directly with the label, and I'd ask this from the manager too...just beause I'm like this...

If the label has already heard a handful of demos & expressed interest in the artist...

They why do they need to hear "rerecorded" & 'better' demos of the same songs?

It's a HUGE question & there lies the answer.

From most peoples viewpoint, either the label is into the artist & songs or they aren't...they shouldn't have to hear the same 3 songs done 12 ways to Sunday to figure out what their intent is.

Unless we're talking about 4-track demos vs. "real-deal" studio and THAT doesn't happen anymore...
Old 13th May 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Gravity8058's Avatar
 

I've produced (often making contributions that on the coasts would be considered "co-writing") for a more than a dozen bands (over the past 13 years) that have lead directly to $300k - $1.5mil record deals. This story (as Jules can attest) is par for the course and will make you crazy in time UNLESS:

You offer them an choice (every powerhungry artist likes choices): either sign a contract (that will be long and cost a little money) OR continue with your significant input and talent for a reasonable rate (either daily or by the song) and give them all the rights to everything.

Determine a rate that will enable you to continue working with the artist without feeling a little taken. That's important, if you continue for a rate that isn't totally in line with your contribution, you wont end up doing your best work -- and that's bad for your soul. DONT LET THESE LEACHES STEAL YOUR SOUL.


stike stike
Old 13th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

thanks for the replys guys.
Its all been very helpful in setting my mind in the right direction and actually realising that I do have more power than i think in this situation.

Quote:
1) get writing splits down on paper...(seriously withhold mixes. PT sessions CDR's until you have this) then
2) drop the running costs 'bomb' on them.
I have co-written all the tracks that i have demoed and they are registered with APRA, so its all in writing.
I have charged them for some demos but the manger tells me he doesnt want to spend any more money on demos. I will try to negotiate a fee for these next demos.
Remember Im doing a stupid cheap rate for the demos anyway which I thought was cool because I have splits on the songs anyway.
I think I will just have to stand my ground and if the artist gets signed then I will hope the label digs the songs enough to have them cut.
the thing is Id be happy to do the demos for the same cheap fee, but the manager is telling me that he wont pay and he is also getting really picky about the songs and wants me to spend friggin ages on the vocal and layering and all that crap, which Id like to do, but man it takes time and the manager is clueless. I shouldnt have made my first few demos sound so damn great. He takes it for granted now and must think it "easy" to do.

The manager is saying that the label likes the songs but wants to hear them in context with eachother, but man, if Im doing the work to make the songs all work together arent I essentially "producing" and "developing" the artist. All this so they can get signed and potentially leave me in the dust. Of course they say to me that my tracks will get cut and they're pushing for local producers.....wank wank.

So frustrating.
The other thing is the mother is calling me telling me what the manger is saying behind my back, like, i can ruin his carrer if he doesnt comply! The artist/mother really likes working with me, i know this, so i do have this up my sleve, but the manager is a ******.

anyway, i will keep you guys posted on what happens.
chymer
Old 13th May 2006
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
My whole career (if you can call it that) has been dogged by exactly this style of greedy grasping artist manager, behind them are mute artists and A&R men who stand back and let the manager 'do his protect the artist - manager thing' and try to shaft me out of any money or royalty they possibly can.

It has made me relatively 'unhinged' and more than a little jaded about the industry...

Anyhow .. that off my chest..

1) do you have a written documentation of the song splits? (if not you need this before you take one step further)

2) I don't like the sound of this self centred, guilt tripping MO FO set up. (although this is standard fare for me, as mentioned above)

3) You DO have the right to be able to sleep at nights.. So I suggest you go on what I would call a "mini strike". That is a withdrawal of services until you get at least SOME SORT OF step in your direction from the sumbitches.

What to ask for...? In order to prove to this pack of hyenas that you aren't the secret love child of Adolf Hitler and Imelda Marcos - invent a modest 'running costs' fee per day. You can tell the artists witch of a Mother that if the sleazebag management were of any stature - spending a little should not be a problem.

If the guilt tripping w**kers have a problem with that.. screw em.

By the way - if they do go for this or not - they will (I predict) put on a HUGE dramatic alligator death roll about how you are not into the project, are stabbing them in the back - are HOLDING BACK THE ARTIST etc etc etc..

