R/E/P Community

R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => j. hall => Topic started by: TheViking on August 19, 2005, 08:45:10 am

Title: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: TheViking on August 19, 2005, 08:45:10 am
I've always wondered about how these things really work or if they work at all.

I co-owned a small indie record label for a long time and I did a lot of my work for the label in my free or spare time.   I mean, it was my label so me making records for my bands always seemed to make the most sense since it didn't tie up budget money in the studio.   It allowed us to use that money on marketing, publicity and other fun expendatures.   I would invoice all my time and submit the invoices to the label in hopes that I could get paid from recoupment - I never got paid, and I eventually bowed out of the label owning business because of it.

So, here I am now...   I have a lot of friends and contacts at other bigger labels or in bands that are legit, hard working, touring and making great music.   Some of these people have approached me asking for 'production' or 'spec' deals.   Some I have taken on simply because of my enjoyment of the band, others I'm a little leary of.   I know that I need to be extremely picky and sparse about how many of these I do and who I work with on them.

Any advice, input or has anyone had similar experiences with this?

Thanks,
Kevin
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 19, 2005, 09:42:03 am
TheViking wrote on Fri, 19 August 2005 08:45

Any advice, input or has anyone had similar experiences with this?

Thanks,
Kevin


Don't spec to get paid. If you look at it that it's gonna be artistically rewarding or like you would playing the lottery you'll be fine. I usually do one spec record a year that is for the art of it. I'm almost done this year and no spec work is done.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 19, 2005, 10:07:40 am
fibes is right, however, if you have a lot of existing label contacts, and you are specing out sellable records, you might not have such a hard time.

to me, the hardest part of a spec deal is actually getting labels to listen to it.  if it's really good, you'll sell it.....

if you have the contacts, i'd think you have the hardest part in the bag.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fig on August 19, 2005, 12:54:18 pm
TheViking wrote on Fri, 19 August 2005 07:45



Any advice, input or has anyone had similar experiences with this?





Kevin,

I only work spec for acts or projects that I am 100% or more INTERESTED in doing, for the art of it or the cause or whathaveyou.

Sometimes all I ask for is a credit on the release.  Sometimes to be fed during those late hours mixing and assembling.  Usually both, though  Cool

The best way to improve your clientele is to charge what you are worth, though.  Don't erode your value by giving it away to those groups that do not move you or you do not enjoy being around/working with.  You'll despise it, I promise you.

Good luck,

Fig


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 21, 2005, 11:58:04 am
Fig wrote on Fri, 19 August 2005 09:54

TheViking wrote on Fri, 19 August 2005 07:45



Any advice, input or has anyone had similar experiences with this?






The best way to improve your clientele is to charge what you are worth,  




I may use this as my quote of the month!!!.... very true, and nicely worded.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 21, 2005, 06:07:44 pm
I get the occaisional small cheque from the publishing side of my spec 'operations'.

I offer very selected bands record for publishing equity deals...

Less & less takers...

I blame it mostly on lawyers who would be embarrased to have agreed to such an arangement, even if the tracks CAN carry a band forward in the industry.. They would rather the band rot in their bottom drawer with a stale chewing gum, some staples and a few rubber bands...

But I had a good PR piece in Music Week (the UK's 'Bilboard') back when I started the publishing co. That was cool...Honestly, within the industry what I ask for is regarded as - 'fair enough'... But the lawyers...... Shocked

Dey DON like!

Evil or Very Mad

I was chasing The Strokes & The Darkness - pre deals - pre management.. with this kind of offer.. (both rejected)

Here is a thread about a project I had high hopes for.. but didn't come to much in the end..

   http://gearslutz.com/board/showthread.php3?t=2691&page=1 &pp=40

I will keep it up.. see where it leads...

The one project a year post above rings true...

There is an uber hip label in the UK  that launches ALL the cool gtr bands.. a junior A&R scout from it was at my studio earlier this year, we discussed a band we were BOTH interested in (I had offered them a spec deal) the hip lable were hoping to use that band to get MAJOR finance from a big label!!!.. So.......I am frequently "on target", I just gotta catch the right wave...

I STRONGLY belive in folks with studio equipment acting as and BEING the NEW A&R departments of the future.

Go find bands - bring em forward & make some damn money doing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!








Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 21, 2005, 07:06:37 pm
Jules wrote on Sun, 21 August 2005 15:07

I offer very selected bands record for publishing equity deals...

Less & less takers...


I blame it mostly on lawyers who would be embarrased to have agreed to such an arangement...


Of course there are less takers.  Who in their right mind would give away their publishing?  I mean, if Madonna is going to record your song, she wants some publishing.  But she is going to make you more money than anybody else would, so she can have it.  But a production deal for publishing is highway robbery, IMO.  And I'm saying this as a former publisher.  I would advise any band away from doing that deal, even with a really big producer.

Of course an attorney would be embarassed.  It's a shit deal.  There are plenty of talented, scrupulous producers who would do a spec deal without trying to 'Phil Chess' somebody out of their publishing.  That's like taking candy from a retarded kid.  I mean, anybody who agrees to that is clearly being taken advantage of.  Let's just blame it on people not wanting to get fucked?

Here's how people with scruples get a piece of publishing: They either co-write the song or they buy it, like a publishing company would.  And publishing companies at least have a limit on how long they collect that percentage for.  Man, I hope your deal isn't open ended.  That would be even more uncool than it already is.

Jules wrote

I STRONGLY belive in folks with studio equipment acting as and BEING the NEW A&R departments of the future.
 
I wholeheartedly agree with that, but only if the terms are fair.  If you aren't co-writing the songs, I don't see getting an open ended publishing deal as fair for the band.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 22, 2005, 09:32:31 am
There are ways to put liens on publishing is lieu of perpetuity.

If the band agrees to pay you, paying you out of their publishing or piggy bank shouldn't make a difference. If you are truly creatin on your dime and really writing with them then a chunk of the songwriting should be forthcoming.

Didn't i read that Creed or Matchbox 20 had and insanely piss poor deal in that regard?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 22, 2005, 10:47:01 am
If you are writing with them, of course you should get publishing (as well as songwriters).  But publishing for production?  I dunno.  Feels slimy to me.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 22, 2005, 11:11:44 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Mon, 22 August 2005 10:47

If you are writing with them, of course you should get publishing (as well as songwriters).  But publishing for production?  I dunno.  Feels slimy to me.


I agree JJ but the reason folks do this is to protect themselves from spec deals gone bad. The kind where they re-track the entire thing almost excatly the same (you can relate)and refuse to pay for the original masters. I've been pissed on and have pissed on people in that same way.

I think artists should own their songs but i also think production deals/spec deals that turn into something should be paid from whatever source.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fig on August 22, 2005, 02:14:21 pm
rankus wrote on Sun, 21 August 2005 10:58




I may use this as my quote of the month!!!.... very true, and nicely worded.



OK, you can have it on spec.

But if it catches on, I want a percentage of the publishing, got it?!? Shocked

Just kidding, of course.

I've said it or similar in many a thread before.  I try very hard to practice it in everyday interaction with the musos and record labels.  Some artists know my soft spot, though Rolling Eyes

The sooner we stop working for free, the sooner the talent will be separated from the laptop toting wannabe's (no offense to those with laptops).

If that young lady that JJ laments about had wanted a demo of the quality JJ so aptly provided, she should have been willing to pay to get it.  Her or her "people".

Prior to computers in bedrooms and bus stops being able to adequately capture audio she would have had no other choice.

We have just been fed our own shoe, folks.

Osci-later,

Fig
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 22, 2005, 02:39:37 pm
Fibes wrote on Mon, 22 August 2005 08:11

I agree JJ but the reason folks do this is to protect themselves from spec deals gone bad. The kind where they re-track the entire thing almost excatly the same (you can relate)and refuse to pay for the original masters. I've been pissed on and have pissed on people in that same way.

I think artists should own their songs but i also think production deals/spec deals that turn into something should be paid from whatever source.


Well, as I said in that other thread, where I was lamenting, had I good enough foresight, I could have contractually protected my arrangement.  But taking money from the writer for everytime that even somebody else records the song?  

I'm working with a band that just got released from a shitty EP deal.  They have a song that gets played regularly on 103.1 here and have a strong buzz.  I'm going to do this entire album on spec, and if/when they get signed, I'll get paid a fee per song, plus 2.5 points, with a buy out clause if the label wants to  retrack with another producer.  That is completely fair.  But ... I am getting publishing, too.  Why?  Because I am writing the choruses on some songs that didn't have choruses.  If I didn't write anything, I'm not getting publishing on that tune.

I've done other albums on spec.  The TV Eyes album, with Jason Falkner and Roger Manning, I did completely on spec.  Maybe one day it will even get released if the guys decide to stop doing other projects!  It's really a great record, with perhaps one of the best songs Jason has written.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 22, 2005, 03:09:45 pm
i haven't worked for free in 4 years.  whether or not i actually see some of the money i sign my name next to is another story.

i've only done one spec deal ever.  so other then that, i've been paid.

i agree that we need to "unite" and start standing up for ourselves a bit more.

on the same token, i'm a firm believer in the frequency at which i work.

i think the more i work the better i get, the more work with my name on it gets out there, and that increases the amount of people that hear my work, thus increasing the amount of potential clients i might have.

my work IS my advertisment, there simply is no better tool for selling myself then the work i've done, PERIOD.

so if i chose to mix a record for free, i feel like i made that choice to get paid on the future projects this one will bring in.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: lord on August 22, 2005, 03:22:03 pm
To pick up where Fibes left off:

I think that your time should be reimbursed from any and all monies the group sees regardless of its source. It could take 5 years for a record to recoup, but the band could pay you back with tour receipts if they have to. Why not?

The band entity that walked in the door has a liability now, not the songs.

If those songs don't earn money, then odds are it's the artist's problem not the studio's. The artist should assume that risk.

If you take a piece of the record's future, then there is absolutely no risk to the artist, only less reward. In my world, there should be a large risk for wasting my time.

This whole concept of songs walking around borrowing, earning and losing money is broken. I understand historically why we have it, but I still think it's broken, especially at the local level.

I could care less, cause I'm not in this game. But it sure seems like there is an oversupply of you engineers out there doing cream-puff spec deals.

As you were.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 22, 2005, 03:58:53 pm
I agree with Lord.  The advantage to doing a spec deal for a whole record though is to do an album without the interference of some A&R jackass, who would want to hire JJP anyway, not you.  However, and as I said in a thread in GS, there is a false studio economy, because people, who think they have the same tools that big boys use, think they can deliver the same product. or at least convince and artist they can.  And because they have never worked at this job full time, they have no idea what it is worth or what has gone into actually learning shit they don't know, so they do these "cream puff deals", as Lord puts it.  

