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Using recordings from a band that broke up

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by BoyBrown, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. BoyBrown

    BoyBrown Guest

    I have a few questions about what would be the best way to proceed with a catalog I share with another writer and as a songwriter in general. If anybody knows a lot about this stuff, or thinks they have any good ideas, I would be very grateful.

    Here is a quick summary of my current situation:
    I was in a pop/rock band with another song writer. We independently funded a professional quality record that we wrote and performed ourselves. However, within a month or two of completing tracking, the band broke up which put the songs in an odd state of limbo. Now that the band is non-existent, we need to explore new options for having these songs advance our careers as song writers independent of that band.

    We registered a publishing company through ASCAP when the band was active and one of the members still feels like it would be our best option to exclusively seek performances of the recordings through our company. However, especially since the band will not be promoting the material, it seems to me that exclusively using our company to publish the songs would be a dead-end street. That brings about my first question:
    -Is there a way that we could sign these songs to a publisher and still have rights to find outlets through our company as well? This would allow us to individually push the material (which would allow us to keep our publishing income for deals that we found) as well as have a legitimate publishing company find connections for the songs (of course, we'd be giving up the 50% for these deals). If I understand correctly, it seems like the only way to do this is have a "non-exclusive" publishing deal with both companies. If this is the case, couldn't we potentially have the songs in "non-exclusive" deals with multiple companies?

    Currently, the other writer of that band and I are starting a small recording studio in order to advance our catalog of professional quality recordings of our original compositions (for demos as well as masters). Instead of using our band as the only promoter of our material, we are trying to get into TV, film scoring, commercials, etc (essentially, we will write for anyone who wants to commission our talents). My second question then, is:
    -Is there any specific or general type of publishing company that I should look at for this catalog that would be more likely to get us into those fields in the future if they did like this work?
    Thanks ahead of time for any advice I can get.
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    What kind of formal paperwork do you have with the band? Is there a signed contract between the band and you laying out who owns what? Are you still on good terms with the band members and could you get them, if not already done, to sign an agreement with you and the other song writer? This is a fairly tricky question since there are a couple of things that have to be cleared up before you can start selling the publishing rights to the songs.

    I am not a lawyer and I don't play one on on TV but in this litigation crazy world the first thing you want to do is establish who really owns the songs and what was/is the contractual arrangement between you and the band. There are a couple of people on this web board who are really good at these types of questions and maybe one of them will answer your question.

    If this is important to you and the other song writer I would not do anything until you have contacted a performance right attorney or a copyright attorney and asked them the "legal" side of the question. YMMV

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