Pay not one bit of attention to the whining f***s

To recap - in this order

1) get writing splits down on paper...(seriously withhold mixes. PT sessions CDR's until you have this) then
2) drop the running costs 'bomb' on them.



I suspect that asking for the writing splits now will "outrage" them and you will see their true colors. If they don't give them to you - you know you are dealing with people that would happily plunge a knife in your back in the midddle of a record co boardroom, shafting you still, but just at a later stage...
hear, hear

listen to Jules - i cannot ENOUGH stress the TRUTH, WISDOM and ACCURACY of his words.

everyone should be thinking about EXACTLY what they want here, including you.

spell it out, and don't think about what your girlfriend is telling you, or what the artists mother is telling her -
JUST FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT, AND don't play the hippy dippy artist, like,
"it's cool, brother - we'll figure it all out when the time comes" sh*t

a successful business is all about a well-constructed balance sheet.

this means plans to produce product jointly during an alotted time period,
product/ intellectual property ownership splits agreements,
AND, FINALLY, plans to market the PRODUCT
in order for you folks to make some green on the business end.

it's JUST BUSINESS. it's NOT hucos pocus. and it's certainly not SLAVERY for EITHER ONE OF YOU.

f&ck the manager - if HE COULD PRODUCE THE SH*T, HE WOULD - BELIEVE ME.

and if they refuse to sign a contract that you draft for them NOW,
you will just use this SAME contract for the NEXT ARTIST -
who will be falling all over you, because you're taking YOUR VALUABLE TIME to write with them,
and produce them.

you can even TELL your current artist/ collaborator this.

f8ck it - you don't want to commit to me? I'LL JUST FIND SOMEONE WHO DOES.

AFTER ALL, I'VE BEEN COMMITING TO YOU - WHAT'S THE DEAL???? IS THERE SOMETHING I DON'T UNDERSTAND HERE?

if you don't have any other clients - NOW might be the time for you to GET SOME - PRONTO.

start BLOCKING OUT YOUR HOURS.

again, there NOTHING like a little studio lockout to bring a wavering/
inconsiderate/ self-serving artist to their senses QUICKY-QUICK.

"uh, i'm sorry - the studio's actually booked pretty solid for the next 6 months -
don't get me wrong, i'd LOVE to help you guys out, but I'm just REEEEALLY busy".

believe me, that sh&t has worked like a CHARM for me, every time an artist/ manager stalled on a contract.

not to get you all paranoid, but you wouldn't BELIEVE the poeple i found out i was ACTUALLY WORkING WITH,
during a contract negotiation. they can start literally crawling out of the wood work.

one day you think you're working with little miss mommie's poor helpless singer,
the next day you're getting calls from some of the most powerful label folks, managers and lawyers in the business.
hey, what going on (tryin' to sweet talk you), i'm havin' lunch with LA Reid tomorrow,
and Amy tell me you need a contract? what's up with that? you don't think we're gonna take CARE OF YOU?
come on, you guys should do what you do BEST - focus on the MUSIC,
let US take care of the business.

and it's always with some EMERGENCY, like - YOU'RE HOLDING EVERYTHING UP,
FRED DURST, CLIVE DAVIS or ALAN GRUBMAN NEEDS THIS SH*T TOMORROW, YADA, YADA, YADA.

hey, IF LINDA PERRY GOT SCREWED OUT OF WRITING, PRODUCTION & PERFORMANCE CREDITS & MONEY
by trusting CROOKED INDUSTRY people feeding her lines FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT, SO CAN YOU.

they're gonna keep telling you it's not about the MONEY - making YOU feel like the greedy f*ck,
and MEANWHILE, not commiting to YOUR talent, time/ studio facility, services, etc. - F&CK THAT.

you'll see how fast they come banging at your door.

Jules is absolutely correct -
they might throw temper tantrums, cry and scream, accuse you of being shallow, and self-serving -
(abnd you'll be thinking - do i KNOW these people? are these the SAME people i've been working with?)

99 times out of 100, it's all an ACT with the intention of getting you to buckle and continue to work for free.
hey, at this point, they're used to it. why should they start paying you, or sign a contract,
if they're been getting all this stuff from you for free?

you don't have to be an a&&hole about it - you just got some other projects that SUDDENLY became PRIORITIES.

and the proof is in the pudding. chances are, you could actually BE talented,
and EVERYONE deserves to be working with people who APPRECIATE
THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS AND DON'T PLAN ON SCREWING THEM.