Just because your rig says "Pro Tools", it doesn't make you a pro.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: CCC on August 22, 2005, 04:31:47 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Mon, 22 August 2005 20:58

I agree with Lord.  


Yep.

Although it's obvious, I would add the following; half of nothin' is still nothin'. So getting a chunk of a band's royalties, publishing, tour proceeds, or first-born children is only of value if....it's actually a production that has some reasonable level of success.

And....

For every story of some band signing an improvident deal with a crook we can all cite a dozen (two dozen, three dozen) stories of a producer/engineer getting hosed cause their spec deal don't pay or whatever.

So 'yeah' if a band wants to strike an improvident deal then all this means is that the person who is facilitating them (the producer/engineer/studio owner/brains-behind-the-operation) has a chance, tho' a small chance, to score more money than he deserves FOR ONCE. That not-really-deserved money can then go back into buying gear etc. for the future use of more up-and-coming musicians who suck up studio time in the course of making recordings that don't go anywhere. And the cycle of life continues, anew.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 22, 2005, 05:38:20 pm
Two real world scenarios:

1. Totally awesome talent, not much big time potential but a fair amount of Jazz/experimental international appeal. The artist was formerly on one of the big jazz labels and the new direction didn't suit the label. I did it on spec. It was picked up and the artist agreed that any monies that came in publishing, sales etc were mine until recoup and 3 points retail after that. The artist just did another record at his home studio andnever asked me to help since they hadn't paid for the first one. I would have done it again simply for the talent/art factor. All proceeds of that are coming my way too... Hmmm.

2. The one i'm currently doing is a live remote production for an upstart label with many heavyweight talents playing in unusual combos. It's a pretty rewarding and quick process and i'm contracted at a set rate for recoupment and 3 points retail for all records sold through a distro and six points direct. If i recoup i'll be happy, if not, getting to hang with the players involved is reward enough.

The bottom line is the money is the cherry on top, these are scenarios that make all the high paying shit jobs worth having the room.

My delusions of riches and fame went out with the first two inches of hair at the front of my brain. One day i'll have a soloar sex panel the size of Houston, until then I'll stick to the satanic combover.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 22, 2005, 06:07:55 pm
The equity of a band is in the publishing these days IMHO..

Film soundtracks

Advertising music

Folks at record co's KNOW that to only earn from CD sales nowadays, is to be grabing the shitty end of the stick... They are starting to feel like MUGS for funding records that are downloaded for free and earn the artists a pantload by being in a movie...

A trip up any music biz skyscraper can reveal loooong faces in the A&R departments, the "poor miserable me, I got the $2.4 Million Dollar blues" (spent that each on Some 41 / Wheatus and STILL aint making a profit...boo hoo)

In China where there is RAMPANT piracy - Record co's become the acts LIVE AGENT as well as record & publishing co... its the ONLY way they can earn. That's not henious - its just practical...

It will get to the stage soon (I think it's there already) where the phrase'I will give you points' on CD sales will be like saying "f**k you".

Either - pay me + points

or

If I have to f**k around wth paying a lawyer agreeing terms with your lawyer on how to record you for free - give me a small publishing slice or f**k off.

My deal is the same as if the singer gave the non writing drummer a slice, I ask 20%- 25%

In the satanic non guitar band world of POP / R&B - a producer (or artist) during the final stages of a lead vocal session can mess with a single WORD and HALT THE WHOLE SESSION while their (artist or producer) manager BULLYS the songwriter to agree to the change and a LARGE split of the publishing.... That is wholesale corruption, and a total GUN TO THE HEAD and goes on ALL the time...

(unlike my offer which is a trade, no gun...)

With bands in control of their OWN releases - thats different.. If they own 100% of it.. you can forget 2 points ..Screw that! lets talk 20%...

Exciting times...









Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 22, 2005, 08:14:19 pm
Hey, if you can have that attitude and look yourself in the mirror, then go for it.  Your reasoning wreaks of greed, to me.  "Hey, if all these other cats are getting fucked, I want to be one of the fuckers, not one of the fuckees." Being a former publisher and knowing what it is worth, I see taking publishing for producing as larceny, unless I can guarantee that with me, they will see money that they would never have seen otherwise with any other producer.

The karma train stops at every station.  'Karma', unlike 'bukakke', means motion.  The concept of karma isn't that we are punished for our sins, but rather that we are punished by our sins.  We set a series of events into motion, and then we eventually run into the consequences.  

If you want to swim with the sharks, you will likely get bitten.  If you behave in a manner than is borderline unethical, you will attract more unethical people to you.  If you behave in a way that is fair and not greedy, good people will seek you out.  If you are working with some band that is sketchy and you afraid that you have to get over on them before they do the same to you, what the fuck are you doing working with somebody like that in the first place for?  

Will you become the biggest and richest producer by being ethical?  Probably not.  But do you think the biggest and richest producers are content with themselves?  (Hint: You can tell if they are by how they treat other people, especially underlings.)  I know lots of people who do sly stuff like that, and I don't want what any of those people have.

Scruples, principles, fairness ... this is what defines a person and allows somebody to be OK with themselves.  If you don't have that, the success is meaningless, because you won't be happy when you get it.  And if you are some how happy without having those qualities?  They have a term for that: sociopath.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 22, 2005, 08:43:46 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 01:14

Hey, if you can have that attitude and look yourself in the mirror, then go for it.  Your reasoning wreaks of greed, to me.  "Hey, if all these other cats are getting fucked, I want to be one of the fuckers, not one of the fuckees." Being a former publisher and knowing what it is worth, I see taking publishing for producing as larceny, unless I can guarantee that with me, they will see money that they would never have seen otherwise with any other producer.

The karma train stops at every station.  'Karma', unlike 'bukakke', means motion.  The concept of karma isn't that we are punished for our sins, but rather that we are punished by our sins.  We set a series of events into motion, and then we eventually run into the consequences.  

If you want to swim with the sharks, you will likely get bitten.  If you behave in a manner than is borderline unethical, you will attract more unethical people to you.  If you behave in a way that is fair and not greedy, good people will seek you out.  If you are working with some band that is sketchy and you afraid that you have to get over on them before they do the same to you, what the fuck are you doing working with somebody like that in the first place for?  

Will you become the biggest and richest producer by being ethical?  Probably not.  But do you think the biggest and richest producers are content with themselves?  (Hint: You can tell if they are by how they treat other people, especially underlings.)  I know lots of people who do sly stuff like that, and I don't want what any of those people have.

Scruples, principles, fairness ... this is what defines a person and allows somebody to be OK with themselves.  If you don't have that, the success is meaningless, because you won't be happy when you get it.  And if you are some how happy without having those qualities?  They have a term for that: sociopath.


JEEZUZ FOOKING CHRISTMAS, JJ!!!

Can we PLEEZ stick to discussing the subject??? Not hijacking threads with accusations and high-handed judgemental poses???

There are newbies like me here who are trying to learn from these forums, for fooks sake. It's the music business, not a NUNNERY!

ARGHH!!!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 22, 2005, 09:30:58 pm
About Spec Deals...

I'm currently producing two full length CDs entirely on spec. Hopefully they will both be released regionally this fall.

This is the way I see it:

I'm a nobody, a newbie, a wannabe, whatever. In Philadelphia, mind you. Not many "big pro" studios here, and I'm a tad too late in the lifegame to do the intern thing then rise to second assistant etc. nevermind the fact those jobs are dwindling anyway.

But I want to work with music, make money, be happy living an exciting life and hopefully see my name printed in the NY Times at least once before I go south to the next life.

So I decided, wisely or otherwise, to write my own game plan: Find exciting young energetic stars in the making, produce their recordings - not demos! But really make them sound like superstars, with balls-to-the-wall production the likes of what I've learned from you folks and the guest mods on Jules forum, plus listening to hit recordings and doing my own experimenting.

My ultimate goal: Help make a superstar out of one or more of these amazingly talented kids, which will hopefully get me noticed and lead to - who knows? SOMETHING. Something is always better than nothing.

It is a total friggin' gamble, I know that. That's a big part of the fun. My artists and I, and their associates and mine, we all feel a little bit like Ocean's Eleven most of the time, laying our collective asses on the line to pull off the impossible heist.

Yes, we have contracts. The "nuns" amongst us most likely would be offended by them, but my artists and their lawyers are not. I'm doing a boatload of work and gambling my time away, and my artists and their lawyers all agree I should be handsomely compensated should my gamble pay off.

This life is not for everyone. I don't encourage anybody to follow my example. Especially if you have wives and kids at home waiting for bills to be paid and food put on the table. I don't. I sleep in a futon on the floor in the corner of my studio, and the rest of the crib is gear and gear and more gear, and a kitchen where I cook meals for myself and my artists. My mom tells me we're just like the Beatniks in the '50s in the East Village, and she's actually kinda proud of me. We have a scene here and I'm the "producer" in the crowd and we're all dirt poor, working outside "the system," not knowing what the hell is ever going to come of it.

Sorry for writing a whole article, but I wanted to show how "spec" can be a way of life, not just some contract agreement, or something to sniff down upon.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 22, 2005, 10:17:10 pm
Eric, this is on the subject.  What kind of deal do you want to make?  It's entirely relevant, especially if you are looking for a 'way of life.'  That's exactly what I'm talking about.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 22, 2005, 10:27:28 pm
Sure there is a bit of a rift behind the scenes here between JJ and Jules but in J.'s forum where the indy hang I'm gonna say that JJ is walking the line I would walk. In fact I have. Up and comers need to know that publishing is the reward for their intellectual property in (for the most part) perpetuity. So many artists of bygone eras don't own their own songs and i think it's a shame.

Jules is right that the publishing is where the money is today but that doesn't mean everyone involved should partake in that slice in perpetuity. Hell, i'm getting money from an artists publishing at the moment but i do not own any rights to it other than it is part of my recoupment agreement. Once i'm paid for the recording costs it reverts to them and i get straight points. Roughly 3 percent of a handful.

It's a matter of principle and I think in this den of indy giving up ones publishing (except for in Europe where it's a different ballgame) is a choice the artist should avoid.

There, i just opened a can of worms. You wanna know why? Because in the EU publishing companies have different job descriptions than here. Although these differences exist I don't think they apply to this particular debate.

I gotta go figure out how to get 20% of a BJ now.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 22, 2005, 11:32:16 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 03:17

Eric, this is on the subject.  What kind of deal do you want to make?  It's entirely relevant, especially if you are looking for a 'way of life.'


I'm not "looking for a 'way of life." This IS my life. It has nothing to do with "deals." The deals are there but that's not what's relevant.

