03-09-2013 04:02 PM - edited 03-10-2013 07:27 AM
A singer I represent is recording the vocals to a song in the studio that I thought these really good producers I discovered had written when they presented it to me and were going to let her record and use. It turns out the songwriter of the song is the woman who is singing on the demo that my singer is listening to and preparing for her session on it. I just found out after the producer revealed it to me that the songwriter wants to be there at the upcoming first recording session when my artist records her version of it. The producers are charging me a fair rate for the recording session and mix down in their studio but just told me that the songwriter, who wants to be there to help with the vocal arranging too and even add some background vocal harmonies to it wants $200 for the song and vocal arranging in the studio. That's now pushing my budget and making me think something is fishy here. Is the songwriter simply giving us the song (and maybe it's ownership) to make a few extra quick bucks as in "someone (perhaps a vocal arranger/producer) for hire"? I feel like the producers/studio owners have some sort of deal with the songwriter and therefore should absorb any costs she may want to impose for her services and the songwriter herself may not understand that I shouldn't have to give her a $200 for a song that she is offering to my singer to sing and use for her own demo, future album or promotion. What type of agreement should I have with that songwriter for my artist using her song? Do I also need a separate agreement with the studio engineers/producers (who produced the music for the tracks to the song in the first place) for anything that they can claim in the future whether or not at this time we decide to use it for my singer's future album or not? Thank you.
03-10-2013 10:23 AM - edited 03-10-2013 10:29 AM
okay, first...you do need to secure the rights to the song....particularly if it has never been recorded before. In this case, you have a demo of the songwriters version, which is likely a rough...so although it has been recorded before, it was not released. The songwriter can demand any price she wants for the song, you need to decide if it is worth it. There are plenty of other issues to be considered within the deal, which the producers should explain to you. Look at our Copyright 101 thread...licensing can be a very heady topic.
Second, your presentation is a bit scattershot, so let me make sure I am getting this right: You 'represent' a singer, you found her a producer/studio owner who found her a song by a songwriter who also expects to be paid as a vocal arranger/back-up singer. Yes?
It is not uncommon for producers to be aligned with songwriters, vocal arrangers, singers, musicians, engineers...that is what you hire them for.
Do you really need a vocal arranger? That would be the first question...and if the producer believes you do, that is what you hired the producer to decide, right?
So it boils down to: do you have the faith and trust in this producer? If not, walk away.
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