LOTSA WISE WORDS FROM JULES - I WOULDN'T IGNORE THEM.
YOU CAN LEARN LOTS FROM THIS PROJECT TO PUT YOURSELF IN A BETTER SITUATION,
AND DISCUSS ALL THIS STUFF IN YOUR NEXT PROJECT
BEFORE YOU GET YOUR SELF INTO THIS SITUATION AGAIN.

good luck, and keep us posted.
Old 13th May 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

thanks.
Old 13th May 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
picksail's Avatar
 

Before you go any further get a contract together. I personally have a 'no discrepancy' policy. I take no chances.

If you feel that they have potential to reap commercial success, then it would be in your best interest to see the project to fruition. If it jeopardizes you from receiving work from paying clients, then perhaps it could be problematic. If you can swing it during downtime then go for it. You really have nothing to lose.

Good luck.
Old 13th May 2006
  #15
Lives for gear
If you're the co-writer, and that's in the copyright, then you can't get "screwed" as far as that goes, if the singer gets a deal and has a hit record (with another producer) you still make half the songwriting royalties.

but you could certainly make the case that you and the singer are 50-50 wirters, so you and the singer should 50-50 split the cost of further demos.


if on the other hand you are trying to protect yourself as PRODUCER of the record should the singer get a deal.. that's tougher... and really i tend to think that the better job you do NOW, even if it's unpaid, the more LIKELY at least, although far from a dead cert, that you'll have a shot of sticking with the project.

but unless they're willing to throw your songs away (which sounds like cutting off their own noses to spite your face), they cannot "make or break you"
Old 13th May 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
C Heat's Avatar
 

Get them to ditch the manager. (?)

He can't be THAT great. It shows already, no?

If the girls hot and the songs are hotter then another manger of equal par but with more scruples could surely exist?

Does the manager have a contract with the artist? 'They' should also have a contract with you also.
Old 13th May 2006
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Meriphew's Avatar
 

As others have said, get it in writing or you can, and probably will, get screwed. No handshake deals - no verbal agreements. A friend of mine footed the entire costs of recording/releasing the first (independent) album of a band that shortly after landed a major label contract. The band went on to become VERY succesful. It was a handshake deal (as they were friends of his - or so he thought). He got zilch from them or the label.
Old 13th May 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
chymer's Avatar
 

Yeah, I know i wont get screwed if the songs get cut and its a hit record, but, I have put in alot of work demoing up the songs we wrote for pretty much nothing and the manager has used them to gain interest and I just feel now he wants me to do more work writing, playing, recording and mixing for nothing (which i feel is essentially developing/producing the artist and their style) and he wont pay me, yet he wants me to make these songs sound amazing.

I feel now I should just make the songs sound amazing and hope for the best.
The thing is, its the "interested" record company that has the managers balls because they are willing to play ball and tha manager can smell it, its so close for him now that he just wants these last few songs to blow them away and then they will sign, hopefully.
So, in that respect i should make them sound great and then she gets signed right? Well cool but the record company doesnt know who I am and they might bring in their own writer/producers and Im left in the dust having just put in the work in good faith....
So, its hard. cause the manager really cant guarantee my anything, its the record company that will have that say, so maybe I should have a meeting with them and try to get a guarantee from them or some money to demo up the last few songs. I just dont know, it seems too confusing man.
I think its easier to just do it in good faith, cause really, I love the project and enjoy it and I would do the work for nothing anyway. I just dont wanna get screwed.
Sometimes I think its easier for people to screw other people,.not because they are bastards, but cause its easier !!!:-)

chymer
Old 13th May 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 
DeepSpace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
So, its hard. cause the manager really cant guarantee my anything, its the record company that will have that say
I'm not sure it is as hard as they are trying to make it seem.

First of all, as Jules said, if they baulk at getting the writing splits onto paper, then that is a sure sign that they would have been leaving you in the dust as soon as it suited them. If that's the case, better sooner (before you've invested a whole lot more blood sweat and tears) than later.

Secondly, you do have options. After dealing with the writing splits issue, you can present them with several financial 'deals' to choose from, which might include:

1. Reasonable professional fees now.
2. Running costs now and a written contract guaranteeing you a substantial gratuity payable in the event that the artist. gets signed to a major within a stated period (eg three years).
3. Minimum or no fees now but a cast iron contract that you will produce the artist's published work and be credited as such for a given period (eg three years).

