Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

A creative space for business discussions.

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

felix
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:13 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by felix » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:29 pm

Hello everyone!I'm in a situation where a singer wants me to produce one of her original songs. She is a great singer and lyricist but not really a professional songwriter (musically speaking). Here is the situation:She sends me an mp3 with just her voice, no music at all, and the meter/rhythm of the song is very hard to spot. Her lyrics are great. She tells me to "produce" the song. I am very creative and make a nice song out of her melody and the almost undefinable rhythm and now there is a lot of ME (musically speaking) in the song as well.My question: Am I a co-writer or am I just the arranger/producer in this case? Thanks, Felix

User avatar
sgs4u
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 3122
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:39 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Vancouver
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by sgs4u » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:37 pm

Nov 24, 2008, 8:29pm, felix wrote:Hello everyone!I'm in a situation where a singer wants me to produce one of her original songs. She is a great singer and lyricist but not really a professional songwriter (musically speaking). Here is the situation:She sends me an mp3 with just her voice, no music at all, and the meter/rhythm of the song is very hard to spot. Her lyrics are great. She tells me to "produce" the song. I am very creative and make a nice song out of her melody and the almost undefinable rhythm and now there is a lot of ME (musically speaking) in the song as well.My question: Am I a co-writer or am I just the arranger/producer in this case? Thanks, FelixIs she paying you?Is she in the same town as you, can you get together?Is she expecting to pay you, and then her own the masters?What do you want from the situation? Cash, fame or investment?

felix
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:13 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by felix » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:54 pm

Quote:Is she paying you?Is she in the same town as you, can you get together?Is she expecting to pay you, and then her own the masters?What do you want from the situation? Cash, fame or investment?Hi Steve, thanks for your reply.She's paying me to produce a whole album. The song I'm talking about is her only original composition the rest of the songs comes from other writers.She lives in the same town as I do and we do work together.She will own the masters when the project is finished.I want justice in this situation - Felix

User avatar
hummingbird
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 7068
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:50 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by hummingbird » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:48 pm

Nov 24, 2008, 8:29pm, felix wrote:Hello everyone!I'm in a situation where a singer wants me to produce one of her original songs. She is a great singer and lyricist but not really a professional songwriter (musically speaking). Here is the situation:She sends me an mp3 with just her voice, no music at all, and the meter/rhythm of the song is very hard to spot. Her lyrics are great. She tells me to "produce" the song. I am very creative and make a nice song out of her melody and the almost undefinable rhythm and now there is a lot of ME (musically speaking) in the song as well.My question: Am I a co-writer or am I just the arranger/producer in this case? Thanks, FelixIf I were working with you, and I was the one who sent you the sung melody/lyrics, you would be my co-writer, 50-50.--Hummin'bird
"As we are creative beings, our lives become our works of art." (Julia Cameron)

Link: Vikki Flawith Music

aimusic
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1221
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:53 am
Gender: Male
Location: London
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by aimusic » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:53 pm

If she's paying you to PRODUCE - then that's all you're doing... unless you've changed lyrics and melody of her singing then that makes you a co-writer, but I'd suggest mentioning that to her first before you finish the project and say right, now I co-wrote this track, this track and that track... can get EXTREMELY messy... If she likes what you've done with the songs use that to your advantage when mentioning the co-write, if she doesn't agree then just produce to the best of your abilities - if the project turns out good, then that's a credibility towards you.Take CareB

User avatar
sgs4u
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 3122
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:39 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Vancouver
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by sgs4u » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:43 pm

Nov 24, 2008, 11:48pm, hummingbird wrote:Nov 24, 2008, 8:29pm, felix wrote:Hello everyone!I'm in a situation where a singer wants me to produce one of her original songs. She is a great singer and lyricist but not really a professional songwriter (musically speaking). Here is the situation:She sends me an mp3 with just her voice, no music at all, and the meter/rhythm of the song is very hard to spot. Her lyrics are great. She tells me to "produce" the song. I am very creative and make a nice song out of her melody and the almost undefinable rhythm and now there is a lot of ME (musically speaking) in the song as well.My question: Am I a co-writer or am I just the arranger/producer in this case? Thanks, FelixIf I were working with you, and I was the one who sent you the sung melody/lyrics, you would be my co-writer, 50-50.--Hummin'birdReally Vikki? If you were paying a producer, to produce your record, you would also give them 50% writer's credit, to finish helping write and arrange tunes? Wow, I hope more artists think like you.

