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Need some advice on project (co-producer/engineer)

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by iamfrobs, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Feel free to skip down if you would like. No hard feelings.

    So, I have a project right now. It's funky, bluesy, real good stuff. I dig it alot. I am the enginner/co-producer. It is a double album, 28 songs, most 5+ minutes. While I don't see it as truly commercially viable, there are a few radio stations around me that I think would pick it up, and the live show is very entertaining. The frontman is wonderful.

    What I am wondering, and it sounds strange I'm sure, is what to say as far as payment goes. I understand their position, being working musicians and all, so I wouldn't want to demand money right now. I still am only half done with the work too, although it has exceeded my expectations.

    My other thought was to go for a percent. This is where I am lost. I realize with publishing/legal stuff I will have to do my homework, but I think it might actually be better, since I really do want it heard, and have the motivation to work to get the music out there. So,

    Skip to here if you want to ignore the above...

    Would a percentage of sales, instead of cash, be a good idea? I'm debt-free, and have other forms of income. And everyone involved is very dedicated. I am just looking for some outside opinions.

  2. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    You don't think it's commercially viable, but you think maybe you should take a percentage of sales? ARE YOU MAD, SIR? But seriously, since you believe it won't sell much, it really depends on how charitable/risky you're feeling. If you really want/need the money, you're better off getting it up front. If you believe in the project and want to see it get out there and support some musicians while you're at it, and you can tolerate some risk, go for a percentage and see what happens. No risk, no reward. :)

    You can always split the difference and get a downpayment of x$ before delivery, just so people don't get the idea that you're giving away our skills for nothing, and then get a percentage of sales on top of that. Share (less of) the risk, share the (smaller) rewards.

    And that's my 2 cents. No charge.
  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    The biggest problem with future percentages is exactly how do you track or enforce something like that. If you plan to rely on the honesty of the band members well there is an issue. Not that these guys are not forthright just the fact that most musicians are not good businessmen. Do they have a joint bank account? An accountant? Let's say they get signed by a record label who rerecords where does that leave you?
    IMO in situations like this you are better off with a set fee contract of X amount of dollars, collect Y amount upon delivery (whatever # you want) leave an outstanding balance on a signed contract and if they go somewhere down the road enforce the contract. This is a rather simple case if it went to court whereas proving percentages is a whole other animal.
  4. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Thanks for the responses so far guys. I am kinda setting up the distribution aspect of it, I have some experience from another project, so I would have a good idea of what is going on in that sense.

    These guys are all really talented and good people, so I feel confident that down the road, I will see all the money I could ask for up front. And if not, then I'm a few bucks short, and I still had a good experience with this project.

    I do like the the idea of some cash up front and then a percentage on top. I am going to lean towards that idea to help them out a bit. Unless anyone else has suggestions.

    Thanks guys.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I'm all for supporting your local bands. And if you can use your influence to get them some airplay that will be EXTREMELY beneficial to every aspect of the band's business. Not only will they sell more merchandise, but they will also have more people showing up for their live performances. Not only does that make their shows more fun, but it puts them in a position to make more money. That has to be of some value to the band and you should be entitled to reasonable compensation. The flipside of that is, having a good project in the public eye that came out of your studio is going to boost your studio's business too.

    I personally like the idea of getting some amount of cash up-front to establish the value of your services, and then, negotiating a small percentage of future sales. Giving them a full understanding of how much they would owe if you demanded the cash prior to handing them the master. A quick review of the math and they should jump at the chance to spend that money on manufacturing product. By deferring a big chunk of your fees, it should leave them some money to have the discs professionally manufactured and do a good job with packaging and promotion.

    If the project is burning copies and distributing them on a smaller scale, do you have the facilities to dupe CDs? Can you contract the exclusive rights to provide their future copies? (good luck enforcing that)

    You're absolutely right, most musicians are going to totally flake on any kind of book keeping. Plus they'll give one away to every relative (and two to every pretty girl). End of the year, there's no money, no product left, and no record of what went where.

    I don't know what kind of quantity your not "truly commercial" product will sell. Instead of keeping track of retail sales, can you take a piece of the wholesale order(s)? You would get a piece of your bill on the initial order and everytime they have to re-order if this project takes off.

    I think if you come at it from the, "I think you guys are doing something really special that deserves to be heard" angle, they should be glad to have your help getting it played. And in lieu of paying for all the studio time up-front they should be willing to say the first 200 units sold out of the initial 1000, go to help you recoupe those recording costs. Subsequent orders maybe it drops to 10%. All in writing of course.

    I don't know if any of that helps, just throwing some ideas out there.

    Good luck,

    Maybe you'll post a few tracks when it's time to promote it.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Unless you have some control over the sales, I would opt for cash up front.
  7. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    I thought that was the textbook definition of smart investing, and yet you say it like it's a bad thing.
  8. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The smart money is on giving pretty girls T-Shirts with your band logo across the chest.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Hear hear to the T-Shirt buzinezz...

    So, do you 'need' anything done around the studio? The house? The yard?

    Manual labor for a bit of recording time can be a sure-fire way to get them to consider and be a real part of the investment in their music.

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