Turning Down Contracts

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ChrisRaggatt
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Turning Down Contracts

Post by ChrisRaggatt » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:23 pm

Hi Guys

I got my second contract through the other day from a listing. It’s an exclusive music library who’d like to sign 6 of my cues. But I’m not sure the deal they’re offering is that good (for the artist).

I was wondering has anyone else ever turned down a contract? What are the kind of deal points that would make you turn down a contract? Have you ever negotiated things into/out of the contract?

Any advice welcome. Thanks in advance.

Chris

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by hummingbird » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:34 pm

Personally I've only turned down one offer and it wasn't via a TAXI listing (which spells out the deal so you know what you're getting into). A guy I was acquainted with was starting a pool of musicians to write for a particular company he was associated with. I said yes I'll work for you, signed a NDA, and then he changed the deal so he would take a percentage of writing. I said I wasn't comfortable with that, and bowed out. I've signed non-exclusives with no reversions, with reversions. Same for exclusive, some in perp, some with reversion. I would never sign over any writing royalties. However I will mull over shares of sync, if, for example, there was no share of sync or it was quite low I might be hesitant unless it was a good company with a good rep for getting stuff placed so there's decent back end.

Without knowing more details about the deal you were offered, I can't say much more. However, I don't recommend keeping them waiting. If you do decide to decline, do it as quickly and professionally as possible. Remember you represent other TAXI members and composers at large when dealing with an entity that has made the decision that your music is marketable.
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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by Paulie » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:59 am

I think lots of people freak out over contract a little too much, but they do matter. The general concern is "what if I give away my rights to a song and becomes a top ten hit or wins a grammy, etc?" Go buy a Lotto ticket if you like those odds. The industry is getting cutthroat and libraries are happy to claim 100% publishing, in perpetuity. Kind of sucks when you think about it, but they are doing a service and we all want to get paid. The next step is the major studios taking everything in house and locking us out. After that, it's Artificial Intelligence creating instrumental cues of all kinds and locking more of us out.

So, my pre-coffee cynical brain this morning says "read the contract, look for anything weird, then sign it and move on to the next cue."

Of course, this is completely different if you are signing a contract as an actual artist, or providing songs specifically to an artist instead of just a library. Your mileage may vary. Take the gig, write the next song. :)
Last edited by Paulie on Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by Kolstad » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:08 pm

For me the reputation of the library is the most important thing. Check them. Ask what they have done recently, verify it at IMDB. Google the people. Do the homework. If they are good, theres a chance it will do you good.

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by DesireInspires » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:39 am

I’ve turned down a few contracts.

If the deal doesn’t benefit me, I ask for changes. If no changes can be made, I do not sign.

This is business first and foremost. Never sign or agree to something that does not benefit you in some way. Just because a deal is dangled in front of you does not mean you have to sign it.

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by Paulie » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:04 am

Kolstad wrote:For me the reputation of the library is the most important thing. Check them. Ask what they have done recently, verify it at IMDB. Google the people. Do the homework. If they are good, theres a chance it will do you good.
This assumes you can actually talk to your contact. Hard to do these days. :)
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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by ernstinen » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:55 pm

My biggest, HUGE mistake was signing about 30 of my compositions to a music library "IN PERPETUITY". Forever and ever.

You HAVE to ask for a "Reversion Clause" after 2-3 years, max. If the library won't do that, they aren't reputable, or active. Big error on my part.

Good luck,

Ern :o

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by DesireInspires » Tue May 01, 2018 9:37 am

ernstinen wrote:My biggest, HUGE mistake was signing about 30 of my compositions to a music library "IN PERPETUITY". Forever and ever.

You HAVE to ask for a "Reversion Clause" after 2-3 years, max. If the library won't do that, they aren't reputable, or active. Big error on my part.

Good luck,

Ern :o
Only 30? LMAO! I have signed over 100 to such deals. A few are paying. The rest are doing nothing. You live and you learn.

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by andygabrys » Tue May 01, 2018 9:46 am

notwithstanding what has been written above.....

very typically today 95% of contracts are:

split 50/50 between you and the library / publisher

1) Sync / Master use payments are often collected directly by the library and they pay you 50% of the total after deducting "reasonable and normal" expenses which might be copyright fees etc.

Depending on the library this also might mean that you get a share of blanket licenses, and direct licenses for TV that doesn't involve PROs (like the Scripps Network).

2) Royalties are split 50/50 and your writers share is paid to you directly by your PRO

3) $ for signing cues - only happens in exclusive libraries and requires transfer of copyright as well.

If it is an exclusive library, the most common deal is no $ upon signing, and you have a total 50/50 split on the cue.

WFH (Work for Hire) - any signing $ usually is a "sync buyout" where you receive a one time payment of $x.xx and in return the library will collect 100% of sync money forever and you will only get your writers share of any placements. A good deal if the library mostly places on reality TV (as there may be zero up front anyways) but maybe not such a great deal if the library gets lots of commercial placements on your pieces.

Length of contract: most contracts are in perpetuity, although some non-ex and even some exclusive contracts have a length of 1-5 years and usually roll over automatically at the end of the period unless you ask for your cue back in writing. Having a short contract doesn't really give you much of an advantage as it may take several years after signing to your library for your pieces to even be "discovered" by tv editors and start being used.

The long game is favored in music licensing. Most people tend to have a balance of all situations, and just keep creating.

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Re: Turning Down Contracts

Post by hummingbird » Tue May 01, 2018 11:21 am

+1 Andy
"As we are creative beings, our lives become our works of art." (Julia Cameron)

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