Recording Music For the Non-Music Related DayJob?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MatticusMania, Feb 20, 2013.


  1. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    I work for a hardware distributor during the day, and it has nothing to do with my musical abilities and whatnot.
    Recently the company has been putting together "How-To" installation videos for some of our products.
    I was called into a guys office today to check out some music they wanted to use as an intro to their videos.
    The problem was they didnt want to pay for the licensing, which was $100 a year for each video. We have over 60,000 parts, and are making a lot (probably 100+) of videos.
    They know that Im a musician, and were hinting at the possibility of having me record a few tracks. They dont need more than a 10-15 second clip. I doubt they'd be willing to pay me anything, as our company has recently tightened the purse strings. That said, I dont know if I want to put in the effort outside of work or not to get this done.

    What would you do?
  2. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive Supporting Member

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    When there is a chance for you to take food out of the mouth of another artist with nothing in return, I say jump on it!
  3. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Lol, well they definitely not going to pay for the licensing, we dont have room in our budget right now.

    The options available to the company are pretty much:
    a) Don't include music in the videos, or
    b) Have me do the music

    I dont know if theyre prepared to offer me anything in exchange for the work.
    I could possibly squeeze something out of them.

    Im certainly not taking food out of anyones mouth.
  4. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration Supporting Member

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    Matti,
    Do it for the fun and challenge.
    The boss will thank you down the line.
    Maybe he'll give you a few hours OT pay for your efforts.
    Maybe you could use snippets of stuff you already have.
    That would take even less of your time to pull off..
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  6. pgolliher

    pgolliher

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    If you would have fun with it, do it. Show you have dimension and are willing to step in and help. I once did a stupid little movie at work as a joke in response to our ad campaign that really tried to capitialize our history with NASA and it got me a lot of positive attention, including props from the CEO, who I doubt knew I existed before. I now get pulled into lots of different fun work projects because I am "creative".... Here is the movie..
  7. kevteop

    kevteop

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    The boss will probably thank you immediately, and consider it a coup that he got a bunch of work done for nothing. Don't ever do anything with the vague expectation of a payoff 'down the line'. I've been working as a freelance for the past 15 years and I know that when someone asks you to do something for free there's never a payoff.

    They know you'll be adding value or they wouldn't be asking you to do it, so give them a price - a high price - and be prepared to negotiate. The worst that can happen is that you don't get to do any unpaid work!
  8. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Yeah, it might be fun, but ultimately it'll take some time for me to do, time I could spend doing other things.
    I couldnt use anything I have already as I dont have authority to license our bands recordings, and I dont think theyd fit. (plus, my band would want money that the company isnt willing to pay).
    The biggest challenge would be getting familiar with the recording software I have but don't use.
  9. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive Supporting Member

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    You're still sending the signal that artists don't need to be paid, which is bad enough in most aspects of our culture, but sending it to a commercial user seems even more undercutting.

    The more we undervalue our product, the more that (lack of) value becomes entrenched.
  10. Big Brother

    Big Brother Supporting Member

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    Someone trying to charge a small business $10K+ per year for background music is someone pricing themselves right out a job, and the OP is already employed and paid by the company....

    This is just a widening of his job description.
  11. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Ah, but youre assuming I would do this for nothing. I did say they might not be willing to pay me anything, though I didnt say I would do it for nothing.

    If Im spending my own time to do this Im most certainly getting paid. If they allow me to do it on the clock, well thats another matter to consider.
    Im not sure of how to approach them with this.
  12. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive Supporting Member

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    There is a lot of space to find an equilibrium between 5 digits and free.
  13. Big Brother

    Big Brother Supporting Member

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    I am working on some similar projects and have the same issue as you. I need to do voice-overs for some videos.

    I have some good mics, a solid pre and two good interfaces but the software is kind of daunting to learn. I need to do some basic stuff and I know it isn't complicated to do at all, but finding the easy way to do it sure is...

    Will be watching this thread closely and will add anything I learn...
  14. pgolliher

    pgolliher

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    I agree. There are lot of debates here regarding bar gigs where musicians are stomping their feet and crying that they deserve to be paid. The reality is that the barriers of entry in to music are very low now. You can buy a cheap keyboard or software to create and record music and presto, you are a producer. Plug your laptop into the PA, presto you are a DJ.

    It's a free market and the value is what the market will bare. If I picked up a pencil and wrote a "Roses are Red" poem on some binder paper, people would laugh if I tried to charge them for it.

    If you want to get paid, do something very well or amazing and different.

    In this situation, the OP may gain some respect in his workplace, which is helpful for advancement.
  15. bassfran

    bassfran

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    If I understand this correctly, would you be able to create a single music bed for use in all of the various product videos? That might not take too much work and would be doing the company a solid, as it were.
  16. Big Brother

    Big Brother Supporting Member

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    Yeah, and if the person selling his services understood his market and how to create different pricing tiers that are a fair value, he would have some business right now.

    $10K a year is rather ridiculous. They priced their services out of reach of their customer. Bottom line, they over-reached the market and failed. Next in line...
  17. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    What kind of software are you using? I have a few options, but I havent done my own recordings in over 5 years.

    Im not sure what you mean by music "bed". They really only need one track to use.
    If I were to do it, I think Id come up with a few different variations and sell them the track which they feel is best suited for their use.

    Well, I think if someone were to use the one track in just one video the product isnt necessarily overpriced at $100/year.
    To be honest though, I have no idea about pricing a license to use a song.
  18. DagoMaino

    DagoMaino Supporting Member

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    Do it for the enjoyment. Make it understood that you will be on the clock, and they need pay for any additional costs ie. equipment rental... Any project can be a fun experience. If they are not willing to put any payroll hrs toward it then they can't afford videos. I'm sure they want a new warehouse, new computers, free inventory.... but you don't get that for free either.

    Wages earned making music are better than chasing parts for a few hours. IMO
  19. dhsierra1

    dhsierra1

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    I'd probably just say "yes" if it's a very short amount of music (say 15 second's worth) and it was done on the company's time, not mine. Otherwise I'd probably bow out politely. My free time is valuable to me and my music is my own separate world from my work/job.
  20. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

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    Thats a good point... the videos are made during office hours, so I dont see why I couldnt at least get away with doing the music while in the office, at a minimum.
    They did want a new warehouse, and new computers. The warehouse we got 5 years ago. The computers somewhat recently. Inventory, well... hahaha

    Indeed!

    Im starting to think this might be a reasonable approach.
  21. bassfran

    bassfran

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    Bed, track- same diff.
    (i.e., the instrumental music underlying an industrial-type video.)

    Good idea to give them a few examples to choose from.

    Sounds like it could be fun. And you'll get paid to learn how to use your music software, too.

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