What's relevant is leaving a positive history. Being a part of something positive. "Spec" deals are all about doing what you believe in, to me anyway.

The artists I'm working with are doing what THEY believe in, and I'm working with them because I believe in THEM and what they're doing.

This is Philly, JJ. It's not like LA. It's a totally different culture here, and in London where Jules works as well. You cannot implant your LA mindset on what we're doing, it doesn't work. You cannot understand it from your LA mindset, until you get out of LA and get involved with a grass roots music scene. Really involved, where you put yourself completely out on a limb for artists who strike you at your soul.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 04:37:44 am
I can offer two contractual senarios.

1) My company as publisher

2) Myself receiving an assigned share of the publishing.

In the 2nd scenario I have no veto on what happens with the song. I waive any rights - if the band want it in a movie - they can do what the hell they want without referring to me - they just need to make sure I get paid my share.

In the first scenario I have recognised that any band lawyer will say - 'who is this publisher?' can they be trusted? So I organised an 'Admin deal" for my publishing co with a very well respected LARGE publisher that has offices world-wide. I opted for them to pay my artists DIRECTLY. So statements are sent out directly to the artists by this LARGE publishing company. They also issue cheques to the artist and to me. - I organised this so that I don't get sued for forgetting a payment, I lose some of the money as the admin co takes a small cut. But this is worth it as the established company validates my operations somewhat and gives artists some sense of security that they aren't dealing with some fly by night company...Statements arrive on time & so do royalty cheques.

The 2nd scenario is for bands that negotiate out of the first scenario, it has less control, less ownership. My lawyers & publishing admin co encourage me to use the first deal.. They like the 2nd deal less...

Here is the "producer as publisher" agreement.

Bear in mind this is for UK Law and I am not advocating that anyone issues or signs a contract without first consulting music industry specialist legal advice.


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 05:00:20 am
Here is the assigment I use for senario 2...



Bear in mind this is for UK Law and I am not advocating that anyone issues or signs a contract without first consulting music industry specialist legal advice.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 05:08:37 am
So for spec deals - I require bands to sign one of those two agreement above (they are often negoatiated with lawyers and hammered into shape, costing me about $700 in legal fees)

And also to sign one of these (attached below)... to deal with CD sales...or 'points'

Note: I am NOT insisting that I 'do the album' or get bought out...

BTW my PAID production agreements look pretty similar..

Bear in mind this is for UK Law and I am not advocating that anyone issues or signs a contract without first consulting music industry specialist legal advice.


 

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 05:12:12 am
Fibes wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 03:27



Jules is right that the publishing is where the money is today but that doesn't mean everyone involved should partake in that slice in perpetuity.


There are time limits on my agreements, negotiations on these details are very common in fact. We (band & their lawyer, me and mine) settle on a "middle ground"

--------

In my mind...

The production contract is for the act of producing it.

The publishing contract is for all the "no payment" studio time.

BTW - under such an agreement I allow a HUGE amount of studio time to be put to the artists project. The likes of which they would never get if they paid me out of their own pockets... the money would run out after a few days...

I post these agreement up in good spirit towards my fellow engineers, producers & studio owners.

My intention is to secure firm footing with speculative projects in a perilous industry - and  proceed with confidence that the vast amounts of studio time I allocate to these projects may perhaps reap rewards.

I believe studios can & SHOULD be used unpaid to intensively develop hand picked acts.

AFTER recording, because of my interest in the project, I then move on to help bands make connections in the industry, hook them up with managers so they might find one they like, hook them up with record co's and publishers (cause I have only got rights to a few songs, usually 3)I set up and run showcases - there is a lot of ancillary work done that is NOT studio orientated. We become a cost only CD duplication plant for the bands...And if further recording is paid for by a record or publisher, I am more than happy to hop over to NON SPEC and continue as a paid studio / procucer for the work...

Be your own A&R department / move bands forward / get rewarded.











Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: lord on August 23, 2005, 07:32:22 am
There's a lot of interesting approaches in here, most of them tangential to the reductionist view that I espoused earlier. Some of them even make sense.

The only part I can't understand is: bands are paying lawyers to badger studios into recording them for free?

What kind of pouty, prep-school, barristers-in-training are starting bands in London these days? Do they save up for "legal time"? Or are they giving the lawyers 10% of their publishing as well?

I know attorneys are a necessary cog in the industry, but this sounds silly.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 07:52:01 am
lord wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 12:32



The only part I can't understand is: bands are paying lawyers to badger studios into recording them for free?

What kind of pouty, prep-school, barristers-in-training are starting bands in London these days? Do they save up for "legal time"? Or are they giving the lawyers 10% of their publishing as well?

I know attorneys are a necessary cog in the industry, but this sounds silly.


In my situation, to get say, $7,000 worth of studio time from me - the bands DO need to consult a lawyer. And usually pay them, say $800-$900 to negotiate the paperwork.

It is illegal for a lawyer to take a percentage of an artists earning here in the UK. That is VERY different from the situation in the USA. In the UK lawyers may only charge a 'fee' for hourly billed services. On this topic a celebrated case a while back was of a famous UK indie band's lawyer who was representing them during a 'no manager' period of theirs. So he figured it would be 'reasonable' (ahem!) if his fee was...say, oh.... 20% of what they earned during this period... He got his ass TOTALLY KICKED for that - it was TOTALLY illegal.

UK lawyers will not

a) work on 'contingency'
B) a percentage of the deal / earnings.

Also in the USA - you leave law school & pass the bar exam you are allowed to practice law.

In the UK - you need to go to college, pass exams AND THEN train by working at a law firm for 2 years before you are allowed to practice law.

For all the above reasons in the UK there are FAR less lawyers running around trying to hook up deals. That is an American phenomenon.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 23, 2005, 08:31:39 am
We have a Bar exam here Jules...

Anywho, the state of publishing is different in Europe too but i'm not an expert on it so i'm not gonna talk outta my ass as usual.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 23, 2005, 08:34:26 am
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 06:52



Also in the USA - you leave law school 'a lawyer'



totally not true.

most law students in the US get jobs at law firms and all their work has to be signed off on by a bar certified member of the firm.

the law students are not lawyers until they actually pass the bar exam, and technically, they can not practice law on their own until they have passed the bar.

_____________________

JJ being more in line with this forum's theme????????

what is the world coming to??????????
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: lord on August 23, 2005, 08:45:58 am
It's news to me that there are indie projects in which 10% or more of the recording budget is legal.

Personally, I think that's nuts. You could borrow that money from a bank, pay it back over two years, and still come out ahead--owning your own masters with no strings attached. Of course, musicians who are unable to sucessfully borrow even $7000 will continue to be shark food.

Jules, I'm sure your deal works for you. There are a lot of different worlds here.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 09:57:38 am
j.hall wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 13:34

Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 06:52



Also in the USA - you leave law school 'a lawyer'



totally not true.

most law students in the US get jobs at law firms and all their work has to be signed off on by a bar certified member of the firm.

the law students are not lawyers until they actually pass the bar exam, and technically, they can not practice law on their own until they have passed the bar.

_____________________

JJ being more in line with this forum's theme????????

what is the world coming to??????????



Apologies to you and Fibes I have correccted my post to be more accurate and thanks for pointing this out.

in the USA - if you leave law school & pass the Bar exam you are allowed to practice law.

In the UK - you have to to go to college, pass exams AND THEN train by working at a law firm for 2 years before you are allowed to practice law.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 10:16:49 am
lord wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 13:45

You could borrow that money from a bank, pay it back over two years, and still come out ahead--owning your own masters with no strings attached. Of course, musicians who are unable to sucessfully borrow even $7000 will continue to be shark food.


If you can tell me how to point bands who are in their early 20's in the direction of people that will lend them $7,000 on a 2 year pay back deal for a recording, I would be very gratefull!. Who are these people?

If the band get a major lable record deal & publishing deal and traded 20% publishing & 3 points on 3 of their tunes.... 1) what makes them shark food? 2) Where is the HUGE rip off?

I don't think any of you against this idea will be able to explain fully. I predict you will only be able to foam at the mouth and ramble about it "stinking" (a big record deal & big publishing deal?) but not really answer my question - give it a go

Many bands need a good recording to get the music industry behind them. That therefore can have a high value.

How high?

It's up to each band..

Realistically we find few bands we belive in enough to offer this too. And most turn it down, which we respectfully regard as 'fair enough'.

BTW in my deals I give the band the masters. I have earn from a percentage of them, but the bands own them.













Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: lord on August 23, 2005, 10:59:14 am
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 10:16

If you can tell me how to point bands who are in their early 20's in the direction of people that will lend them $7,000 on a 2 year pay back deal for a recording, I would be very gratefull!. Who are these people?

If the band get a major lable record deal ....


I can find you 4 kids who can pay for a record out of their pocket way before I can find you 4 kids with a prayer of a major label contract.

I'm not foaming. I think that if this partnership that you have with these acts is well defined and agreeable to them, then that's great. Make it work.

Just recognize that lots of people choose to do business without chasing that elusive "major label contract."  (And without lawyers if possible!)

The more primitive the business relationship, the more transparent the process is to all parties.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2005, 11:05:42 am
Curve Dominant wrote on Mon, 22 August 2005 20:32

J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 03:17

Eric, this is on the subject.  What kind of deal do you want to make?  It's entirely relevant, especially if you are looking for a 'way of life.'


I'm not "looking for a 'way of life." This IS my life. It has nothing to do with "deals." The deals are there but that's not what's relevant.

What's relevant is leaving a positive history. Being a part of something positive. "Spec" deals are all about doing what you believe in, to me anyway.

The artists I'm working with are doing what THEY believe in, and I'm working with them because I believe in THEM and what they're doing.

This is Philly, JJ. It's not like LA. It's a totally different culture here, and in London where Jules works as well. You cannot implant your LA mindset on what we're doing, it doesn't work. You cannot understand it from your LA mindset, until you get out of LA and get involved with a grass roots music scene. Really involved, where you put yourself completely out on a limb for artists who strike you at your soul.


Eric, before you lecture me about getting out of LA, you should know that I'm not from here.  And back when you only knew how to record with your VHS machine, I was going further out on limbs than you have ever gone.  I could pay off my mortgage with the money I've lost for music I believed in.  And I'm not exagerating.

And since you are an ASCAP member, you should know the value of publishing.  It's the same there as it is in LA.  Would you honestly give somebody a portion of your intellecual property?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2005, 11:19:25 am
Jules, I'm happy to hear that you have term limits to your agreement.  It remains to be seen what those are, though.  A typical US publishing deal is for seven years.  Thank you for sharing your legal document.  I shall peruse it later.

