Songwriter Forum > Resources & Marketing

Film placements -- royalty-based contracts?

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PopTodd:
So, it looks like I have an opportunity to have a song (or 3) placed into a small independent film.
Now, they don't have much of a budget, but they really, really want my music and I really, really want to let them use it. But I can't see letting it go for free.
So, being that I want to do this deal, but I don't want to break their budget, I was thinking about drawing up a contract where I get a small amount up front for the use of my music and then, if the film gets picked up by a major distributor, I can collect royalties on the back end.

Have any of you ever done a contract like this?

Keep in mind that I'm in the US, so laws are probably different, but still... experience helps.

Thanks!

PopTodd:
It's getting closer to the time that I'm gonna have to figure this out and I haven't been able to find anybody to walk me through this.
Anybody have any clue?
Or, should I just go with the flat fee and risk it. Figure that at least I'll get a little something, plus a placement that could lead to more.
(Yeah, the dreaded "exposure" argument, but I'm not giving it away, at least.)

Boydie:
I missed this the first time

I think it would be fair to offer the songs for a nominal "upfront" fee and then ask for extra if the film gets picked up and hits the big time - either a bigger flat fee or a %

tone:
Thanks to the spam I just deleted, I saw this thread for the first time.

I think the nominal fee is a good idea. I did this once for a piece of music a game developer wanted to use in a promo. My contract stated a £1 licence fee based on several restrictions including:
This project/ production only
Non-transferrable
Void if the project is bought/ handed to a 3rd party

Yours could include provisions for a % of all the film's lifetime earnings in exchange for a nominal upfront fee?

Maybe I'm too late to the thread - did you sort this out yet Todd?

CaliaMoko:
@PopTodd -- You're going to keep us posted on this, right? I will want to try to see the film, if this works out!

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