User avatar
sgs4u
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 3122
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:39 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Vancouver
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by sgs4u » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:54 pm

Nov 24, 2008, 10:54pm, felix wrote:Quote:Is she paying you?Is she in the same town as you, can you get together?Is she expecting to pay you, and then her own the masters?What do you want from the situation? Cash, fame or investment?Hi Steve, thanks for your reply.She's paying me to produce a whole album. The song I'm talking about is her only original composition the rest of the songs comes from other writers.She lives in the same town as I do and we do work together.She will own the masters when the project is finished.I want justice in this situation - FelixSo we're only talking about one song here. You're being paid. Can you still do a great job without worrying about your input/co-writing on one song? If you were a famous record producer, you wouldn't be asking this question on this forum. I'm not being disrespectful, it's just the reality. You'll have a lot more clout on your next project, either with her or someone else, if she is willing to vouch for how easy you are to work with. Sometimes, bringing up a co-writing situation question with an artist when they aren't expecting it, leaves a leftover vibe that really gets in the way of doing the best job possible. Now if you weren't being paid, I'd say yes, get writer's credit on the song. But because you're getting paid, you have less ammunition to ask for or expect points, unless you have some kind of proven, hit making track record. Does this help you?No, I'm not a lawyer, I'm a writer/producer with a few experiences with what you're talking about. The vibe matters more than anything. That's my production motto.

felix
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:13 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by felix » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:01 am

Thanks again Steve for your input!I'm not in a dispute with the artist about this and the vibe is great and inspiring. I'm just trying to find a fair answer. As a songwriter I've been in situations where artists were only willing to release my song with the stipulation that they also appear as a co-writer even though they had nothing to do with the creation of the song. I don't think it is fair but it is a business practice and part of the "game". On the other hand there are situations like the one we're discussing where a song would have never been created without the creative input of someone else. And I feel like that should be recognized/honored in some way. I do agree with Vikki that credits and at least a 60/40 split (since I had no part in the lyrics) would be fair.But again I'm not in a "fight" about this I'm just trying to find an ethical answer. Your input helped me a lot since I can see a different point of view.Thank you! Felix

twilsbach
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:08 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Indianapolis
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by twilsbach » Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:55 am

Sounds like you doing more than a producer typically would, but as Steve said, your working relationship is important.The fact that you're even debating it suggests that you're open to either possibility, so why not have a conversation with the singer. For me, just clearing the air and nailing down the details of a business arrangement, whatever it is, makes the whole process happier. Don't let it fester one way or the other.

User avatar
hummingbird
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 7068
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:50 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Am I a co-writer or 'just' an arranger ?

Post by hummingbird » Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:57 am

I repeat my point of view, IMO you would be co-writer on this song, since you have created the music for it. I do many co-writes like this. If there is no problem in the relationship, then TALK TO HER about it.BUT.she would also have a question - isn't she paying you for this service? Isn't it a work for hire? Why is she being asked to share copyright with you? Aren't you 'arranging' the other songs on the album? What makes this one different?See, there is no clear answer - just opinon. So the two of you need to sit down over a cup of tea, and have a chat. At the end of the chat, BEFORE work begins, you need to put your arrangement in writing. respectfullyHummingbird
"As we are creative beings, our lives become our works of art." (Julia Cameron)

Link: Vikki Flawith Music

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests