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    composer, producer

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  1. Hey all. I need some advice. Currently I am a freelance producer/composer/music tech tutor in the UK. I am just beginning the second year of self-employment, so things are still kind of small scale yet. But going OK. A guy I knew at Uni (when we studied Music Tech) has just approached me to be in his big project, which is nice of him, but I’m not famed for my business acumen, so I need to get some advice and do some research before I decide whether to take his offer. In a nutshell, what he’s trying to do is make some headway in the modern world of digital music, in the climate of filesharing and all that tricksy business. His project is to create a record label which allows free downloading and copying of its music to signed-up members (no fee) through a kind of MySpace-esque portal. All the music will have music videos, and all the funding is to come from advertising attached to the music videos. There are various ingenious strategies to encourage repeat visits, increase popularity, etc etc, blah-de-blah... and ideally, go ‘viral’. The company is to be a co-operative. I believe they need 7 people on the Board of Directors for this to happen – he has most of these people, he is inviting me to be one of them, as well as to be the producer guy who takes the acts away to record and mix in whatever way I see fit to get a good job done. I would get 5% of any income (from the advertising revenue) before recoupment. Then of the remainder, after recoupment, the act would get 50% and the co-op (the seven people including me) would share the rest. He has good established web marketing expertise on board, good video creation skills in the team, good design person etc etc. He seems to be receiving good advice from some experienced sources. The acts involved in these early stages seem to be of a good quality. I perceive the guy to be trustworthy, intelligent, and level headed. However, the offer raises a lot of questions: What will my liabilities be? How tied in would I be? What will the deadlines be like? Earnings are likely to be pretty small at first, in return for quite a large chunk of my time. Can I deal with that? Will it interfere with other more viable pieces of work I get? Will it go anywhere? What would be my reasons for doing it? Well it would be exciting, good production experience, good networking – I would have a lot of control over who gets recorded, and how. Maybe it could be successful. Maybe it’s a clever bit of forward thinking stuff. Maybe it would just be another microscopic drop in the digital ocean. Maybe it will go nowhere and I will be liable for losses. Maybe it will eat massively into my time, prevent me taking more lucrative contracts, and I will rue the day I joined. I need to do a lot of thinking about this, and certainly legal research, before I meet again with him with a list of questions. But I wanted to pick the brains of some of the more knowledgeable and experienced types around here. What would your concerns be? What might you do in my situation? I’d be grateful for any constructive input. Muchos gracias.
  2. Good evening! Hoping for some advice… I’ve recently set up as self employed in the fields of 1) freelance digital music tech tuition and 2) composing for the media. The tuition comes in various forms: private 1-to-1, workshops in schools, community youth projects, and other variations on the theme. The soundtracking is to be music for films, TV, games etc etc. (this side of things will take longer to get moving, but I’ve got some great contacts when my demo discs are finally prepared). The tuition thing is already generating work, but I’m in the process of applying for ‘getting started’ funding for Welsh graduates (I did an MSc in Music Tech). For this I have to submit a business plan, which I have been developing. I’ve been told that my plan’s current weakness is in the market reasearch department. They want facts, figures, graphs as much as possible. So far my research has been a bit more discursive and informal. Needs to look more official. So! The reason I’m here is that I’m wondering if anyone can help with ideas on how to get facts, figures and graphs relating to things like: - the rise of digital technology and it’s importance in modern music creation, its availability to everyone etc - opportunities for music tech tuition/workshops etc - increased interest in music tech among home hobbyists etc – magazine sales figures for mags like CM, SOS, FM etc? - any other way of throwing vaguely meaningful pie-charts at these people to convince them I’m on to something and hopefully help loosen their purse strings. Let me make it clear that I’m not wanting people to do my work for me – I’ve already put a lot of work into this, and written a good narrative for the business plan. It’s just that I’m not very statistically-minded, and a little bit green when it comes to market research, and I could do with a few prompts or ideas from people with more experience than I. I’m already doing a lot of research myself into the above questions, I’m not just asking others to do it for me – it’s just that these forums are great places to get sparks of inspiration which otherwise would not have occurred. Any and all constructive suggestions gratefully received!
  3. Hi folks I've just finished my MSC in Music Engineering and Production (hoping for a distinction), and while I set about establishing some income streams, I thought one avenue to explore would be that of freelance teaching of music technology. I thought I might put ads up in local Universities, record/music shops offering help with: - getting started with home recording - exploring the potential of your software (focusing on Cubase, Ableton Live, Reason and others) - organising and backing up your DAW - developing working methods - basics of digital music tech ... stuff like that. Basically I find that a lot of people can't bear to read manuals, so it might help if they can pay someone to get them started/solve problems instead. This is purely an idea so far, so I was hoping to canvas some advice/suggestions about doing this. How much should I charge? I note that the Musician's Union (I'm a member) recommends that the rate for private teaching should be £25.40 - I guess I would try and charge this? I'm not planning on setting up a teaching business or anything, but this is intended to earn a few quid while I get myself sorted. Constructive comments gratefully received! Muddy
  4. I would have acted on their recommendations, which were as follows! Please add the following points to the Agreement if they have not already been dealt with: 1. The Company undertakes to ensure that all copies of the Production, supplied by the Company and its sub-licensees are accompanied by a copy of the Music Cue Sheet and that the appropriate broadcasting/transmitting authority/distributor will be notified of the full details of the Work (Title(s), Duration, Composer and copyright owner) in order that such authority/distributor may fully comply with its obligations in respect of the use thereof to all relevant collection societies including without limitation PRS and MCPS and their affiliates. 2. If the Company wishes to have further rights to use either the Work or the recording outside the programme then there must be prior agreement with the Licensor and there must be a further payment of monies in respect of each usage. 3. No changes to be made to the music and/or the sound recordings without the Licensor's prior written consent. 4. No purported assignment or disposition of the rights hereunder, or this agreement, shall be valid without consent from Licensor nor until the proposed assignee (and any subsequent proposed assignee) enters into a direct covenant with the Licensor to fulfil the obligations of the Company hereunder. 5 Nothing herein contained or hereby implied shall be deemed to give rise to the relationship of a partnership between the parties hereto. 6 The provisions set forth herein constitute the entire agreement of the parties. The Agreement may not be modified altered or changed except by an instrument signed respectively by duly authorised officers of the Licensee and the Licensor. 7 Any notices to be sent hereunder shall be in writing and shall be sent by personal delivery or registered/recorded delivery mail or facsimile or email (with proof of sending in each case) and two days after the day of mailing or transmitting (correctly addressed) of any such notice shall be deemed the date of the service/receipt thereof. 8 Any indemnity shall only apply in respect of the Licensor, provided that and to the extent and from the date, that costs and damages are actually paid pursuant to a final adverse judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction or a settlement reached with the Licensor's prior consent (not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed). Damages and costs recoverable from Licensor shall be limited to the amount of Licensor’s royalty earnings hereunder and shall only be recoverable from Licensor as a deduction from royalties otherwise due hereunder.
  5. Sorry for the delay guys, been so busy! Well I got permission off the band, joined the MU, signed the contract, and THEN got MU contract advice... wrong order eh? Never mind. It was getting a bit late in the day, and I didn't want to pass up the opportunity, so I just went for it. There were a few things the MU said I should have queried, but there you go - they probably wouldn't have negotiatied. It's a small-fry affair anyway. At least contact has been established so that maybe I can do music for them again. Also it's got me in the MU and thinking that I can pursue this kind of thing a bit more. Don't know when the tracks will be used yet cos they haven't done their cue sheets yet, apparently. Next time I'm on to the MU straightaway, so I've learnt something at least!
