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How do you get people to respond to the tougher questions on talkbass?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Will a title like that help? I need to be advised, quickly.

    Most people around here know me. I've been around a while, been playing a while, had some exciting things in my bass career - it's time now that I admit I know squat about making money w music outside of playing covers and being a gun for hire. I need help, as I've been in this type of situation before and been screwed.

    Situation: Playing with this guy for around 9 months. I love the material, we work well together, he has a few good things going on industry wise (not just lip service, I've seen it), and he's got some money to invest. We're going into the studio to lay down about 7 tracks that are going to be used in a variety of ways, with good potential of some serious money being made. The writer of it all claims to really want a band, not hired musicians, doesn't seem to care terribly about the money (which is always BS IMO), and has been saying since day 1 that any money the band makes he intends to split evenly. We haven't made any yet, but he's invested quite a bit without asking for any back. He's going to draw up agreements before we go into the studio and have them signed and notarized.

    OK. First, I think he's either the coolest musician I ever met, totally nuts, or a liar. Can't really say for sure, but being a native New Yorker I tend to always suspect the worst. Second, I'm not even sure what I should be asking for here? It would be easist for all to just say throw me several hundred for the recording and we'll take it from there but he's kind of made it clear he doesn't want that.

    I could go into this and say, "You told me half of everything made!" and that's what I'm sticking with, but that doesn't seem reasonable nor realistic as this guy is really putting 98% more into this than I am. I'm just writing basslines. Without going on and on... the jist of the situation is here. I have to discuss this with him on Tuesday and we'll have contracts/agreements most likely by the weekend.

    What would you do?

    And if ya can't answer that, then answer this :) . what do you do to get your tougher questions answered and keep a thread alive? Thanks.
  2. Well, are you in a band? Who's going into the studio? You, him, and?? Are the others hired or are they in the "band" for this? I ask because the rest of it may fall into place with those questions... I mean if he really wants a band, then what's the hurry to get into the studio?

    Not getting screwed, as I'm sure you know, all boils down to the contract you sign. Ensure you have input on the contract.

    If you don't know what he is after 9 months he's either a really good liar or you're terrible at reading people. Go with your gut...

    Lastly, I don't have any idea how to get peeps to respond. We're all in different places at different times and some questions take a lot of energy and time to write. Maybe PM those who you have respect for and ask for their opinion...
  3. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
    Do you currently have your own agent or attorney? By that I mean someone retained by you personally and NOT by this project (or another). If not, I would at the very least retain an entertainment lawyer to review all contracts and agreements on your behalf before you sign anything.

    The difficult part of this is the fact that it seems like you've got a close working and personal relationship with this guy, and at this time you're both going to have to be all business about how you're going to join forces legally, so to speak.

    You say that he's been saying you will get half, and if you're a two piece project then basically that means the two of make up the entire band. Are the songs under copyright yet, or is part of this process meant to establish who has what piece of ownership of the publishing rights? Is this the formation of a band (and brand) or just about the song rights? What and who else will be included in these agreements: eventual tour, merchandising, etc. profits and agents/managers/lawyers/labels/etc.?

    Before you go in you probably need to figure out what YOU want out of the project. What is the minimum piece of the pie you're willing to take, in case he comes in with a figure of less than the half he's been stating all along? Are you willing to give up some of your (presumably income producing) other work to prioritize this project if that is an expectation that he has?

    Sorry that I actually asked more questions than made suggestions, but those are all the things I'd be asking myself if I were in your shoes. And I'm sure I'm missing a ton, an experience talent manager or entertainment lawyer may be able to fill in the blanks.
  4. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    He may be totally genuine about not caring about putting in the money. A good friend of mine put together a kickass surf rock/indie band and his day job paid mint. He TOTALLY bank rolled the band to the point of paying for the instruments and amps that he wanted used! He paid for all the recording, all the record pressing, and all he wanted was the band to be on point. I dont know the fella youre dealing with so YMMV.

    However, talk to him about it. Talk about whats fair. Me personally, unless I was hired as a paid studio musician, I wouldnt even be asking for anything to go lay tracks but would want specific agreements about how any profits from the recordings would be split up and exactly what the word "profits" would mean. If I was hired as a studio musician, then I would want my pay spelled out.

    I however have recorded on 3 albums, and am currently one a fourth in the works, and have never been paid a dime for that. But we do split up the profits from records in a pretty democratic way.
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    To try and answer as much and as quickly as possible...

    We haven't gotten all that close actually. In the 9 months I basically played a handful of gigs, rehearsed and hung out a few times. He's been struggling to find a bass player he feels fits and there are a handful of reasons I believe he's real happy to have found me.

    The 2 paragraphs I quoted are exactly where all my questions lie.

    If I said in my OP that he's splitting thing 50/50 I meant equally with the band. 3 ways.

