Erased from recording and only gettign half of my money

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by javi_bassist, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Hello everyone,

    I just want to share a bad experience I had with my previous band. A little background: 5 piece pop-rock band. The band leaders were two (crazy) twins (one sings, the other plays guitar). I joined this band because the drummer is an old friend of mine. We both had to put up with a lot of things we didn't like (for example: very expensive rehearsal space because it's close to the twins' house) The other guitarist has the same opinion the drummer and I have about the band and that things have to change. So sometimes we didn't get along very well.

    Ok, we started recording an album. We payed half of the album in advance. There were only some keyboards left to be recorded. We had a huge argument and the drummer and I left the band. However, we said that we were going to pay the other half of the album and one extra month of the rehearsal room (we left in good terms despite of the argument). They initially wanted to record everything in two weeks. This was summer 2017. At this date, the album has not been released yet. We talked to them several times throught the year because we were interested in the album and because they were "friends". My drummer friend saw last week a picture they uploaded that drumms were finished. So we called our guitarist friend (not the twin) and he says the recording it's going fine. My drummer friend says that he knows they are recording again our parts. The guitarist freaks out and says he is sorry, that he told the rest that we will figure it out and that they shouldn't have kept that as a secret. In our opinion (drummer and I) it is normal that they want the sound of the new members in the albums. So we called them and politely, we congratulate them for the album and ask them to give back our money since, the main reason we stated to pay for the album is that we would be in it. They say that when we paid we were part of the band, so they won't give any money. Finally, they said that ok, that they will give us the second half that we paid but that the first half was as a band so that we won't get that money. We had again a big fight. However, my friend and I are fed up. We don't want to argue anymore. We just want to close that part of our careers.

    What do you guys think? I mean, it won't change that we accepted the deal, but I just want to know your opinion. And I wanted to share this with you. Overall I'm not angry...just dissapointed.
    Alik likes this.
  2. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Can’t believe you paid the second half after you were already out. Live and learn. If you can at least get that back then jump on it.

    Then after that you can ask them since you have each paid for part of this album you have part ownership of it, so what does that mean? You are entitled to XX% of revenue? So you could sell bootleg copies of it for example, but good luck with that. “Here’s a band I was in. No I’m not actually on the recording.” Take this as a lesson in the importance of well written contracts.
    mcnach, Matthew_84 and SoCal80s like this.
  3. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    20/20 hindsight and all, but if you wanted to keep a stake in the album, you should have paid the second half only after it was finished with you playing on it.

    Agree, at this point getiing the second half back is remarkable, so take it and be done with this mess.
    bkbirge, Matthew_84 and redwingxix like this.
  4. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I don't have any real experience with this, but my take would be that you would be entitled to a producers credit and should be getting some sort of share of any revenues, if they ever appear. If you take back the second half money (which I would), your share would be reduced, but you did contribute financially to the production of the album, so if they don't give you all your money back, producer's credit is appropriate.

    Whether you're willing to pay lawyers to see that that happens if the twins disagree, is a whole other question.
  5. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    In my opinion, s/he who has the money makes the rules. After you've paid someone, it's only their moral character and your powers of persuasion on which you can rely. And these guys seem to be out entirely for themselves.

    You already paid them -- It's probably not worth a lawsuit, there was likely no written agreement, you're out of luck. You might consider getting a lawyer to write a letter or something but they could just ignore, but if they do nothing, you'd be out the legal fee.

    Are these guys being ethical? I think not. If you couldn't get along and it ended, but agreed to finish the album, they should allow you to do it. Record YOUR tracks, get yourself a copy on that basis, and if they want, re-record with other musicians. Depending who is doing the recording, you may not even have to have the twins there.

    These twins sound like really bad news though, and I'd consider NOT having any more to do with them. Take the half you got, and get a new vocalist and guitarist, and you and the drummer record the CD.

    To convince them to let you record the tracks just for you, you'll have to develop some really convincing arguments.

    Some things I've said

    1. Describe their business obligation. The fact that you paid the second half means they have an obligation to allow you to finish the CD. Ask questions that have no acceptable answer.

    2. I have said 'What you are doing is not right'. And one guy sent me the money in the mail afterwards.

    3. Regarding his argument that the first half was paid when you were a band -- indicate there is no legal entity. Did they register an LLC? Did they register a corporation? No, it was just a collection of individuals contributing toward a common cause, and that cause still exists, and this collection of individuals still exist regarding the recording. This is because the guys accepted the money for the all parts of the CD.

