1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Music licensing dilemma

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Tyme, Jan 2, 2012.


  1. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    Okay here’s the deal, I recently joined a newly organized original project that has released a 6 song demo with the previous bassist, and they now want me to re record my bass lines at my expense. I really don’t have an issue with doing this. However my concerns are that the singer who writes all the melodies and lyrics has, and wants to continue to hold all licensing rights for all the material under his name only. All checks mailed to him. His quote to all of us was “What’s the matter? You don’t trust me? I won’t @#$@ ya:” I just don’t feel comfortable putting allot money, and time into this only to find out latter on that I shouldn’t have trusted him. Should I just cross my fingers and hope for the best, assuming the music goes somewhere, and he is true to his word? Or should we push for having all members legally given licensing rights? Then we would have the obstacle of getting past the trust thing, without insulting his integrity. How would you guys handle this situation?
     
  2. There's a difference between the songwriter rights and the performing rights. The songwriter has all the rights to the songwriting part. As for the performance, that's where you should get a slice of the pie. I doubt there's much money involved so even if you don't get it, most likely you will not lose financially and you could keep your relationship with the rest of the band in place.
     
  3. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    You recently joined a newly organized project... Have you know this singer for longer? Does he have a track record of success and trustworthiness? If not, my answer to "you don't trust me?" would be "I'll trust you as far as I can throw you". I mean, why should you trust somebody you barely know?

    I'm not saying this guy sounds like a ripoff artist; there's a small chance but it's probably more likely he hasn't really thought out the money aspects of the project. As ksandvik mentioned, licensing the performance and licensing the song are separate things. Does the singer even know this? A lot of artistic people don't really understand how money works.
     
  4. otherclef

    otherclef

    Aug 10, 2011
    Charleston
    The tunes are his... why the confusion??
     
  5. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    I haven't known the singer personally for very long all, only a few months..but have known of him as an area musician.The original band he was in for the past 17 years split up, and he restructured/regrouped it into what it is now. He has been successfully selling music to movie's, TV networks etc.. and has the talent, and industry contacts to continue his successful trend. He consistently receives royalty checks from his previous projects. I guess I need to study up on the performance and licensing differences, and do what needed to be legally protected. Thanks!
     
  6. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    So the supporting musicians aren't entitled to any financial gain for their efforts, and monies invested? It was my understanding if the music was licensed to the band, not the individual, we would be entitled to a small percentage.

    I guess I need to read up on the preforming rights, and how that works!
     
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    The cost of rerecording bass for 6 tracks will probably be pretty darn expensive. My band recently got done shopping around to record our 4 song EP, and most places wanted to charge us $80-$150 a song. Now not all places are like that and all you're recording are basslines, but I can't see this costing less than $200. You have to shop around and ask if it's worth it for you.

    In addition, the singer potentially has a lot to gain from this. If I'm correct (and please correct me if I'm wrong), by rerecording the basslines it'll void his obligation to give any performance credits to the old bassist. In addition, he might honestly not think you know any better about your entitlement to your performance rights, and he might be asking you to rerecord so that he can pocket that extra sum for himself. That probably isn't the case, but it could be if things work the way I understand them to.
     
  8. otherclef

    otherclef

    Aug 10, 2011
    Charleston
    Well lets say a big time artist hears one of the songs and wants to put it on his/her album. The negotiations would be between the guy that wrote the song ( your singer) and the big time artist.

    As far as performing... you get paid by the gig.
    As far as you laying out $$$ to put your bass lines on the songs... that's your call.
     
  9. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Okay, this information added to the OP tells me that this guy has the songs, the lyrics, the melodies, the contacts, the track record, the experience and the success to pretty much call the shots on this project. I'm concerned that you'll sour the relationship by making too-far-reaching demands. You should know what to expect, i.e. how much exactly is he going to pay you and when, and you can ask to have that in writing if you want, but he also has the right to cancel your relationship. So I guess do what you want, but it sounds to me like this is his baby and he'll be laying down the law... as it should be, IMO.

    As far as the request that you pay for new bass tracks, I would think that's optional for you to decide if you want to or not. Was that a situation where you said "Hey let's have me play bass on these instead of the old guy" and them replying "Sure, out of your pocket," or did they initiate the idea?
     
  10. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yeah, that sounds OK. I'd still try to get something more specific than "don't worry, trust me"... for example if a TV show wants one of the songs and uses the recording with you on bass, what happens then?
     
  11. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    The idea was mutual. They like my bass lines better then the previous bassist, and I would like to be on the music I'm now promoting.
     
  12. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    Exactly! That's what I'm talking about. And none of us would ever know, unless he told us.
     
  13. Long term it's always best to deal with those who are professional. You should get a part of the performing rights. If not*), most likely you are dealing with a non-professional and that means more similar misery in future.

    *)Assuming the songwriter is clearly aware of the difference between the songwriter and performing rights.
     
  14. Damnit, took too long, rewriting....

    If you're not in the license agreement, you should at least get a cut of the proceeds based on a contract with the singer/songwriter. You did do something different that the band liked.

    How do the rest of the band feel about the arrangement THEY have with the singer/songwrriter?

    Edit question: are we talking copyright as equivalent to license?
     
  15. DBCrocky

    DBCrocky

    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Most royalties go to the songwriter, you don't get royalties for playing on a recording. Only the songwriter gets paid for radio plays or TV Commercial plays (Performance Royalties) or when someone else records a cover of his song (Mechanical Royalites), etc.

    Now, if you play on a recording for free, or worse yet, pay part of the recording costs, then you should demand equal ownership in the copyright to that recording (which is different than the copyright to the song). This means you should get your fair share for sales of that recording (CDs, iTunes, etc) and for any licensing deals relating to that recording. (that recording is licensed for a TV Commercial).

    Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, so this is my understanding/opinion. There are a couple of music attorneys here, hopefully they will chip in.
     
  16. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    That's another thing, the singer wants to put the demo up on CDbaby with all of us sharing cost associated equally. Not to mention we're going back into the studio to record new material next month, again.. all sharing the cost associated equally.
     
  17. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Why bother re-recording a bass line to an already recorded demo? If a label wants the recording, they can pay for you to re-record the tracks IF the recording (Demo) even "sounds" like a record (in its current state), or everything will be recorded at a professional level (master). If that happens you might get a pittance, but doubtful.

    As far as songwriting... you won't be included. Unless out of the kindness of the songwriter's heart, he cuts you a sliver. Doubt it, but get it in writing. The songwriter will use his publishing share to entice a label to invest (you will NOT be included in that scenario). Once the Publishing is sold away, the songwriter has cut his income in half. Why would he give you any of his Songwriting share?

    You would make performance royalties from recording a product that is sold to the public - if YOU are "signed" as the Artist. But good luck collecting, unless a boat load are sold. Otherwise, you may get a flat fee (Work for Hire) and have no rights to the product - most likely.

    Bottom line at this point in time, the singer should pay you AND the recording expenses for HIS demo.
     
  18. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    Yes.
     
  19. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I played lead with a band that recorded a six song demo. When I left the band, they had someone record new lead parts for everything so I would not be on it for legal reasons. Of course they left all the Bass, Electric rhythm and Acoustic Rhythm parts I recorded on them. I was the only "string" playing instrumentalist on them.

    I know I've done studio work for people that pay me for what I played and that is the end of my ownership of the performance, but if he wants you to pay for it yourself, then you are not being compensated up front so you should have legal rights to the performance, therefore getting paid if it is used, unless you agree to not want any ownership, in which case you actually should have to "sign off" on everything, which would mean writing up a legal doc. stating you relinquish all rights to your performance.

    That of course is if you care. If you don't think it would really be a big deal and don't expect to get anything from it, don't worry about all that stuff. He will always have the rights as the writer of the songs.
     
  20. Tyme

    Tyme

    Oct 18, 2006
    Springfield, MA
    I guess that's the question, what we need to do to legally secure performance rights. It was my understanding that it depended on how the copyrights were submitted.
     

Share This Page