I must say though, just as there should be a floor to our value as producer, which keeps getting lowered by people with DAWs in their bedroom, there should be a reasonable ceiling.  I like Fibes idea, where you recoup from publishing, and then the publishing reverts in favor of points.  That is something I could live with and still look myself in the mirror.  

As to me digressing ... admit it: YOU FUCKING LOVE IT!  (Except for Eric.)  I keep shit lively.
Very Happy
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 11:30:35 am
Let's not get into regional stereotypes, I mean, Philly is awfully close/similar to South Jersey.... didn't Curve say something about finding the next Bon Jovi?

Maybe JJ can find the next Missing Persons and you guys can have them fight to death in a cage match-- I'm hoping for a tie.

By the way, there's nothing wrong with being from LA-- although I doubt that's what JJ meant.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 23, 2005, 12:03:46 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:30

By the way, there's nothing wrong with being from LA--


As long as you don't still live there. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I've gone mad.

I had my worst client last night. 15 years and last night was the top of the buttocks.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 12:12:06 pm
Fibes wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 09:03

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:30

By the way, there's nothing wrong with being from LA--


As long as you don't still live there. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I've gone mad.

I had my worst client last night. 15 years and last night was the top of the buttocks.



Wow, sounds like you'll have some tales to tell when you're finished healing.

I've never actually lived in LA, but 3/5's of my band do-- and I always have a great time there. On the other hand, one of my oldest pals (we're both from the SF bay area)spent several month's there making a record this year and was completely miserable-- so I guess it's all relative.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2005, 12:53:00 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 08:30


Maybe JJ can find the next Missing Persons and you guys can have them fight to death in a cage match-- I'm hoping for a tie.


Dude, Missing Persons kicks Bon Jovi's ass any day of the week.  As  Triumph the Insult Comic Dog says: "If you have never heard Bon Jovi, try to imagine Brude Springsteen coming out of my ass."

BTW, do you want to know why nobody walks in LA?  Because you can park everywhere ... unlike San Francisco!  LOL.  (I've lived there, too.)

And next time you are here making a record, I guarantee you will have more fun if you make it with me.  Ha!

Uh oh.  Did I just 'hijack the thread' again?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 23, 2005, 12:55:31 pm
Fibes wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 17:03

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:30

By the way, there's nothing wrong with being from LA--


As long as you don't still live there. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!


LMFAO!!!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 23, 2005, 01:00:53 pm
Great thread!

I can see Jules' point that with a possibility of a larger reward, (publishing) he can afford to invest time after the recording is completed... and this will add value to his contribution, thereby making it worth more to the band...

It seams like a win/win to me.... Think of the money a band could spend on consultants and management, agents, promoters, that Jules is supplying on spec...

Thank you for your candidness Jules.  I am in the middle of trying to decide (how involved) to get behind a band and your outlook has given me another angle to pursue...
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 23, 2005, 01:02:02 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 16:05

Eric, before you lecture me about getting out of LA, you should know that I'm not from here.  And back when you only knew how to record with your VHS machine, I was going further out on limbs than you have ever gone.


A VHS machine? You know, that's probably the ONLY thing I didn't learn how to record on. Gotta try that some time.

Quote:

And since you are an ASCAP member, you should know the value of publishing.  It's the same there as it is in LA.  Would you honestly give somebody a portion of your intellecual property?


Yes I would, and I'll tell you exactly why:

Because it is much more lucrative to own 50% of a song that becomes a hit, than to own 100% of a song that will never be heard by anyone.

And that last bit, my dear humble friend, really sums up the crux of this whole issue.

Now, I'm going to try to dig a VHS machine out of my closet, and record something with it. Ciao ciao!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 01:02:45 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 09:53

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 08:30


Maybe JJ can find the next Missing Persons and you guys can have them fight to death in a cage match-- I'm hoping for a tie.


Dude, Missing Persons kicks Bon Jovi's ass any day of the week.  As  Triumph the Insult Comic Dog says: "If you have never heard Bon Jovi, try to imagine Brude Springsteen coming out of my ass."

BTW, do you want to know why nobody walks in LA?  Because you can park everywhere ... unlike San Francisco!  LOL.  (I've lived there, too.)


Hey man, walking brings people together!

In the spirit of honesty, I should admit that I'm temporarily hanging my hat in Larkspur-- where parking abounds. Gotta love that ferry ride though.

Anyway, I didn't mean to pick on the Bozzio family-- just needed something that vibed LA. I'll take new wave over crotch rock any day of the week.

By the way, why hasn't Verizon licensed "Words?"

It'd right up there (annoying) alley.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 01:27:34 pm
Quote:

Yes I would, and I'll tell you exactly why:

Because it is much more lucrative to own 50% of a song that becomes a hit, than to own 100% of a song that will never be heard by anyone.

And that last bit, my dear humble friend, really sums up the crux of this whole issue.



Which is where the snake oil starts to enter the picture. If you're playing open mics in Philly you don't need a producer, you need a booking agent.

But what if you're in a steady gigging band doing national and/or international tours?

Look at the Strokes, hate em or love em, they would have made a serious career mistake getting in bed with Jules. Happily for them, they held out and retain all publishing in addition to owning their own masters.

Furthermore, I would submit that their record making process has been more about the band getting what they want out of Gordon Raphael, than it is about GR shaping their sound. Again, like it or not, it works for them-- if you consider gold records a success.

Personally, at 20,000 units, Linoleum doesn't look too bad.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 23, 2005, 01:40:55 pm
Curve Dominant wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 12:02

J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 16:05

Eric, before you lecture me about getting out of LA, you should know that I'm not from here.  And back when you only knew how to record with your VHS machine, I was going further out on limbs than you have ever gone.


A VHS machine? You know, that's probably the ONLY thing I didn't learn how to record on. Gotta try that some time.



easy guys, we aren't playing this game on my forum.

i'm all for a little fun and games, but let's not start playing that stupid, "you were still in diapers when i was pushing record" game.  

that's easily the lamest attempt to gain respect ever.  it's only one micro step above picking on another poster for a grammar or spelling error.

if you want to start a flame war, at least make it interesting and sophisticated before i shut that down......keep the playground crap for the children.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 23, 2005, 02:29:08 pm
I'd still like to know a bit more of the differences between Euro and American publishing. There is a difference and it'd be damn enlightening to know the details. Does anyone know?

Part of it deals with publishing companies acting as promoters of the material.

Are you seeing the bridge i'm trying to build here?

I wish someone who actually knew the finer details could help since i'd end up missing by a foot.

BTW-

I learned to record on a VHS machine. No, not a freaking ADAT, a very expensive two track version of one. I was working at a local NPR station as a DJ and they hired me to record the local symphony for GPR broadcast. i used this VHS machine that had a proprietary digital in that came out of this archaic/giant DBX A-D converter that would get so freekin hot I still have scars.

I got paid minimum wage for these sessions and although they are used from time to time locally and nationally i will never see a dime from this other than what i was paid.

What kind of deal did the old British dude get for writing "Music" by Madonna?

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2005, 02:34:49 pm
Sorry, J. Hall.  My point was simply that it is ludicrous of Eric to suggest that being from LA means we don't take chances on a band or have an indie scene, or that I lack credibility in those areas.  I should have phrased my response without questioning his experience, which is a bad habit I have sometimes that I need to learn to curb.

BTW, Eric, you never recorded TV shows on your VHS?  I didn't mean music, even though we originally used VHS machines for digital before DAT came along.

Also, I'm not disagreeing that I'd rather have 50% of a hit.  I posted twice in this thread about it, if you care to take another look.  But I thought I mentioned that you better be able to guarantee me a hit, like Madonna does.  She can have her 25% any day of the week.  I think when producers start looking for people who don't have any money and try to entice them into signing over publishing that it is predatorial, and I would not do it either as the artist of the producer.  But those are simply my own principles.  You don't have to agree.

And for a confession: I was approached to work with a band that was AWFUL.  I mean REALLY bad.  I would have had to have somebody come and replay the drums, because the drummer was unbelieveably terrible.  Even worse than me.  However, they had two things going for them, the songs were kinda catchy (with some restructuring that I did) and the singer was dating Alicia Silverstone, who was still a big deal at the time and had a new production company.  I didn't see any chance of these guys ever getting a deal, but I recognized the chance that Alicia might use them in a soundtrack, so I offered them a production deal for publishing.  Even though I would have had to put lipstick on this pig and stand the thing up on my own better than any turd I'd ever polished, I still felt slimy about it.  The band never got it together to follow up, and I think the singer broke up with Alicia, so it never amounted to anything, but I never quite felt OK about offering that deal down inside in my conscience.

I'm from Chicago, home of Chess Records.  I am aware of how those artists got screwed out of ALL of their publishing, in turn making a couple of white guys very wealthy.  This is just my opinion, that taking publishing without giving the artist a good sum of money or contributing as a song writer, is just unethical, unless it only covers the recoupment of your services.  

And BTW, as for the comment about my humility, which I take (rightly or wrongly) as a backhanded compliment, as I always say, my opinions are based on  experience.  If you don't like them or think they are grandiose, then fine.  Feel free to disagree all you want.  But always understand that they are substantiated by real life experiences, and not plucked out of the ether.  If I say something that is obviously not my dry sarcasm, I am always being earnest have a reason for that view.  I stand by my opinions, and freely admit when I'm proven wrong.  
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 02:38:12 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 18:27


Look at the Strokes, hate em or love em, they would have made a serious career mistake getting in bed with Jules.


How? please explain that..

They would have been minus 20% publishing on 3 tunes. That's a share like they give non writing drummers of bands...

Please explain the "career mistake"?

Thanks

Jules
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 03:03:50 pm
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:38

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 18:27


Look at the Strokes, hate em or love em, they would have made a serious career mistake getting in bed with Jules.


How? please explain that..

They would have been minus 20% publishing on 3 tunes. That's a share like they give non writing drummers of bands...

Please explain the "career mistake"?

Thanks

Jules



You're right, it's an overstatement. Mistake is enough to cover it.

What I mean is that they didn't need to sacrifice 20% of publishing on three tunes to someone not in the band, they did fine without doing that. Therefore it would have been a mistake.

I realize hindsight is 20/20, so this will never be a fair argument.

It's just an interesting example because those first songs did very well despite their often cited poor sonic quality.

I do think people actually "in the band" rate differently than outside producers or engineers. I know there are exceptions, JJ is writing choruses for an act... that's clearly intellectual property... but that's a different world than mine.

So they'd retain the masters working with you?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 23, 2005, 04:55:34 pm
Curve Dominant wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 10:02


Because it is much more lucrative to own 50% of a song that becomes a hit, than to own 100% of a song that will never be heard by anyone.





Reminds of the old saying "It's better to have a slice of grapefruit than an entire grape".....


