Imagine you sell a song exclusively to one buyer. Which term would you go?

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« on: April 24, 2021, 05:16:51 PM »
Hello fellas!

I'm doing research about a situation in the singer/songwriter/vocalist industry.
If you are one of these people, please take a read and share your opinion and choice! 🙂

Imagine a situation where you've produced lyrics, melody, topline, and a beat (basically a FULL song) by yourself.
You are about to sell this song to some other artist.
This song can be only sold ONCE, so this is a real exclusive sale.

The artist who buys this song will use your beat, melody, and lyrics and re-record the song with his own vocal. The artist could add some lyrics, have an impact on the beat, etc. so this may/or may not become a totally new song, but with your original creative input.

You do NOT know who the artist is, it may be your neighbor, it might be a superstar, maybe a label buying a song for his artist. You DON'T know who the buyer is. You also wouldn't be in the title of a track since the song's purpose is to become a property for another artist.

When it comes to deal terms and fees, which option you'd rather go to?
For example, we are going to take the maximum fee as $10.000 and the lowest at $1.500. I'll explain the difference below.

1. 100% Full Ownership and Copyright Buyout

You are only going to be paid a one-time, flat-fee buyout/work-for-hire basis.
You will not own ANY of the rights to the song. You wouldn't be credited as a writer, no publishing, no royalties, etc.

Example one-time - $10.000

2. 100% Full Ownership and Copyright Buyout but with the Buyer's commitment to 10% of ALL song income to you.

You WOULD NOT have any ownership, control, copyright, and credit/title in the song.
Basically the same first option, but the buyer of your song is obliged to pay you 10% of all income he'll get from this song for a lifetime period.
This is being legally done via an administration deal. Not a direct publishing deal. The artist is the actual person who has to pay you those 10% royalties.
The risk here is that the buyer might not use the song at all. Or will ignore requests about paying royalties, so it might end up being a lawsuit or even..nothing 🙂
In regards to the one-time flat fee, you are losing 60% in comparison to the first option.
If the song goes big - 10% of income + $4.000 flat fee - not bad.

Example one-time - $4.000

3. 100% Copyright Buyout but keeping 50% writer's share.

Similar to the first option, but you will be credited as a writer, so you might collect performance royalties ONLY via your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, etc).
You are NOT getting any publishing share.
As you might know, a writer's share income from PRO (public performance of your song) is way lower in comparison to publishing (what you get from streams, digital sales, etc)
The fee must be lower than FULL buy-out, so

Example one-time  - $7.000

4. 50% split of ALL rights

This might look like the fairest option. At least for you.
You will be entitled to 50% publishing and performance royalties.
Even if the artist brings 10 rappers and everyone says "YO" onto your version of a song, the split will look like 50% you and 5% to each of 10 rappers.
The thing here is that you can NOT charge a big one-time fee in comparison to the full buyout or buyout with a 50% writers' share. The fee has to be way lower.
Also, you don't know if the song will become big or not. So it's fair, but quite risky.
The buyer might even NOT use/release your song. Might just leave it on his computer. You will never know. You have to make a choice 🙂

Example one-time fee - $1500



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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2021, 11:55:02 AM »
Interesting proposition and options

For me it would be option 3

That seems to give a sizeable “up front” stack of cash and still recognises me as the writer to enhance my reputation for future work
To check out my music please visit:



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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 09:06:34 PM »
I'm with Boydie. I'd be option 3 for me, possibly option 4 at a push. With either of those options there's the ability to build up kudos if the song makes it big, while option 3 would throw in a nice few quid to sweeten the deal although option 4 would surely be more lucrative if the song really really blew up. If the intention was to make a quick buck then sure option 1 would fit but it's not conducive to trying to 'make it' in terms of cracking into the golden circle of hit writers I guess...