    I have to head out for a tough days work but will be more specific about all this when I get back. Bottom line is I'm not sure what's even reasonable to ask for in a situation like this. Especially since he's offering equal cut.

    To waterpilot... not sure I understand your questions. I'm in several bands, plus a solo band/project thing I do when I have the energy and time. In the situation I stated I'll be writing and performing basslines for songs the guy I'm going into agreement with wrote. He has a drummer he's been working with for about 2 years. The three of us are the band.
  6. I meant are you in a band with him. You said he wanted a band and not hired musicians, but it was hard to tell what your relationship with him was exactly. Makes more sense now...

    There are so many variables to your questions, but obviously, it's going to boil down to what you're comfortable with and your relationship with him. Tell him your concerns about bad experiences in the past, not wanting to go through it again and the importance of the contract being business not personal. Expect what he said he was going to do (Half) and then question it if it's been changed.


    See this is kinda where I was confused the first time... The first sentence sounds like a hired gun but the next snetence says you're in a band together... What do you consider yourself in this situation? A contributing band member or a contributing hired gun? Or am I an idiot and not reading anything right?
  7. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Common situation, here is the common answer, You are a co-writer of all and any material recorded and it is noted as such.
    Look on albums and you will see
    1/all songs written by? ( insert band name)
    This means every body in the band is a songwriter and gets a royalty split so long as they are in the band.
    2/ all songs by ?, ? ?, ?, ?, ? (again insert names of the band members)
    in this situation again all band members get a royalty split regardless of whether they stay with the band, they are co-writers.
    3/ All songs by ? ( insert the name of the one main song writer)
    in this situation only the person credited will receive money as song writer
    4/ track 1 by ?, track 5,7,8 by ? track 2,3,4 by ? (insert any of the above combinations or band members)
    in this situation only those credited get the royalties. This could lead to a potential situation over which songs get used as there could be great financial gains to be made for the writer.

    Apart from just royalties there is the copyright control of the song, so income can come from other sources such as TV, film, commercials, it being covered by another artist etc.

    Then there is mechanical rights, performing rights.
    Mechanical rights is where you basically sell the right for your work to be manufactured by a third party say such as an album. This systems allows you to negotiate a return in the form of a royalty or fee for them to use the mechanical rights. The mechanical rights has time limits, normally 2-3 years, then it can be sold to another or re-negotiated.
    This system is used by bands to allow small record companies that have had no involvement in the recording or production of the CD to release it. It gives them fair time to re-coup their costs, pressing distribution, publicity etc as the band does not have to pay for any of this...its a roll of the dice both ways, but a good one.

    Now say your record company gets an offer from a major a year into the agreement to buy the mechanical rights, they can sell them for what ever the best offer is( normally the highest) and the money is there's not yours, ( you still get your agreed return. if it is a royalty then you will make more than you could before because of the new markets a major can put you product in to. That's why the major made the bid because they know they can). Again when the time limit is up it must be re-negotiated.

    Performing rights are paid to those that perform the song regardless of status.
    So you write a song, record it and play it on TV or at a PRS licensed venue.
    You get a return as the song writer, and you get a return as the performer, and you get a fee for the appearance. That's three potential returns from the one song.

    In the UK, the PRS ( performing rights society) and the MCPS (mechanical, copyright protection society) are now merged as one as the PRS for music.

    Here you log on open an account, get verified from varies sources, account validated, you enter you songs and they authenticate them as a writer, co-writer and job done. The will track any use, performance, or copy right infringement of that song. They also collect royalties from varies licences they issue, and source new markets to enforce these licences (such as public events, bars, Juke boxes, radios, etc.)

    In the U.S it is different due to the varied agencies that you can sign up to to look after your interests, but start here


    As usual there are sharks and con men in all walk of life so this is no different, so use a layers to help you, your local Musicians Union may even offer this as a free or subsidised service, (again another organisation to have on your side)

    All above is a simplified version of events, but the information is factual as i do it, this is how i earn more from being a musician by working at it as a business. The motto to remember is " earning the money is easy, holding on to it is the hard part"

    Hope this has been a help.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I must add if anyone is not that bothered about the money, then they will have no problems acknowledging you ( and you them) as a co-writer. This will see if they are happy to split potential earnings. Good luck.
  9. Easy, outside of being told to turn down the music or your dog is barking too much, I almost never speak to the police without my lawyer, I wouldn't sign anything with out a lawyer either.

    If he is as easy going as you say, then he shouldn't get upset or have any issues.

    Business is business.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  11. behndy

    behndy Banned

    Nov 1, 2008
    this is above my level of experience but sub'd for the interesting answers.
  12. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Hey, people can be pretty darn cool when someone’s working for them for free.

    If he’s got money, and is so cool, and values you, he would be paying you something for laying the tracks and whatever else you’re doing. Sorry, that’s just inconsiderate, and if he values you that little now…

    And his investing lots, in himself, is not impressing the heck outta me.