 Regarding what it is worth to work on spec:  If you only recoup on say, one in five projects, (and that would be optimistic)  then it stands to reason that fronting the time is worth more than just recouping your regular rate for studio time... In fact in running a business it would be very reasonable to charge regular rate x 5... Plus interest...

It's all very fine to argue the "artistic" philanthropic end, but we are in business to make money... (at the very least enough to make the bills and buy more gear)

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 05:13:56 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 20:03

So they'd retain the masters working with you?


yes.. I made this clear in my instructions to my lawyer when working with her in designing the contracts.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 05:36:14 pm
rankus wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 13:55

Curve Dominant wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 10:02


Because it is much more lucrative to own 50% of a song that becomes a hit, than to own 100% of a song that will never be heard by anyone.





Reminds of the old saying "It's better to have a slice of grapefruit than an entire grape".....


 Regarding what it is worth to work on spec:  If you only recoup on say, one in five projects, (and that would be optimistic)  then it stands to reason that fronting the time is worth more than just recouping your regular rate for studio time... In fact in running a business it would be very reasonable to charge regular rate x 5... Plus interest...

It's all very fine to argue the "artistic" philanthropic end, but we are in business to make money... (at the very least enough to make the bills and buy more gear)




I don't think anyone is suggesting that you give it away as a habit. I'm not.

It seems that almost everyone agrees:

A) Don't give it away for free. (There are exceptions to this surely, I have friends who I colaborate with, I'm not about to start charging them engineering fees.)

B) Taking a cut of publishing in perpetuity (ala Chess records) is greedy and obnoxious. Go work on Wall Street if this is your bag.

C) The middle ground is not black or white. It's gray. Lots of different approaches have been explained here. The Fibes method is an interesting example, as far as I can tell he;s just trying to get his basic compensation back after the fact-- the accounting of that really isn't my pet topic.

To expand on my Jules/Strokes example, what I'm saying is that they didn't need to give any of us publishing-- regardless of what any producer might have brought to the table, their star was rising. The record could have sounded better, but I don't think it would have done any better-- so why give away 20% of publishing to some guy with a room full of microphones and a big mortgage (I know, I know, I'm just being provocative.)

If someone is really interested in publishing revenue, they should WRITE SONGS. Then again, the songs will probably suck-- because they're doing it for the wrong reasons. The income may or may not suck.



Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 05:52:40 pm
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:38

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 18:27


Look at the Strokes, hate em or love em, they would have made a serious career mistake getting in bed with Jules.


How? please explain that..

They would have been minus 20% publishing on 3 tunes. That's a share like they give non writing drummers of bands...

Please explain the "career mistake"?

Thanks

Jules




Jules,

Honest questions here-- not trying to engender any animosity.

The Strokes are a 5 piece, even though JC writes all the tunes, I think it is a fair assumption that the other fellas get a piece of the publishing.

So an even split would be 20% per man (as in your example)-- which I think is kind of the ultimate "bro deal" here in the states, i.e. rare circumstances.

So in your example-- if you take 20% off the top-- and the band splits what's left 5 ways cause they love each other so much-- then JC is now getting 16%?

The songwriter would get less than the producer?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 05:56:02 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 22:36

If someone is really interested in publishing revenue, they should WRITE SONGS.


A noble thought and one I am sure that is rejected by a vast number of music publishers.




Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 06:02:50 pm
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 14:56

rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 22:36

If someone is really interested in publishing revenue, they should WRITE SONGS.


A noble thought and one I am sure that is rejected by a vast number of music publishers.




I think you're misunderstanding the intent of my post.

How about this--

Write a song OR start a music publishing business. I think one is a lot more interesting than the other, but it depends on your skill set/interest.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 06:13:48 pm

[quote title=rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 22:52]
Jules wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 11:38




Jules,

Honest questions here-- not trying to engender any animosity.

The Strokes are a 5 piece, even though JC writes all the tunes, I think it is a fair assumption that the other fellas get a piece of the publishing.

So an even split would be 20% per man (as in your example)-- which I think is kind of the ultimate "bro deal" here in the states, i.e. rare circumstances.

So in your example-- if you take 20% off the top-- and the band splits what's left 5 ways cause they love each other so much-- then JC is now getting 16%?

The songwriter would get less than the producer?


What makes you think that the songwriter - will 'bro' his non writing band mates an equal share?

The "everybody equal" notion - on songs written by ONE person, can soon get er...'old' for the lead (often sole) songwriter..

Deals like everyone else on 10% and the new drummer on 5% are frequent in 'band' situation publishing splits where the principle songwriter charitably "spreads the wealth" for dedication, vibe & ongoing co-operation.. Smaller fractions like 7.5% for each band member are also not unknown - you can reflect ANY "split amount" you want in a legal agreement..

NAT-UR-Al-LY - folks like DRUMMERS who's contribution is often non melodic - tend to scoot their chairs FORWARD when publishing gets mentioned - hoping that they will INDEED get 'bro'ed' a nice slice for what is traditionally understood to be chord structure & top line melody and NO percussion!!! OH YES! Publishing please you will hear them say..

Anyhow..

What's the big deal if it is on only a few songs..?

Will they never write another?

You gotta give a little to get a little!

Turn the vocals up on that 2nd album!

Vive La France!


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 23, 2005, 06:17:36 pm
Rushing out the door--

"Bro deal" was meant to infer unlikely-- I was using your number for a non-writing drummer. Maybe I misread that.

Will read the rest at a later date.

Best,

Liam
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 06:18:58 pm
rattleyour wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 23:02



How about this--

Write a song OR start a music publishing business. I think one is a lot more interesting than the other, but it depends on your skill set/interest.




I DID start a music publishing business!

Thats what these posts seem to be focusing on..

Here, read a piece on it from Music Week (the UK's equivelent to Billboard magazine)

I got mine, get yours!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: TheViking on August 23, 2005, 06:20:34 pm
Thanks to everyone who has posted in this thread.   It's probably a lot more information and opinion than I was initially looking for.

A lot of this discussion is dealing with publishing.   I'm not so much concerned with publishing as I am with the actual record being bought.

I am working with a small handful of clients on these 'production agreements'.   The purpose is to do a record with the artist and then shop the record to various record labels in hopes that one will 'buy' the record from me.

Has anyone any experience in this specific type of production or 'spec' deal?

Thanks,
Kevin
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 23, 2005, 06:24:18 pm
I am happy take a break and to hear non publishing solutions!

Bring em on!

There are many ways to skin a cat! (I mean 'help' musicians)
Or make money from them.. er..or to get good bands 'out there'!!
You know what I mean...!! Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 23, 2005, 07:58:50 pm
TheViking wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 18:20


Has anyone any experience in this specific type of production or 'spec' deal?

Thanks,
Kevin


Didn't i post two scenarios a few pages back? Haven't we been discussing recoupables for the last few pages?

If you are doing the shopping a 15% chunk of their advance is part of it. If they don't use your masters, we already mentioned a buyout clause. Asking for 3-8 points depending on your pull is another thing. I personally think 3 retail (6 wholesale) is plenty. Your recoupment either comes out of the advance, recoupment from record one and points unless you want to dip into publishing. i feel like a broken record.

It's like playing the lottery, don't play if you can't afford it.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 23, 2005, 09:42:30 pm
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 19:34

BTW, Eric, you never recorded TV shows on your VHS?  I didn't mean music


THAT's what you were talking about??

Yeah, I've taped TV programs on a VHS, but here on the East Coast, we typically don't refer to that as "recording." Maybe that's an LA thing.

We say, "I'm gonna tape the Seinfeld rerun tonight."

We don't say, "I've booked a recording session with my VHS machine tonight, we're RECORDING a Jerry Springer Show, sorry, the studio is all blocked out!"

Your post had me dragging an old VHS machine out of my closet, examining the audio input (which is a single RCA jack - a stereo input I can assume?), and wondering if a mono mic would record to both channels in mono, or just one channel.

Sheesh, JJ, you're an inch away from getting yourself on my "Ignore" list...GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 23, 2005, 10:03:38 pm
And here's ANOTHER thing that pisses me off:

The Strokes even got MENTIONED as an example here.

Those clowns should have GOTTEN DOWN ON THEIR KNEES and BEGGED for Jules' guidance, not to mention ANY competent producer.

They were signed as a product of a HUGE bidding war. The publicity spent on that band was IMMENSE. JC's daddy is John Casablancas, the head of the world's biggest modelling agency, and daddy made sure there were NO negative reviews of his baby boy's band, because his clients were their biggest advertisers. You couldn't go ANYWHERE without seeing the Strokes peering out at you from a magazine cover.

That band had more money and more publicity spent on them than arguably any new band in the history of rock & roll. And what did all that get them?

Two bombs, the second even worse than the first. Two big hairy bollocks, dropped so hard they went through the basement floor. (Which tells you the same thing several major label CEO's told me in NYC a couple of years ago: "We cannot make people buy music; they have to WANT to buy it.")

Let's not derail this thread by using ultra-rich folks' vanity projects as examples, please.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 23, 2005, 10:26:34 pm
TheViking wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 15:20

Thanks to everyone who has posted in this thread.   It's probably a lot more information and opinion than I was initially looking for.

A lot of this discussion is dealing with publishing.   I'm not so much concerned with publishing as I am with the actual record being bought.

I am working with a small handful of clients on these 'production agreements'.   The purpose is to do a record with the artist and then shop the record to various record labels in hopes that one will 'buy' the record from me.

Has anyone any experience in this specific type of production or 'spec' deal?

Thanks,
Kevin


Kevin, here's something I did recently: I came up with a concept for a group, I produced, engineered, mixed and co-arranged.  The original agreement was for the band members (three of them) to do a four way split with me, if anything happened.  But then, because of some of the turmoil at the jazz labels that we were going to approach, I wound up releasing the thing on my own label, and we restructured the deal.  If I hadn't come up with the concept, etc. I might not have asked for an equal share under the original agreement.  It was very much my baby.

As far as doing an album on spec, the contract will refer to 'master recordings' generally.  State how much you expect to be re-imbursed at the point that they get signed, and have your points attached to the masters.  Have something about the band using their 'best efforts' to use you as the producer, if they decide to re-record anything, or record additional songs once they are signed.  If they re-record with a different producer, you state that there is a buy-out fee per song, and you get a point on each song on the record that you don't wind up producing yourself.  This is of course if they get signed based on the work they do with you.  The devil is in the details, but that is the crux of the biscuit.

As for Eric, you might as well just put me on 'ignore.'  I'm not going to change my posting style just because it upsets you.  Sorry, but that's the way it is.  You can't please everyone.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: brandondrury on August 23, 2005, 11:53:10 pm
I've been thinking about the analogy of Madonna producing a record for a nice chunk because she can guarantee success, sales, etc.

Since Madonna knows she'll cash in, isn't her risk almost nothing.  Shouldn't this be reflected in her price?  Or is the service of success being almost guaranteed worth the extra fee?
In some ways, it's really screwing over a band when you KNOW they are gonna hit it big and still take a big chunk.

It seams to me to be a little more ethical to ask for a bigger slice when you have no idea if you will ever break even on the project.  It seams that this is a much bigger risk to the dumb ass producing a record in his living room with no credibility than it is for Madonna.

Just a thought.  

Brandon
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 24, 2005, 12:25:48 am
brandondrury wrote on Wed, 24 August 2005 04:53

It seems to me to be a little more ethical to ask for a bigger slice when you have no idea if you will ever break even on the project.  It seams that this is a much bigger risk to the dumb ass producing a record in his living room with no credibility than it is for Madonna.


Being that very dumb ass producing a record in his living room with no credibility...

I would obviously have to agree.

We're still offering more than a major label EVER would: Complete attention to detail, full committal to ultimate success, and a MUCH bigger piece of the profits (if they ever come).

In return for possibly nothing at all.

No risk = no gain.

No falls = no balls.

It's the music business equivelent of Texas Hold-em 5-card poker. Very high stakes. Take big or walk away with nada.

Like I said in an earlier post: This is NOT for everyone. Don't judge it. Don't like it? Fine, STFU and walk. Either you got game, or you don't.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 24, 2005, 12:30:03 am
BTW, to clarify things, Madonna takes a piece of publishing for recording your songs, not for producing you.  She is bringing her guaranteed audience to the table.  
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 24, 2005, 12:37:50 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 24 August 2005 05:30

BTW, to clarify things, Madonna takes a piece of publishing for recording your songs, not for producing you.  She is bringing her guaranteed audience to the table.


Nope, wrong.

In the arts, there is no such thing as a "guaranteed audience."

That's why no artistic endeavor can ever get a bank loan on "projected sales." Your loan application will get rejected every time.

Any artistic entity can only get approved for a loan against existing liquidity IE: cash on hand, and assets.

Which makes your Madonna example null and void.

Tilt, JJ, insert another quarter and try again.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 24, 2005, 02:59:06 am
Eric, don't be naive.  If Madonna records a song and it's a single, it is guaranteed airplay, simply because it's Madonna.  Sorry, but that is the reality.  I'm not a fan of hers, I don't own any of her records and probably will never work with her.  However, she is the biggest star of her type, she owns her own label, her stuff is going to go on the air and into movies and TV shows.  It's her label.  All those resources are at her beck and call.

Saying that she doesn't have a built in audience is like saying that U2 doesn't have a built in audience.  That is silly.  They do.  She does.  Radio stations will play her.  That is almost as certain as knowing the sun will rise tomorrow.  If she records and releases one of your songs as a single, you are going to make six figures, guaranteed, even if it's a flop by her standards.  

Madonna not withstanding, you're hijacking the thread again, Eric.  Relax, dude.  You're in good hands with ASCAP.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 24, 2005, 04:42:46 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 24 August 2005 03:26

 Have something about the band using their 'best efforts' to use you as the producer, if they decide to re-record anything, or record additional songs once they are signed.  If they re-record with a different producer, you state that there is a buy-out fee per song, and you get a point on each song on the record that you don't wind up producing yourself.


I just want to point out that you seem happy to clasp a ball and chain clause on band doing their first recordings that forces them use you as producer for the next recording or "pay you off".

And you are happy nail them down to agree you recieve points on songs you did not attend sessions for or produce.

Yet you accuse me of being unethical earlier in this thread.

Rolling Eyes  



Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: George_ on August 24, 2005, 05:55:02 am
Quote:

In the arts, there is no such thing as a "guaranteed audience."

That's why no artistic endeavor can ever get a bank loan on "projected sales." Your loan application will get rejected every time.

Any artistic entity can only get approved for a loan against existing liquidity IE: cash on hand, and assets.

Which makes your Madonna example null and void.

Tilt, JJ, insert another quarter and try again.


I agree with JJ.. if Metallica use (or used) to record a fart and remix it 20 times and release the record as "best of metallica farts.. a decade of farts" there is success guaranteed.. Wink

I don't say it will be a million dollar income but it will be costeffective;)

hei guys, the last album sucked a lot but they sold enough to safe their income..Wink

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: TheViking on August 24, 2005, 07:56:14 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 22:26

TheViking wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 15:20

Thanks to everyone who has posted in this thread.   It's probably a lot more information and opinion than I was initially looking for.

A lot of this discussion is dealing with publishing.   I'm not so much concerned with publishing as I am with the actual record being bought.

I am working with a small handful of clients on these 'production agreements'.   The purpose is to do a record with the artist and then shop the record to various record labels in hopes that one will 'buy' the record from me.

Has anyone any experience in this specific type of production or 'spec' deal?

Thanks,
Kevin


Kevin, here's something I did recently: I came up with a concept for a group, I produced, engineered, mixed and co-arranged.  The original agreement was for the band members (three of them) to do a four way split with me, if anything happened.  But then, because of some of the turmoil at the jazz labels that we were going to approach, I wound up releasing the thing on my own label, and we restructured the deal.  If I hadn't come up with the concept, etc. I might not have asked for an equal share under the original agreement.  It was very much my baby.

As far as doing an album on spec, the contract will refer to 'master recordings' generally.  State how much you expect to be re-imbursed at the point that they get signed, and have your points attached to the masters.  Have something about the band using their 'best efforts' to use you as the producer, if they decide to re-record anything, or record additional songs once they are signed.  If they re-record with a different producer, you state that there is a buy-out fee per song, and you get a point on each song on the record that you don't wind up producing yourself.  This is of course if they get signed based on the work they do with you.  The devil is in the details, but that is the crux of the biscuit.


JJ,

I agree with you a lot here.   This is very similar to the way my current deal is structured with some of my artists.   What you have said here is a lot of how I think about the situation.

The way that my deal is structured is this...

I own the masters until something 'satisfies' certain options that I have laid out in my deal with them.   Option 1 - we sell to label and I get paid a flat pre-defined amount.   Option 2 - artist gets picked up by label but does not buy record and I get paid a pre-defined development fee.   Option 3 - no label interest so the artist can buy the masters from me for a pre-defined amount.

I know that I am not a 'name' producer and that the little bit that I know about how these things work is probably to my disadvantage.   I'm just trying to get my work in front of as many people as I can.   So that way I can build my name and then be able to tell a band that I want half the publishing on one of their songs because I suggested to go to the A chord in that one part instead of going to the D.

Thanks for all the input - it's a lot to read through but I appreciate all of it.   (sorry Fibes, don't mean to make you feel like a broken record).

Kevin
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 24, 2005, 08:28:13 am
Dreary thing is that it seems the legal affairs departments at big labels seem to think it is part of their job to crush 'the little guy' like a bug.

Best thing you can do IMHO is to have the band on your side...  they are the ONLY ones that can send a message to the big guys to 'play nice' with you...

The "new management company" that scooped up the rising talent  (short sightedly) may want a big hitter 'he does everyone' type producer to record the band next so they probably don't give a rats ass about what you get out of any deal...

Of course bands 'memories' can become, er... 'vague' about all the help you gave em in the early days when the glare from the afternoon sun on the 50 platinum records in the record co boardroom hits them in the eyes...

When negotiations are on a knife edge, good relations with the band can make ALL the difference... Lawyers know this and often ask at crucial stages, "how's the relationship between you and the band".. They KNOW that a band tight with someone isn't going to dig their A&R mook if he blatantly shafts someone close to them.. naturally being a nasty business - chums DO get shafted / pushed asside...

Plus if you get on well with the band, they can come back as clients after a year or so of the major label A&R circus - to record thier OWN records with you!   Cool





Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 24, 2005, 09:35:35 am
personally i think your (kevin "the viking") biggest assest is that you personally have relationships at certain labels.  that lowers the risk with any spec deal you choose to take on.

you aren't waiting for the band to make contacts, or for you to get some on the phone.  you can finish the record, make a few calls, and get the record in front of people that you already know, and you already know what they like and don't like.

doesn't mean they'll buy it.  but you have reduced your risk quite a bit, IMO.

networking is something you just can't do enough of.

Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 24, 2005, 10:21:56 am
Curve Dominant wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 19:03

And here's ANOTHER thing that pisses me off:

The Strokes even got MENTIONED as an example here.

Those clowns should have GOTTEN DOWN ON THEIR KNEES and BEGGED for Jules' guidance, not to mention ANY competent producer.

They were signed as a product of a HUGE bidding war. The publicity spent on that band was IMMENSE. JC's daddy is John Casablancas, the head of the world's biggest modelling agency, and daddy made sure there were NO negative reviews of his baby boy's band, because his clients were their biggest advertisers. You couldn't go ANYWHERE without seeing the Strokes peering out at you from a magazine cover.

That band had more money and more publicity spent on them than arguably any new band in the history of rock & roll. And what did all that get them?

Two bombs, the second even worse than the first. Two big hairy bollocks, dropped so hard they went through the basement floor. (Which tells you the same thing several major label CEO's told me in NYC a couple of years ago: "We cannot make people buy music; they have to WANT to buy it.")

Let's not derail this thread by using ultra-rich folks' vanity projects as examples, please.


Yeah Jules, shame on you for bringing up The Strokes.

I'm kidding of course.

Curve, we're welcome to discuss any band we want to here. Your ranting is much more of a derailment in my opinion.

And what's with all this "STFU and walk, you got game or you don't" talk?

Sounds like a deleted scene from White Men Can't Jump.

Take it down a notch there scrapple breath.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: el duderino on August 24, 2005, 10:40:57 am
Curve Dominant wrote on Tue, 23 August 2005 22:03

And here's ANOTHER thing that pisses me off:

The Strokes even got MENTIONED as an example here.

Those clowns should have GOTTEN DOWN ON THEIR KNEES and BEGGED for Jules' guidance, not to mention ANY competent producer.

They were signed as a product of a HUGE bidding war. The publicity spent on that band was IMMENSE. JC's daddy is John Casablancas, the head of the world's biggest modelling agency, and daddy made sure there were NO negative reviews of his baby boy's band, because his clients were their biggest advertisers. You couldn't go ANYWHERE without seeing the Strokes peering out at you from a magazine cover.

That band had more money and more publicity spent on them than arguably any new band in the history of rock & roll. And what did all that get them?

Two bombs, the second even worse than the first. Two big hairy bollocks, dropped so hard they went through the basement floor. (Which tells you the same thing several major label CEO's told me in NYC a couple of years ago: "We cannot make people buy music; they have to WANT to buy it.")



true true, im interested to hear what David Khan has done with them on the upcoming album.

now back to your regularly scheduled thread.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 24, 2005, 10:41:37 am
Jules, having a one point override if they don't use you as a producer is standard operating procedure in virtually all spec deals I've ever seen.  In fact, it's something that lawyers don't balk at, unlike your publishing deal.  That should be a clue right there.

The reason why you get the point no matter what is that the money that you receive is generally to cover recording costs only, and the only fee the producer is receiving is their points.  If your production is the reason that the band was rewarded with a record deal, you should share in that reward.  That is absolutely fair and ethical.  And unlike publishing, points do not get you public performance or mechanical royalties, even when somebody else records the song.  A point is not ownership of intellectual property.  

This isn't just nuance; this is a substantial difference.  If you are unable to see that, then you can guess my response.

BTW, I was tracking yesterday and am running around today and have not had a chance to read your contract.  What is the duration on the publishing terms?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Bent Submissive on August 24, 2005, 11:47:29 am
J.J. Blair wrote on Wed, 24 August 2005 07:59


Madonna not withstanding, you're hijacking the thread again, Eric.  Relax, dude.  You're in good hands with ASCAP.


LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 24, 2005, 04:57:10 pm
Dear lord ... we have a troll.  "Bent Submissive."  OK, that is pretty goddamn funny.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 24, 2005, 10:55:59 pm
Jules wrote on Wed, 24 August 2005 13:28

Dreary thing is that it seems the legal affairs departments at big labels seem to think it is part of their job to crush 'the little guy' like a bug.

Best thing you can do IMHO is to have the band on your side...  they are the ONLY ones that can send a message to the big guys to 'play nice' with you...

The "new management company" that scooped up the rising talent  (short sightedly) may want a big hitter 'he does everyone' type producer to record the band next so they probably don't give a rats ass about what you get out of any deal...

Of course bands 'memories' can become, er... 'vague' about all the help you gave em in the early days when the glare from the afternoon sun on the 50 platinum records in the record co boardroom hits them in the eyes...

When negotiations are on a knife edge, good relations with the band can make ALL the difference... Lawyers know this and often ask at crucial stages, "how's the relationship between you and the band".. They KNOW that a band tight with someone isn't going to dig their A&R mook if he blatantly shafts someone close to them.. naturally being a nasty business - chums DO get shafted / pushed asside...

Plus if you get on well with the band, they can come back as clients after a year or so of the major label A&R circus - to record thier OWN records with you!


All very good points, Jules. Thanks for posting those reality checks.

One thing I'd like to add as someone who is at the semi-beginning stage of this process: Try to look at it through a long-term lens, without expectations of climbing very high very fast, but rather a step-by-step incremental buildup of a strong business foundation/reputation.

Example scenario:

Your first artist may tank completely. Your second artist may get somewhere and completely leave you behind. Your third artist may break big, and he and the label will break you off a small gig. Your fourth artist may then carry you with her right to the top of the game. And so forth you go...all the while attempting to take no percieved setback personally, and maintaining positive open lines of relationship-building vibe with everyone involved.

With each project, and with each small step up in success, you build a rep, experience, connections, resilience, and so forth...always looking to parlay those attributes toward some positive outcome. Be like a goat: Move up the mountain by slowly and persistently circling around it, always spiralling upwards.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 25, 2005, 12:35:38 am
Be like a goat?  Remind me to never let you write lyrics for me.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: j.hall on August 25, 2005, 07:48:11 am
oh great.....trolls!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????

that's really what i need.

i'll let the one post stand, but "bent submissive" is being watched and i'm a bit skeptical of who it really is......

this is the wrong forum to pull this crap in, i've worked hard to keep this place cool.....don't ruin it for every body.

now keep this thing on topic, it truly is a great discussion.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Curve Dominant on August 25, 2005, 12:04:25 pm
For real. Some of don't have time for the silly shiznit.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 25, 2005, 01:24:19 pm
So as I implied earlier, I don't see starting a publishing company as a viable option... for me at least. Jules is clearly an entrepreneur, that's great. As I understand it, the publishing company gets a cut of the revenues because they produce results-- I wouldn't be able to offer that.

I certainly wouldn't be able to dole out a substantial advance upon signing, which is the way the publishing deals I know about have worked.

But as long as we're talking about diversification-- how many of you guys actually have or have had your own label?

How do you make your self a LABEL, rather than just some dude getting 1000 CD's printed up. Off the top of my head, distribution, promotion, and publicity are all part of the LABEL equation.

Obviously, owning the label has a correlative relationship to working on spec-- that's why I bring it up.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Fibes on August 25, 2005, 01:34:09 pm
I dunno but i think i'm about to find out.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 25, 2005, 04:04:25 pm
Rattleyour, that's exactly what my business partner and I did.  And then we have taken the albums to larger labels looking for distribution deals.  I'm waiting for a contract for a distro deal on one of those records.  

The way I have structured my deal the bands is that until recoupment, the label collects 100% of the revenue.  After recoupment, it is a 50/50 partnership between the label and the band, with no options for more records or any of the stickiness that major labels try to get you on.  We own the masters, and the band is free to walk to a better deal any time they want.  We help them out all we can, but we dont give them tour support or anything, even though there are some situations where I would definitely pay out of my own pocket if they had an opportunity to play in front of a large audience that would buy the record.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: NelsonL on August 25, 2005, 04:26:50 pm
I think tour support is pretty rare here in the indie ghetto-- although labels will usually float some merch to help support the tour.

Still, I think you have to tour nationally to support a national release... which is expensive. But that's what you'd want as a label, bands that are out there touring whether you can help them or not.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 25, 2005, 09:14:02 pm
rattleyour wrote on Thu, 25 August 2005 10:24

 how many of you guys actually have or have had your own label?

How do you make your self a LABEL, rather than just some dude getting 1000 CD's printed up. Off the top of my head, distribution, promotion, and publicity are all part of the LABEL equation.

Obviously, owning the label has a correlative relationship to working on spec-- that's why I bring it up.



I have a "label"  that I have been trying to get off the ground for a couple of years.... Have the 50/50 contract similar to JJ's. A business licence... BUT, I do not have the connections that JJ has, so I have some thoughts from the underbelly perspective (LOL):

Without distribution , (or major label contacts) it's very tough to sign any good bands.  The distributors I have talked to want to see the product, as in finished album, before making any commitments.  This means recording and pressing at least a few copies... big investment, just to see if they like it.  Then the distributor wants to see a tour schedule and enough copies to put in the stores in said towns.. big investment.....   Lots of legwork if your a one man shop.

And if you are just going to shop the demo for a major label deal, then you are a manger. (in my book it's all "demos" without a label deal)

So, As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have opted to  become a new entity: "Managing Producer".  I am producing and managing a band that I really believe in and feel much better about the relationship than I would if I had got them on my "label".  As manager I am "on their side" rather than lording above them, I am one of the "gang" and that is a far better position to steer things from.  15% as manager .... (not off small gigs though, only "bigger picture" stuff that I will be involved in)

In the "label" scenario I would be cut out of the picture once they signed to a larger label...(And take a one shot buy out) As manager I (hope to) stay on well into their career (when the real earning power kicks in) and make it a long term income stream. Also, they want me to stay on as producer "no matter what" so once they get picked up by a major and get forced to hire a "real" producer , I will be there to soak up the glory as "assistant producer" or some other vague title... This in itself would be worth the price of admission...(Networking, networking, networking) (This is where I will meet the label execs for next time around.)

In the long run, if you want to help bands that you believe in, it really doesn't matter what the title is, or how you are compensated, as long as you are, And everybody is happy with the relationship. It's all just semantics...  And once you have one successful band under your belt the phone will start ringing and you can call yourself a label, or producer, or whatever the hell you want baby Wink

PS:  JJ, maybe your interestd in signing my band?  Could use a vacation in LA...


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 25, 2005, 09:47:42 pm
Ha!  I'm sure I could sell a dozen or so copies!  I tell you what, I'll trade you a vacation in LA for a weekend in Whistler.  

Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: brandondrury on August 27, 2005, 11:20:08 am
Quote:

Saying that she doesn't have a built in audience is like saying that U2 doesn't have a built in audience.


If Bono were to produce an album, it would do very well.  I know people who run out and buy everything that Nickelback singer/songwriter dude produces simply because he produced it.

Brandon
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 27, 2005, 12:58:06 pm
brandondrury wrote on Sat, 27 August 2005 08:20


 I know people who run out and buy everything that Nickelback singer/songwriter dude produces simply because he produced it.

Brandon


That is sooo sad...
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 27, 2005, 04:58:08 pm
rankus wrote on Fri, 26 August 2005 02:14



So, As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have opted to  become a new entity: "Managing Producer".  I am producing and managing a band that I really believe in and feel much better about the relationship than I would if I had got them on my "label".  As manager I am "on their side" rather than lording above them, I am one of the "gang" and that is a far better position to steer things from.  15% as manager .... (not off small gigs though, only "bigger picture" stuff that I will be involved in)

In the "label" scenario I would be cut out of the picture once they signed to a larger label...(And take a one shot buy out) As manager I (hope to) stay on well into their career (when the real earning power kicks in) and make it a long term income stream. Also, they want me to stay on as producer "no matter what" so once they get picked up by a major and get forced to hire a "real" producer , I will be there to soak up the glory as "assistant producer" or some other vague title... This in itself would be worth the price of admission...(Networking, networking, networking) (This is where I will meet the label execs for next time around.)




Problem that some folks around a signed act might have with that is.. You being a 'beginner manager'

As you said - you are keen to share in the long term income stream... well what funds managers is their share of advances..

So... if it turns out that you can't cut it as manager and they have to get a long term pro manager further down the line - there is one problem.... You have ALREADY pocketed - the managers cut! Shocked  This can leave a band high and dry.. well not exactly they could PAY a manager out of the money they have left - but what if the inexperienced manager let the straw-nosed A&R mook blow it all on a "3 producer studio tour nightmare" of a first record?

Album made (for too much $$$$) = big debt
No advances for untill next record... (will there be a next record?)
A new pro manager gets what exactly? (to work a mess of a record he wasnt around for - with no advance cut to run his operations on...)
Next is... the fired A&R Mook .... BECOMES THE MANAGER!!!!!  Confused

Any how - that is my view of the "I'm not realy a manager" dream..

(BTW nothing personal, I am sure you are a nice person etc...)









Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 27, 2005, 05:55:35 pm
Jules wrote on Sat, 27 August 2005 13:58



Problem that some folks around a signed act might have with that is.. You being a 'beginner manager'

Any how - that is my view of the "I'm not realy a manager" dream..

(BTW nothing personal, I am sure you are a nice person etc...)







You seem to mixing up "artists manager" with "profesional manager" ... two seperate entities ... I am the former., and will hire the latter before any major labels see any ink.

Not a newbie here.... been in biz a long time.

Oh, no offence taken, and nothing personal... I'm sure you are "nice person" too... Cool
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: J.J. Blair on August 27, 2005, 10:46:44 pm
Get a hotel room, you two.   Rolling Eyes
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 28, 2005, 01:35:12 am
yeh,, what was I thinking...
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 28, 2005, 09:14:30 am
rankus wrote on Sat, 27 August 2005 22:55

You seem to mixing up "artists manager" with "profesional manager" ... two seperate entities ... I am the former., and will hire the latter before any major labels see any ink.


I have heard of the sub catagory 'personal manager' - and sort of oddd ball character someone like Mariah Cary has running around buying dog food & shoes..

As for band managers there are two types IMHO

1)"learn on the job" managers (friend of the band, club promoter, someone with a 2nd full time job etc) Some of these make it, some don't.

2) "Professsional" managers - by professional I mean ones that have been doing it a while, do this as their only job, full time have several acts and run an office with support staff etc..

3) I would say there was a 3rd catagory - "deal getter on commision" this would be someone honest enough to say - look you will need a real fulltime manager for your career & that aint gonna be me, I am only interested in a cut from the first deal advance, let make it a low percentage - cause your real manager is going to need some $$$$ to run with..And besides once you are signed - I probably aint gonna be on the team any more...

What in your opinion is different between your description "Artist manager" and "pro manager"? Including financial reward / share of advances etc..?

Are you saying that you would walk them up to a deal and step asside for a more experienced manager? And waive your share of the advances?

Record co's can see this a mile off and the manipulation of the artist will start from day one to get the early days manager removed and someone else installed.

Thoughts anyone?








Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 28, 2005, 01:24:14 pm
Management primer:

One manages the "career"  the other manages the "business"

Commonly the artist will start out at a level of income that would not attract the "business" manager, yet they still need guidance...  At this point they should get someone they trust and that has some savy in the biz as well as the creative end... Think Beyonce Knowles dad, or Brittany's mom, Ozzy's wife, Mikey Jacksons dad ....

From a music biz law firms website describing the differences in the contracts they supply:

1. This Artist Manager  is  contracting with an artist when the manager will be personally managing and advising the career of the recording and performing artist.


2. The business manager, typically different from the manager, is employed to collect and distribute the artist's money as well as advise the artist in money matters. A business manager is usually an accountant or C.P.A.


Soooo... As the career starts off the artist will get an "artists manager" to be their "point man" in the business end as well as help with artistic and career related planing and execution.

Then, as the money starts rolling in, the artists manager will increase the team by adding a business manager, road manager, agent,  and possibly retain full-time legal counseling as well....

The "artist manager" then becomes a "team manager"

These team members will be paid "employees" rather than share in the income.... Keeps everybody honest.


Jules, I completely agree that as things progress the artist may outgrow this manager.  Or the manager may rise to their highest level of incompetence (Murphy's law).... They may also rise to the occasion by  seeking higher education or by "learning on the job"....

Your scenario could be true of any position though, (even the publisher;o)

As for myself.  I have decades of business management experience and I pity the poor sole that tries to "end run" me... Cool


Another thought that occurs to me:  I can think of at least a dozen super stars with friends or family members as management, but cannot think of a single one that credits a "management firm" with starting their career and then staying on as long term personal/artists management.... Just sayin...


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on August 28, 2005, 07:12:28 pm
Well as the millions roll in no doubt as the team expands...

Do we need the primer on - head gardener, butler and chef too!

I think the focus here is how much green an honest knob twiddling engineer / producer type could pocket before the big fins surface when helping to launch a bands career...


Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: rankus on August 29, 2005, 12:13:17 pm
Jules,

Great discussion!

I think we are in agreement.. Simply looking at it from different angles if you will.

All the best to you in your endevours....

I hear ya, I'll keep an eye out for those fins Wink

Cheers,
Rick
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Jules on November 28, 2005, 08:45:55 pm
Well I really hit the jackpot today!

I got a cheque for $200 from my Publishing co Admin company.

My share of a band I worked on spec for about a month over 2 years ago.

Now lets see thats er..$6.66 per day

Not er (COUGH) Bad for a days work I (CHOKE) suppose?

(runs self into a wall)

Embarassed

Don't try this at home kids!

Very Happy

http://www.buildanevilempirejustlikejules.com
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Dave Martin on November 28, 2005, 11:03:18 pm
A bunch of you guys seem to forget that there are TWO revenue streams in the publishing end of things - one is the writers share (50%) and the other is the publishers' share (50%). There are sound financial reasons for the sucess of publishing companies, and sound reasons for artists to sign publishing deals rather than trying to keep all of their publishing share AND all of their writing share.

The problem with people like Leonard Chess and (and those like him) is that they were taking both halves of the income in one way or another. And Chess was flat out stealing from his artists, too.Oh, and remember that the laws have changed since then; in the 50's and 60's, you could sell your song outright - at that point you would own NONE of it. In truth, most of those songs listed with the artist as the writer, not the actual writer. These days, that doesn't usually happen like that.
Remember that Carole King was wealthy before she ever recorded Tapestry - she make her money as a writer, with the publishing rights going to someone else.

There are artists who demand a piece of the publishing when they do a song, and there are some who even want some of the writers credit in addition to the publishing. But there are also reputable publishers who can (and do) tell those artists to kiss off. Same principal with major labels who demand all the publishing with new acts - the labels claim that they need to have the publishing money to make money off the project (the appropriate response is, "If you don't think you can sell enough copies of the record to recoup, why in the hell are you signing us?), and because they feel that young and unproven artists will dign publishing deals without screaming. But major labels also tend to own the rights to a record 'throughout the universe' (I friend's lawyer was able to negotiate the rights on Saturn back to the band, however...).

I live in a city with many, many non-performing writers - writers who are signed with publishers. So I see what a good publisher is worth (and I also see what bad publishers can do to a writers career).

The job of a publisher is to get songs into the marketplace where they can generate income for the writer (and the publishing company, of course). If you can't do that sort of thing and look at 'publishing' simply as a gamble that might pay off, then asking for part (or all) of the publishing on a band you're doing a spec deal with is probably not the best thing that the band could do. But if you're willing to do the legwork that would make the publishing rights to a song worth money, then the band may well be doing themselves a favour by signing with you.

In other words, some of the guys on this thread act as though a songwriter 'deserves' to have both his writing and publishing share of every song he writes; Others feel that they deserve the publishing as part of a spec deal, even though they wouldn't see any of that money unless the band gets signed, and wouldn't know how to pitch a song in any case. The truth, is either somewhere in the middle or completely diferent from both views.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Dave Martin on November 28, 2005, 11:07:10 pm
I'd also suggest that anyone interested in publishing for fun and profit read "Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide by Randy Poe". You can follow the following link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0898797543/103-8209482-2443 809?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tidewater on November 29, 2005, 08:44:29 am
I detest the Nashville writer's paradigm; bring song to publisher, publisher calls friends, friends change 3 words, everyone eats writer's carcass.

Well, that and country/rap.


M
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Dave Martin on November 29, 2005, 11:39:16 pm
DivideByZero wrote on Tue, 29 November 2005 07:44

I detest the Nashville writer's paradigm; bring song to publisher, publisher calls friends, friends change 3 words, everyone eats writer's carcass.



And you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I don't see that happening - ever. Not with professional writers and professional publishers.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tidewater on November 30, 2005, 10:33:33 am
Ok, It never happens to people you know.

heh... and just try and deny country rap..


M
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Dave Martin on November 30, 2005, 11:36:57 am
DivideByZero wrote on Wed, 30 November 2005 09:33

Ok, It never happens to people you know.

heh... and just try and deny country rap..


M


Does it count if I'm in denial about country rap?
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tidewater on November 30, 2005, 11:55:30 am
Farmer Dre.


M
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tomas Danko on December 02, 2005, 03:36:14 pm
Dave Martin wrote on Wed, 30 November 2005 04:39

DivideByZero wrote on Tue, 29 November 2005 07:44

I detest the Nashville writer's paradigm; bring song to publisher, publisher calls friends, friends change 3 words, everyone eats writer's carcass.



And you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I don't see that happening - ever. Not with professional writers and professional publishers.



I've seen this thing happening several times over here, whenever someone writes a good song and a famous artist picks it up. The artist changes a word or three and presto, he/she will also get a piece of that action. There are some large names overseas doing this as well, then again it's all part of the game so you'll just have to deal with it.


Mind you, none of the artists I know doing it are from Nashville! <- Disclaimer


Then again, ymmv.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: henchman on December 03, 2005, 04:37:05 pm
Tomas Danko wrote on Fri, 02 December 2005 12:36



I've seen this thing happening several times over here, whenever someone writes a good song and a famous artist picks it up. The artist changes a word or three and presto, he/she will also get a piece of that action. There are some large names overseas doing this as well, then again it's all part of the game so you'll just have to deal with it.






Yet everyone bitches and moans when the guy sitting behind the console, offering his time space and equipment for free, asks for a small percentage of publishing to make up for the time he put in.
Which usually is more time than anyone else involved.
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tomas Danko on December 04, 2005, 01:43:13 pm
henchman wrote on Sat, 03 December 2005 21:37

Tomas Danko wrote on Fri, 02 December 2005 12:36


I've seen this thing happening several times over here, whenever someone writes a good song and a famous artist picks it up. The artist changes a word or three and presto, he/she will also get a piece of that action. There are some large names overseas doing this as well, then again it's all part of the game so you'll just have to deal with it.



Yet everyone bitches and moans when the guy sitting behind the console, offering his time space and equipment for free, asks for a small percentage of publishing to make up for the time he put in.
Which usually is more time than anyone else involved.


You are very right about this. You don't start working as an audio engineer for the money, it'll be a huge disappointment in the end. Nah, as we all know you have to get into it because it's what your life is all about.

The different aspect regarding the topic stated above, is that without the artist the song won't be sold. And without changing a few words, the artist won't get the dough. So it's just the way it is. Personally I'm fine with that, I'm even fine with A&R people "improving" a song with two words because it wasn't "sellable" until after this "improvement". Whatever it takes for this A&R guy to do his best and make sure it ends up on a record. If I don't dig this, I just stay out of this kind of business.

Oh, wait. I think it's just what I did a few years ago. Smile

Cheers,

Tomas Danko
Title: Re: Production or 'Spec' Deals?
Post by: Tidewater on December 05, 2005, 11:54:23 am
If you know any good songs, I have spare good words.

Call me.


M