- or any variation on the above.

If they baulk at all three very reasonable options then - again - they are doing you a favor because they'll have made it clear that they have *no* interest in you beyond climbing on you to get where they want to go. In which case you should absolutely 'walk away and don't look back'...
Old 13th May 2006
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Yeah, I know i wont get screwed if the songs get cut and its a hit record, but, I have put in alot of work demoing up the songs we wrote for pretty much nothing and the manager has used them to gain interest and I just feel now he wants me to do more work writing, playing, recording and mixing for nothing (which i feel is essentially developing/producing the artist and their style) and he wont pay me, yet he wants me to make these songs sound amazing.

I feel now I should just make the songs sound amazing and hope for the best.
The thing is, its the "interested" record company that has the managers balls because they are willing to play ball and tha manager can smell it, its so close for him now that he just wants these last few songs to blow them away and then they will sign, hopefully.
So, in that respect i should make them sound great and then she gets signed right? Well cool but the record company doesnt know who I am and they might bring in their own writer/producers and Im left in the dust having just put in the work in good faith....
So, its hard. cause the manager really cant guarantee my anything, its the record company that will have that say, so maybe I should have a meeting with them and try to get a guarantee from them or some money to demo up the last few songs. I just dont know, it seems too confusing man.
I think its easier to just do it in good faith, cause really, I love the project and enjoy it and I would do the work for nothing anyway. I just dont wanna get screwed.
Sometimes I think its easier for people to screw other people,.not because they are bastards, but cause its easier !!!:-)

chymer
If you have a songwriting interest, that's your motivation. That's worth far more than anything else you might work out. In the long run having writting hit songs will provide you with leverage you'll for the next 10 projects.
Old 13th May 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Jazzpunk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Yeah, I know i wont get screwed if the songs get cut and its a hit record, but, I have put in alot of work demoing up the songs we wrote for pretty much nothing and the manager has used them to gain interest and I just feel now he wants me to do more work writing, playing, recording and mixing for nothing (which i feel is essentially developing/producing the artist and their style) and he wont pay me, yet he wants me to make these songs sound amazing.

I feel now I should just make the songs sound amazing and hope for the best.
The thing is, its the "interested" record company that has the managers balls because they are willing to play ball and tha manager can smell it, its so close for him now that he just wants these last few songs to blow them away and then they will sign, hopefully.
So, in that respect i should make them sound great and then she gets signed right? Well cool but the record company doesnt know who I am and they might bring in their own writer/producers and Im left in the dust having just put in the work in good faith....
So, its hard. cause the manager really cant guarantee my anything, its the record company that will have that say, so maybe I should have a meeting with them and try to get a guarantee from them or some money to demo up the last few songs. I just dont know, it seems too confusing man.
I think its easier to just do it in good faith, cause really, I love the project and enjoy it and I would do the work for nothing anyway. I just dont wanna get screwed.
Sometimes I think its easier for people to screw other people,.not because they are bastards, but cause its easier !!!:-)

chymer
Let's make this very simple. You are working for the manager not the label. If the band gets signed the record label will owe you nothing for your time spent recording the demos. The bands manager can very easily sit down and draw up a contract with you outlining how you will get compensated after the band is signed but he does not want to (as he is the one who will owe you the money and he does not want you dippin' in his little honey pot after the label pays him!).

If this is a major label, your ride as an engineer/producer is going to end as soon as they get signed. The label will be going to the same producers and engineers that they have used to break their last couple of acts.

Let me tell you something brother, it is no fun to have the door slammed in your face after an artist gets signed. Unless you've got some cache as a producer (ie platinum plaques) the label is not going to bring you along for the ride (the track I thought I'd be guaranteed to have a hand in ended up being produced by The Matrix...sucks for me, no brainer for the label execs).

The decision is up to you. What do you want out of this? It sounds like you've got all your ducks in a row as far as copyrighting the material. Like others have said, if they record your songs and the band does well, you will come out of this ok financially.

If you can live with the fact that your songs will be recorded and this will be your compensation than it's all good. It seems however that the thought of not getting compensated for your recording/producing skills is already burning you up. The record label is not going to compensate you after they sign the band so you better figure out what you can live with and work it out with the manager asap.

Best of luck.
Old 14th May 2006
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk
Let's make this very simple. You are working for the manager not the label. If the band gets signed the record label will owe you nothing for your time spent recording the demos. The bands manager can very easily sit down and draw up a contract with you outlining how you will get compensated after the band is signed but he does not want to (as he is the one who will owe you the money and he does not want you dippin' in his little honey pot after the label pays him!).

If this is a major label, your ride as an engineer/producer is going to end as soon as they get signed. The label will be going to the same producers and engineers that they have used to break their last couple of acts.

Let me tell you something brother, it is no fun to have the door slammed in your face after an artist gets signed. Unless you've got some cache as a producer (ie platinum plaques) the label is not going to bring you along for the ride (the track I thought I'd be guaranteed to have a hand in ended up being produced by The Matrix...sucks for me, no brainer for the label execs).

The decision is up to you. What do you want out of this? It sounds like you've got all your ducks in a row as far as copyrighting the material. Like others have said, if they record your songs and the band does well, you will come out of this ok financially.

If you can live with the fact that your songs will be recorded and this will be your compensation than it's all good. It seems however that the thought of not getting compensated for your recording/producing skills is already burning you up. The record label is not going to compensate you after they sign the band so you better figure out what you can live with and work it out with the manager asap.

Best of luck.
very well said.

oh, and you might want to think about getting a few BIG dogs (with nasty spine-tingling throaty growls),
hiring some body guards, and a buncha counter-espionage surveillance gear,
in addition to locking your masters up in a federally-insured vault with very high-security monitoring,
before the sh&t gets uber crazy heh
Old 18th May 2006
  #23
Lives for gear
Get a manager, see how the guy likes that.

"Oh man, I would, but you gotta talk to my manager about that..."

Good cop/bad cop is a lot easier this way.

If not, ask this d*uchebag if he has a contract with the artist. "Oh you do? Why?" and then politely suggest that maybe it makes sense that you should have one with the artist as well, as you're outlaying your time and effort for benefits that may or may not come in the future.

I don't see any reason why anyone honest would refuse a contract in this case. The ONLY reason someone wouldn't want to give you a commitment today about what you are entitled to receive in the future is because he plans on making sure you DON'T get anything in the future that he can control. The songwriting split is a completely seperate issue, and should not be used as leverage to get you to work for free. You're entitled to any songwriting royalties no matter who records this girl.

Which leaves the issue of the recording/production time, which costs YOU money (just because it's your studio doesn't mean you aren't losing money here). If they want this so badly, they're not going to give up on it because you demand to be compensated for your work. They can try going to someone else to take advantage of (with empty promises and no contract; I'm sure there's plenty of suckers out there that would take it), but if they're under so much time pressure I doubt they will choose this.

I don't think there's a manager alive that can do anything to a recording engineer's career. People that claim they can 'make you or break you' are figments of 80s Miami Vice-era depictions of 'entertainment-industry-types', and are just j*rking themselves off in front of your client. I would actually confront him on this, calmly, and let him know that it's unprofessional and counterproductive. Let him know that you'd prefer to work directly with the artist, and if that's a problem, tell the artist that you would rather not continue with that kind of atmosphere.

Just waiting and seeing and hoping for the best will be a very disappointing prospect. You will get the worst, I promise. There's no reason anyone will show you good faith later when they won't even show it to you now.

Why are people so damn scared of contracts?! It's not something you need to spend $10,000 to do...you can consult a lawyer ONCE and get one written up that you can use again and again and again. I certainly don't consult a lawyer for every contract I have coming in here at the day job (a biotech startup), just learn how to understand them! People's fear of 'legalese' is a bit unfounded; an honest contract for a simple situation such as this will be quite readable.
Old 18th May 2006
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chymer
Ok,
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 writing...like "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.:-)

thanks
Chymer
Ok. My advice is that you:

- Have to learn how it works before you do things that can mess up your situation. The boring part is the paper work, the fun part is the money.

- Simplify your way of doing business. Don't let additional people in between try to take the best of you and the best of the artist, to get the best parts of the cake and let you eat what's left of it.

- Define your producing work. Are you producing new talents for them to get signed or are you producing for the aim of producing big artists in the future.

