Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by ldavidson54321 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:01 am

Hello, I am new to this forum. I'm pretty sure this question has been asked 1 million times, but I'm gonna ask again anyways.

I am a songwriter who is in the process of writing new songs for my first EP. I am a vocalist as well as a guitarist. All my songs so far are just guitar and vocals, but I plan on having them produced further. I recently had a conversation with a producer, who offered to produce my entire EP free of charge, but wanted to do a publishing deal. I insisted I'd rather just pay for however much he charges per track/per hour.

So my question is if I write and compose a song, is a producer entitled to some of my publishing if he adds other instruments/changes a couple arrangements? I want to gain as much knowledge as possible before I draw up a contract. I'm not too familiar with the ins and outs of the music industry, but one thing people tell me is to be cautious when it comes to your publishing. I'd really love some input on what people would do if they were in my situation. Thank you!

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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by funsongs » Fri May 12, 2017 10:19 am

Hello... is it "Larry"? or what's the initial before Davidson?
Welcome to the Community Forums.
I think your question might best be served/answered if you copy/paste/repost it on the BIZ TALK (Business Board), to get proper notice.
Hope that helps.
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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by mojobone » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:44 pm

ldavidson54321 wrote:Hello, I am new to this forum. I'm pretty sure this question has been asked 1 million times, but I'm gonna ask again anyways.

I am a songwriter who is in the process of writing new songs for my first EP. I am a vocalist as well as a guitarist. All my songs so far are just guitar and vocals, but I plan on having them produced further. I recently had a conversation with a producer, who offered to produce my entire EP free of charge, but wanted to do a publishing deal. I insisted I'd rather just pay for however much he charges per track/per hour.

So my question is if I write and compose a song, is a producer entitled to some of my publishing if he adds other instruments/changes a couple arrangements? I want to gain as much knowledge as possible before I draw up a contract. I'm not too familiar with the ins and outs of the music industry, but one thing people tell me is to be cautious when it comes to your publishing. I'd really love some input on what people would do if they were in my situation. Thank you!
Yes, you absolutely can have your songs produced without giving up any of your rights; simply ask your producer to sign a WFH (work for hire) agreement. If (s)he doesn't know what that is, consider hiring someone who does. Ethically, however, there's a degree of participation in your work that may demand acknowledgement by way of royalty participation; that's up to you as the writer, (and cultural norms differ among the various music centers) but generally, if your partner substantially reworks your song, you might want to consider.
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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by SquareBiz » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:32 am

I struggled with the same thing...I have a great relationship with my producer and I wanted to keep him motivated to work with me. So, I was glad to give him 50% writing credit as the composer because of the chemistry we have and he brings "life" to my lyrics. If the producer can help you get the song to places you could not have gotten it on your own, why not give writing credit? As the writers, you both are the default publishers until you all sign a publishing deal. What I would suggest is getting a "Split Sheet" and you can negotiate 75/25 split, 50/50, etc. That Split Sheet can also give you full administrative rights/copyright so you can submit, clear, and use the song how you want--it would still be YOUR song. To summarize, you can keep your rights, have administrative authority, but give a liberal percentage of the credit to the composer to increase your chances of placements, exposure, etc. I wouldn't just do a publishing deal with the producer if they do not have the means to push your music to get it more exposure, do marketing, promotion, etc. Regardless, make sure you have full administrative rights, and you should be fine. Without my producer, my lyrics weren't being heard, so I own 100% of everything but $0. I figured I would rather have 50% of any future money because I have REAL songs than working with different producers/styles/skill level for a fee--get expensive over time. I hope this helps.

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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by andygabrys » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:46 am

as noted above there are a lot of ways to work this.

Most people arrive at some combination of song writers share and some amount of up front payment which as Mojo said is considered a Work For Hire (WFH).

Publishers share immediately evaporates if you sign the song with a FILM / TV music library or publisher who will pitch your music for placements. Publishers share only exists if you are self-pitching to end users like TV or Film production companies or Music Supervisors who are not taking a cut of the song (they are usually paid by the production company). Publishing administration deals do exist but they are structured a little differently.

Most GOOD / SKILLED producers will charge a fee to rework your song, add instrumental performances, mix and master the song that is far in excess of what most independent artists can afford.

So if you are paying $100 or $200 per song to have this treatment done then you have one of a number of things happening:

1) the producer is very new to the game and is trying to build clients and may not realize the value of what they are doing
2) The producer many not have the skills and polish / broadcast ready production skills to be able to actually get you placements. In this case your money is wasted - if you aim is to make money with your music. If its a sideline thing that you don't expect $$$ from then this may not matter to you.

That is why people offer a cut of the songwriters share - so that the producer has some risk and will bring their A game to the table. Sometimes you need to offer a song split and some WFH money.

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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by Kolstad » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:24 am

Great question!

First off, you should definitely read this FAQ from Taxi https://www.taxi.com/transmitter/0908/m ... g-101.html

As you can see, there are always two copyrights in play. One for the person who writes the song ©, and one who pays for the recording of the song ℗.

If you ask a producer to record a song for free (add instruments, mix, master ect), then the producer would typically own the rights to the copyright that covers the recording, the ℗.

So the short answer to your question “So my question is if I write and compose a song, is a producer entitled to some of my publishing if he adds other instruments/changes a couple arrangements?“ is... yes. By doing it for free the producer is basically financing the recording of your song (the ©), and by default in American law, the producer owns the ℗ (but does not own the © ). So in that scenario you are dependent upon each other, because you cannot use the recording (the ℗ ) without the producers consent, and the producer cannot use the © without your consent, so you will be in it together if anything can come out of it.

The guys covers the other scenarios, if you want to keep the rights to the recording (work for hire ect). You can then pay a producer to keep those rights, but make sure you have it drawn up.

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Re: Can I pay a Producer without giving up publishing?

Post by Casey H » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:06 am

Simple answer. YES, absolutely!! I do this every day!

You pay the producer a fee an have them sign a work for hire agreement which says they performed as WFH for fee $X and have no rights to the composition or sound recording and are not entitled to any additional royalties or fees.

Casey

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