  6. Hi John! No these are different ones - the first lot concentrated on digital processes, this lot are more about non-digital processes. I have already used your first answers. Feel free to answer these too if you have time! Thanks Mud
  7. Hi all I'm doing a project for Uni on compositional processes, and I'm hoping to gather some views of composers on a few matters. You may already have seen me dishing out questions on digital composition elsewhere on this forum - well now it's acoustic time and I have a few questions on that if anyone's interested! It'd be great to hear what you guys think on this subject. Answers you give may be included in the Appendices of my project and quoted in the main text. These questions are focused on songs and ideas that you compose on guitar or piano or similar instrument, primarily without the presence/influence of a sequencer or other digital recording technology (although I know such songs likely to get recorded somehow at various stages in their development). More succinctly – I’m interested in composition that takes place on ‘real’ instruments while not sitting in front of a computer. Perhaps with one or more collaborators present. Please answer as fully as is convenient, and with as much detail as you can. If you don’t have time to go in-depth, or to answer every question, whatever thoughts you can give are still very gratefully received. 1) When you sit down with your chosen instrument with the intention of composing or experimenting, what normally happens? Do you start by playing particular/familiar chords, melodies? How do you try to access your creative instinct? 2) What kind of idea usually begins the development of a new song? Melody, chords, lyrics? 3) What guides you in structuring and developing your song past these early stages? 4) If songwriting collaborator(s) are involved in the development of such a project, please describe how you co-operate in developing the song? 5) How do you remember/record your progress in the development of the song up until the point where you actually make a proper recording of it? 6) Please comment on the effect that composing in this way has on the song, in comparison to composing in front of a sequencer. I don’t mean with regard to the FX and mixing power available on a DAW, but rather the actual compositional processes.
  8. gonna bump this one - folks, if anyone is interested in answering the set of interview questions I have put together on this topic, I'd love to get your input - please PM me... Oh and thanks to those who already have contributed!
  9. OK! I will put together some quezzies and get back to you. Thanks very much!
  10. Hi all I'm doing a project for Uni (sharp intakes of breath!), the aim of which is to investigate a number of paradigms of digital music creation, using different software. I'm interested in how these paradigms affect the process of music composition itself. I'm particularly interested in comparing these processes to more traditional methods, such as when songwriters (or indeed songwriting partnerships) just sit down and write with an acoustic guit or a piano or what have you, with no digital facilities. To do this, I am composing a bunch of tunes myself, and analysing the processes used. Also, I'm doing a lot of web research, trying to find articles and interviews on artists that use digital technology as an integral part of the composition process. I already have qutie a few, but I'd be grateful if anyone has any good links to such material, perhaps relating to artists such as the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Four Tet, Massive Attack, or indeed anyone. Any good links folks? I will stress at this point that ANY AND ALL material used will be properly quoted/referenced in my project. This is NOT an attempt to get someone else to do my thinking/searching for me. My tutor has suggested that I do research into other peoples' experiences of using modern digital music creation techniques. I have already done a lot of work on this, but I am posting this purely in case anyone knows of a good article or two which I may not have found. I would also be interested in getting some e-mail interviews with people on this forum. I'm in the process of putting together some interview questions now, but in the meantime, I'd be interested in hearing any comments or views from you if you fall into any of the following categories: - You have experience of composing tunes using software like Ableton Live, Cubase/Tools/Logic, Reason, FL Studio, ACID etc. - You have experience of composing tunes using just an acoustic instrument, and working it out just 'in your head' - You have experience of being part of a song-writing partnership, whatever methods you use. - You have experience of composing with samples. - You have experience of composing tunes confined to just one platform/method - say, purely in Ableton Live, or purely in Reason. - You have any interesting views in general on modern compositional processes Like I said, any and all material used will be used for reference/quotation purposes only, NOT as a substitute for my own thinking. I'd love to hear what you have to say! Please get in touch.
  11. Yes, I am looking into joining the PRS and maybe the MCPS - are their fees just one-offs? No yearly subs? I am trying to establish, with integrity, who owns the songs! Like I said, me and the co-writer put in the months of descision-making, arrangement, lyric writing etc. - but the other 3 in the band added a few modifications when it got into the rehearsal room. Do you think this means that all 5 of us are performers but only 2 of us are the writers and thus copyright owners?
  12. No Lazz I´m not a member of the MU, yes I have consulted the other guys in the band, and no I´m not planning to 'get away with anything' - your accusatory tone in was unwarranted. As you might have guessed, I don't know much about this topic - give me a break will ya? I came here to get advice! Copyright was never officially established, but I guess the writers of the tracks would be considered to be me and my co-writer in the band, who I still work with. We spent months writing the tracks together. Then we took the tracks to the practice room and got the other 3 band members to learn the parts. Of course they still made contributions to the tracks at this stage - suggestions, the odd guitar lick, drum beats etc. - how does this figure with copyright? I still see myself and the other guy as the 'writers' - but the others did contribute on a much smaller scale. A good way of securing copyright is to post ourselves a sealed envelope of a CD of the tracks, and keep it unopened - is that right? There have been no publishing or licensing agreements whatsoever around the tracks. I'm trying to figure out whether it would be a good idea to join PRS and/or MCPS now. Are the joining fees one-offs, or subscriptions? Maybe it would be a worthwhile investment to join now, as I do hope to be in a position to get income on music I produce in the future. I did e-mail all the old band members about this to get their views/ask for permission to sign on their behalf, and the only one who replied was my co-writer guy who said yeah. The others don't seem bothered. Also it is highly unlikely that the co-writer will want to pay to join any rights societies. He just doesn't have the cash. I'm not intending to rip anyone off, but this is the current situation and I'm just trying to establish an awareness of my options. Any further helpful suggestions very welcome! I'm totally new to this legal stuff.
  13. Hi folks - could I get a quick bit of advice please? I was in a band that now split - there were 5 of us and I was the techy guy/keyboardist/co-writer. We split about a year ago. Never had any record deals or anything. Had a good time, made some good tunes. A Channel 4 sports programme has approached me asking for permission to use the three tracks from our old MySpace on its shows. Nice! Obviously won't make money or anything, but it'll be nice to get the onscreen credit. They've sent me a contract to sign. Even though the band is history, I want to just make sure this contract is OK. I guess I'm wondering, do I need to get permission from the other guys who were in the band before I sign the contract, even though there were no official agreements? Is there anything I should be careful of in the contract? I'd be grateful for any feedback or suggestions on this, and I've included the text of the contract below. Please have a read and let me know what you think! LICENCE TO USE EXISTING MATERIAL 1 You hereby grant to us and persons authorised or licensed by us the non-exclusive right to broadcast and transmit all or part of the Material (as defined below) in connection with the Boomerang produced programmes ‘Freesports on 4’, ‘Freeride’ and ‘360 Surfing’ in its original format and in any edits, re-edits or versions of the programmes under any programme title and in extracts and trailers taken there from the Production, along with the exploitation, promotion and/or advertising of the Production throughout the world in perpetuity by all means and in all media whether now known or hereafter discovered or developed (including without limitation broadcasting by television and inclusion in cable programmes, making available by any and all broadcast media including, without limitation, on the Internet whether by means of static webpage, webcast, download or otherwise), together with all performers consents and permissions, all rights of publicity and promotion of the performers, the right to use any trademarks, data, images and all musical compositions embodied on the “Tracks” ( as defined in clause 2 below). 2 For the purposes of this letter, "the Material" shall mean the sound recording provided by you of 3 tracks, namely “(track 1)”, “(track 2)” and “(track 3)” (“the Tracks”) embodying the performances of the artist(s) known as “(Band Name)“. 3 You warrant that you are entitled to grant to us the rights referred to in paragraph 1 above free of all encumbrances and restrictions and that the exercise of such rights will not (a) infringe the copyright, performers rights, moral rights or any other personal or property rights of any person or ( entitle any person to claim any payment from us or from any of our licensees. You agree to indemnify us against all and any costs, claims, expenses and liabilities (including, without limitation, legal fees on an indemnity basis and any sums paid on the advice of Counsel or by Court order) resulting from breach by you of any of the agreements and/or warranties on your part contained in this agreement. 4 You will make available to us on request a CD of the recordings in order for us to dub the Material into the Production. The CD you supply will be technically suitable for this purpose. 5 The consideration for the grant of the rights by you is the promotional opportunity that it gives to you. You warrant that you are not a member of MCPS. There is no fee for the rights granted other than any dubbing fees or publishing royalties payable by the broadcaster pursuant to any blanket licence arrangements which will be paid and collected by the relevant collection societies where applicable (PRS only). We shall not be obliged to include the Material in the Production but where we do use the Material you will receive an onscreen credit. 6 We shall be entitled to assign the benefit of this agreement and any or all of our rights in the Production to any third party in whole or in part. This Agreement will be binding on and to the benefit of our successors and assigns. You shall not be entitled to assign this agreement or any part thereof without our prior approval. 7 This agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of England and Wales whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.
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