    And if his material is worth a dang, and is smart, he’d be way wiser to just hire musicians.

    I’m wondering if the contract will be in place before you go into the studio, but even if it were, what the heck might it be worth. Then ya hire a lawyer to go over it, you just actually paid to do the work for an assured split of what might (probably) be nothing.

    And I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure laying tracks to “be used in a variety of ways” isn’t a real protectable contribution.

    The promise of a band sounds like a carrot he’s using to get you to run where he wants. I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.

    Naw, I'd work cheap if I liked the guy, but I'd go for the bird in the hand.

    Call me cynical… :)
  13. The guy sounds cool, but in my limited experience if it isn't about money then it is about ego..at which point, I can't see the guy not wanting his name on the project. I haven't dealt with anyone who was so evolved that they put art before money or ego.
  14. johnboy65


    May 22, 2009
    Ok just a couple of things.
    If you are just writing basslines, in general, that doesn't entitle you to much as far as writing credits. Now if you are helping with arrangement then it gets a little tricky, and you should work something out as far as writing percentages. I agree that lawyers are good in this case. Just to draw up an easy agreement. I would think that you could also find some good resources online too.

    It sounds to me like you are a bit of a glorified hired gun on this one. That can go:
    1) being in a band means you put all your time and effort in for very little return
    2) there is an equal split on record and gig money (after recoup on his part)
    3) you are being taken advantage of

    just my $.02
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Q: How to get good replies
    A! Write better questions (or clearer)


    (From what I'm trying to pull from the rambling)

    1-If you want residuals, then get on the credits

    2-IF the guy has cash, either a dreamer OR didn't get it by making stupid decisions

    3-If you want the experience, then put the cash aside.


    In reality bassists are normally not given credit for any creative content.. it's lyricists, melodists and chord hacks (arrangers).


    I've recorded tons of for stuff that some of you may have heard --- as a ghost writer... I get no royalties and/or can say what they are....

    I'm cool with it... I get paid in advance.


    Overall Contracting Advice...
    Be the one who writes the contracts.. sign it in front of them.. then ave them sign...

    "the first person to get it on paper wins"
  16. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    When I'm in your guy's shoes, I pay the tab to have the control.

    There's a band that I USED to play with.. I own the logo, name, marketing materials, contracts, demo audio, etc.

    When I was done with them, they didn't put a value on it... I sold the band materials to a local competing band - the competing band now has an image in a shoe box (including killer web name/site)

    my former band mates? they now have to start over.... they didn't play by my rules.

  17. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Ok here's my dos centavos...

    If it is in fact a band then I feel things should be split evenly between the three of you, with the percentages being modified slightly based on who's writing most of the tunes, or whos coming up with the "spark" that inspired the songs. If the band is "Whatshisname and the whoevertheyares" then the main songwriter should get the larger share, but not necessarily 50%+ unless he is in fact writing everything including drum parts and bass lines.

    Additionally there are other things to consider besides song writing credits. Who's paying for studio time? Who's covering travel costs and touring? Who's doing the foot work to book gigs? Who's working on the promotions and get T-Shirts, and other schwag made to pass out to fans?

    I also agree with the earlier posts about getting some legal council and doing your homework. Find a book or two on the business side of the music business.

    So after all of this my advice is to start by splitting everything 3 ways, i.e. 33.3%, and modifying this by the various factors taking place in your situation. Don't cave, and make sure you go in with a clear idea of what it is you want out of this, and what you are leagally able to do. I'm not saying hose the guy, I'm just saying don't let yourself get screwed. I think it was the Back Street Boys that sold millions of albums and walked away with nothing because of a crappy contract.

    So have fun but stay sharp.
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    OK. Here's what they presented to me. Anyone have any thoughts?

    I'm going to have my real name added.

    1. If song gets bought and band is still together: proceeds get split evenly 4 ways between ***, Joe Nerve, ***, and ***.

    • If song gets bought but recording is not used and band is still together: proceeds get split evenly 4 ways between ***, Joe Nerve, ***, and ***.

    • If any member decides to leave the band, that member forfeits any future financial gains and will not be able to use any material from said songs in any form, for any reason.

    • If song gets published and Joe Nerve has since been terminated, he will continue to receive 5% of any published work from **title of cd** but will not be able to use any material from said songs in any form, for any reason.

    • As long as the band remains together, any and all profits from merchandising and live shows after costs for recording, rehearsals, etc., will be split evenly amongst band members.

    edit: the"1"s translated as such when I cut and pasted it for some reason. don't know how to change it.
  19. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    First two 1's look good. Last three 1's, not so much.
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Keep in mind that the music is this guy's stuff. I didn't write it. And I'm not putting a penny into the production of it. Will just be adding basslines.

    What specifically on the last 3 1s do ya think is questionable?

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