    Finally, you have to identify your next best option if they won't play. After people refuse to cooperate, all you've got is threats, and you may not have any leverage -- any common equipment paid for by the band in your possession you can sell? Stuff like that. If no leverage, you just have to eat it.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
    TWolf, javi_bassist and mrcbass like this.
  6. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar...

    Nov 23, 2010
    It sounds like you've been screwed over. Sadly, the options are pretty slim in these situations. Legal action is usually not worth the money and time unless you know the recording is going to generate actual revenue.
    TWolf and mrcbass like this.
  7. Alik


    Apr 13, 2013
    El Paso, TX
    After I leave a band I won't talk to them anymore, they're unfriended in Facebook and all Messenger stuff gets deleted. They just dont exist to me. Period.
    I might be a little angry (disappointed would be a better description) for a week or so, after that I'm okay and just try to focus on moving on.
    Paying expensive rehearsal place after you're done with the band? Big mistake imho.
    TWolf likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    take what you can get, if anything, and move on. life (and music!) is full of lessons. good luck! :thumbsup:
    mrcbass likes this.
  9. They are being unethical, but what can you do? You are at best a producer on the album, entitled to a share of the profits. Will there realistically be any profits? Probably not, so you’ve already lost what you’re going to lose anyway.

    If you feel you must do something, try telling them that when the album makes a profit (which they probably think it will) then you would be entitled to your cut. Offer to release your claim to your share of the future profits if they pay you back now. If they turn you down and if (after he’ll freezes over) the album actually makes a big profit then it may worth it to take legal action at that point.

    But frankly, let it go and learn to get these things in writting before you hand over your cash.
  10. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Wow, who records albums anymore?
    Get one original song down and upload it to Spotify.
    Then start the next. I can understand that you may have needed an engineer to record your songs but by the time you're done cost wise, you could have just bought Protools or Apple's Logic and done it yourself.
    It's not that hard but it may be more convenient to go to a well equipped studio and have it done for a price.
    As for your money and deleted tracks, well it happens.
    I recorded 5 songs for an original band. I composed all the bass lines. None of what we did was in writing contract wise.
    Once completed they dropped me from the band and went on to performed those songs with a younger and handsomer bassist who played my bass lines note for note. I'm honored that their new bassist was playing my riffs and my riffs only.
    That is priceless.
  11. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    Being friend with someone who plays in a band is not the best criteria to join in.
  12. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Sorry this happened to you.
    Your not the first musician to lose money like this and you surely won't be the last.
    Take the money they've offered and walk away...and put it down to an expensive life lesson learnt.
    (I'm honestly not sure what the lesson is...maybe avoid playing with twins? I played in a band with twins for a year once and by then end of it I was ready to kill them both!)

    Also, try not to think about it too ten or twenty years time this'll just seem like a little bump on life's road.
    javi_bassist likes this.
  13. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    Is there a contract or strong verbal agreement in place that covers this situation? If not, then take what you can get and do better planning in the future.
  14. A christian group at a local college was putting together a project. I had played with one of the guys in the group a few times, but wouldn't have called him a close friend, just a fellow musician I knew. They guy who was helping them get the project going was a friend and asked me to record some bass tracks for the first two songs they were laying down. He asked how much and I said I would do it for them because they were " just broke college kids trying to get going" and I figured it would be cool to have a couple of tracks floating around out there with me on them. I worked really hard and, at least in my mind, did a good, respectable job on the work. After that was done, I never heard anything from them.

    About a year later, the project was released and I got a copy at the radio station I work at. I couldnt wait to play one of the two tracks I had played on. I knew it would be good, I had heard them live, and the guy in charge of the project is a perfectionist. So anyway, I hit play, and thought "that doesn't sound like me. I know my tone, and what I played in certain parts, and that isnt it." I looked in the credits and found the bass player listed. It was a guy who I knew. My name was nowhere to be found. I finally just figured they used me to help them get some solid drum tracks down so they could bring someone else in to do the real bass tracks.

    But a mention would have been nice.

    So now, if I spend a second doing it for someone, unless it is a really close friend, I GET PAID. I learned my lesson there.

    Alik likes this.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I think you'll be lucky if you ever see a penny. When you are out of a band, you are out of a band, I don't know why you would give them more money. If you aren't in the band you have no leverage at all.

    Live and learn. When you hand money to a band, assume it's gone for ever. :thumbsup:

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