- Care about your decision making. Be careful rather than impulsive. Be long term about things rather than short term. Find opportunities and use them.

- Do things that work. If you are now doing something that doesn't work, it sounds like that, then focus on something that works and take advantage of that. The artist and the manager do what they do now, because it works, you have allowed it to work.
Old 19th May 2006
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Like William Wittman pointed out, don't forget that the song is half yours and therefore you are responsible for half of the demo cost anyway.
Old 20th May 2006
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Like William Wittman pointed out, don't forget that the song is half yours and therefore you are responsible for half of the demo cost anyway.
That's not true at all.
Old 20th May 2006
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman
If you're the co-writer, and that's in the copyright, then you can't get "screwed" as far as that goes, if the singer gets a deal and has a hit record (with another producer) you still make half the songwriting royalties.

but you could certainly make the case that you and the singer are 50-50 wirters, so you and the singer should 50-50 split the cost of further demos.


if on the other hand you are trying to protect yourself as PRODUCER of the record should the singer get a deal.. that's tougher... and really i tend to think that the better job you do NOW, even if it's unpaid, the more LIKELY at least, although far from a dead cert, that you'll have a shot of sticking with the project.

but unless they're willing to throw your songs away (which sounds like cutting off their own noses to spite your face), they cannot "make or break you"

You always steal my thunder you PITA (jus kiddin)

Here I am formulating what I'm gonna write and then along comes your post.

Anyway.

As long as you are the writer you have enuff power to control things. Nothing is getting released without you.

I know plenty of songwriters who became successful producers because they demanded that they produce their songs or they didn't get released.

If you are just the producer, you will get screwed. I promise.

Forget contracts.

If I don't trust the artist and manager out the box, then I'm not wasting one dollar paying my lawyer to write up a contract that the players have no plans on honoring.

I've been in this business for almost 20 years and have yet to make one dollar thru a lawsuit.

Writers have power though.

Get the splits in writing now and do all the demos for free.

You could be in a great situation to get yourself a nice publishing deal which will outweigh any producer fee.

Good Luck.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #28
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey
That's not true at all.
I'm listening...
Old 23rd May 2006
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
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.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
 

First of all remember that it IS about the money and not the art.
I can name you all kinds of projects and artists that I recorded demos for that got signed to majors. I can name you all kinds of people that I know who worked for major artisits who got screwed in one way or the other. The names range from people that you'd probebly barely recall and acts that would have you saying, "You're kidding! You worked with them?" The labels involved included MCA, WEA, Curb, Capitol, etc...

Back then I didn't know any better.
I didn't know what to ask for.

The reason that it is about the money is because everything else fades away.
The value of saying that you wrote, co-wrote, recorded, produced or played kazoo on a wonderfull piece of pop art will fade.
The glory will eventually be meaningless and will not forward your life in any way.

Getting paid for your share of a hit, being bought out of a deal or whatever monetary compensation you can get will do things like put a down payment on a house or get you a better car or buy you better recording rig, etc...

One is money in the bank and the other is bragging rights.

Personally, I'd rather be bought out of the deal than to be included.

Here's why: the record label IS NOT going to put out ANY record without a backer. If the artist is any good and if the manager is any good there will be a backer that puts up money for points (as much as 25%.) The label will not fund an artist without a backer. If the artists is of any real value the current manager will probebly be bought out as well unless he is REAL GOOD at what he does.

The label and the backer only want to deal with one artist or maybe a few people. If you aren't integral to the act then you are not important... period. You are a distraction, but you might be enough of a problem to be bought out.

Here's the real deal...

They are either interested in the artist or the songs. Although a package deal is best (an artist with promise that can write hits) there are plenty of songs available in this world for Mr. Wonderfull Star to record.

It is very possible that the wonderfull song(s) will be a vehicle to better things, but other things can happen, too. The label or someone with power might decide that he needs to record something else. Something that THEY OWN OUTRIGHT.

I would stop all work until you reached an agreement with all parties involved.

If you are valuable you will be included or compensated and if not you will be jettisoned when they no longer need you. You need to find out where you stand now.

Then again, the likely scenario is that nothing will happen or at best his parents will spend a fortune on their darling and oh-so-talented child and end up with nothing in the end except for a wrecked life!

It's time to say, "put up or shut up!"

Danny Brown
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump