Just got a bite from an artist wanting to record one of my songs

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PopTodd

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« on: June 10, 2016, 11:51:06 PM »
Super excited about it, actually. I checked out her stuff and it's pro. Sounds great.
Not a super-well-known name, though, and she is negotiating this with me, herself.

Now, while I have been covered before, it was just by friends and acquaintances and nothing ever went anywhere. But this, it seems, like she it going to put a lot into marketing and whatnot. So, there is definite experience at play here and I want to make sure that I don't get screwed.

Before anything moves ahead, I am having her send over a contract and I want to know what to look for. She is not going to pay me up-front, and I want to make sure that I don't give anything away.
She is asking for at least part of the publishing...

I made it clear that wasn't going to happen.
What should I look for in this contract that are any warning signs?

THIS is the song:
https://hoponpop.bandcamp.com/track/you-wrote-this-song

Thoughts? Advice?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 02:49:22 AM by PopTodd »

S.T.C

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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2016, 12:06:43 AM »
Well it's something for sure. ;)

PopTodd

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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2016, 02:51:07 AM »
Due to some of the way that I worded this topic, the deal fell through. The artist saw the post and took offense. And, looking back at what I wrote, I don't think that I blame her.
I am not the brightest bulb in the batch sometimes.

Boydie

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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2016, 10:53:46 AM »
I am surprised she took this view as I don't think there was anything "offensive" in your post - you were quite rightly looking for some advice so you don't get screwed over

I am sure if you explained she would understand as I am sure she would also want to protect you (and herself)

This is a good example of one of the reasons I am considering a "members only" section of the forum where the general public do not get access - so we can talk more like "mates" and share these types of stories without offending anyone that may stumble across it

As far as things to look out for / warning signs...

Always look out for any requests for money up front - walk away from any of these deals. A reputable publisher, label, artist will be looking for a share in future earnings

Another "trick" to get money out of writers is the line "your song is amazing - it could make a lot of money if it was professionally recorded/produced - pay us £££ and we will get it produced and pitch it"

Note: this is different from "demo services" that are openly offering to do top notch demos. I am talking about those that try to give the impression they want to use the song if it were professionally produced (similar to the "model agencies" that approach young girls in the street saying they would make great models but make their money by selling them photography sessions to make their portfolio - at the young girl's cost)

Any song has a "writer's share" and a "publisher's share" - when you write and record it on your own you own both

If you felt that an established music publisher (ie an expert in the field with lots of industry contacts etc.) would do a better job of commercially exploiting your music than you, then you can try to sign a "publishing deal", which usually assigns 50% of the royalties (often referred to as "the publishers share") to the publishing company, whilst you still retain 50% of the royalties ( often referred to as the "writers share" or "artists share")

In your case a potentially experienced artist/singer may have some contacts and be able to help you "sell" your song so she would potentially be a carrying out part of this "publisher" role, therefore I think it would be fair for her to ask for a % of the "publisher's" share

It is almost unheard of that a writer would get paid any money "up front" in this kind of arrangement so I would not be expecting that at all (the exception being an upfront fee for sync deals - eg TV, adverts, or film placement - although this doesn't always happen)

All of this is only relevant if your song is generating money of course so you don't really have anything to lose as an "unknown writer" - if the song sold a gazillion and you didn't have a great deal/% split I would say the exposure would far outweighs trying to "over-negotiate" a deal and potentially lose it (which sadly may have happened in this case)

If I were you (and you agree with what I have written which is only my humble opinion) I would contact her again with a big apology (and a bunch of flowers!) and explain that you didn't understand the "industry" and you were just being cautious by asking some friends on a forum and no offence was meant - I am sure she would understand you were being cautious

Good luck and it is a cracking song - I hope you can resurrect the deal!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 10:55:44 AM by Boydie »
To check out my music please visit:

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PopTodd

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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2016, 11:02:33 AM »
I did all that.
The main offense she had, was that I (originally) posted her name and appeared to call her business practices into question. Appears that there was nothing wrong with those practices.
Sent the apology letter immediately but, after all that, I don't think that she wants to work with me. And I get it.
Probably could have been a good opportunity. I was just ignorant, overcautious, and impulsive.
Bottom line is, I just blew it.
It sucks, but probably a good lesson to learn. Hopefully, other opportunities will come my way. This was just the first.

PaulAds

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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2016, 12:05:53 PM »
Really sorry to hear you just missed out this time  :(

The great thing is that she loved the song enough to want to put her name on it, and genuinely thought it was commercially viable, so it's almost certain that she's not alone in her opinion and that you're absolutely on the right track with your material.

I think you should take the whole experience as a massive compliment and as something to bear in mind to help towards future success :)

PopTodd

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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2016, 12:56:52 PM »
I am surprised she took this view as I don't think there was anything "offensive" in your post - you were quite rightly looking for some advice so you don't get screwed over.
Not sure if you saw the post as I originally wrote it, but I changed the wording, or rather, eliminated some of the stronger wording from the post since she contacted me about it.
It was worded much stronger than what you see now.

MartynRich

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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2016, 09:11:40 PM »
She obviously loves googling her own name...

The best thing to come out of this is that the song can generate interest. So keep exploiting it and see where it gets you.

The second thing you should do is join a songwriters guild, composers association or the musicians union. They will all give you free legal advice as part of the membership. Anyone who is funny about you checking a legal contract with a professional lawyer would not be worth doing business with.

PopTodd

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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2016, 09:53:27 PM »
She obviously loves googling her own name...

The best thing to come out of this is that the song can generate interest. So keep exploiting it and see where it gets you.

The second thing you should do is join a songwriters guild, composers association or the musicians union. They will all give you free legal advice as part of the membership. Anyone who is funny about you checking a legal contract with a professional lawyer would not be worth doing business with.

She wasn't funny about the contract, she was cool with it.
And, we spoke on the phone and she was nice. Still needed to protect myself, just as she needed to protect herself, as neither one of us really knew each other. Of course. It's business.
But, yeah... I take full responsibility for tanking this deal. I should have been more cautious with the way that I posted about things and, in the future I will be.
Learning experience.

GTB

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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 08:16:01 AM »
Bad luck Poptodd, at least we all know people are looking and listening!
I really like the idea of a members area that Boydie suggested.
GTB

Boydie

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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2016, 09:57:45 AM »
Quote
I really like the idea of a members area that Boydie suggested.

It is on the list to consider - I don't particularly want a "2 tier" system but there is loads of info I would love to share with you guys that I wouldn't want to just make available to the general public

There is lots to consider as I certainly don't want a "cliquey" feel to the forum so when the time comes I will think it through and post any ideas/proposals for consideration and discussion before doing anything

Quote
Not sure if you saw the post as I originally wrote it, but I changed the wording, or rather, eliminated some of the stronger wording from the post since she contacted me about it.
It was worded much stronger than what you see now.

Ah - no I didn't, I only saw the current post, which may explain things!!
To check out my music please visit:

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Oldbutyet

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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2016, 09:54:50 PM »
Super excited about it, actually. I checked out her stuff and it's pro. Sounds great.
Not a super-well-known name, though, and she is negotiating this with me, herself.

(and she is negotiating this with me, herself)  to me thats what its all about, music business suits and lawyers built a imaginary wall so they could protect their own interest, making money, but what really matters is what its really all about, lyrics poetry of words brought together by music that makes songs.

It was your song that got her to get in touch with you and to be honest i think she be a fool to walk away from that reason but in saying that i perfectly understand what happen here, you were looking for advice she was looking for a private conversation i think the word trust now has been fully understood by both sides.

Great song PopTodd hope you two have got back to whats really important here, your song.

mickyplankton

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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 03:54:58 PM »
Like the song. It's got a great vocal delivery as it is.

delb0y

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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 06:20:25 PM »
Yep, the song is brilliant. As is Pop's arrangement. I love Rachel's vocals.
West Country Country Boy

PopTodd

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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2016, 02:18:06 AM »
Thanks so much!