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A very good read indeed.

Some comments:

"This could mean that the publisher could be collecting from income streams outside of the limited list."

- a bit much "could" - ... either drop everything before "the publisher" or change to "the publisher can collect from"

"Ensure that there is a statement to the effect that you get a share of publishers advances and guarrantees that are specifically for your compositions."

guarantees spelled wrong, and also maybe "Ensure that the contract explicitly states that ..."

"Territories can cover more than one country Often, such as European Union (EU), or individual countries."

... that Often must misplaced be :)

Great work!

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Good fist, John.

Exactly the same set of categories that I use.

This is a much needed and welcome addition to songstuff stuff.

Here be my comments:


Hard to get that balance between concision and clarity, I know, but the Co-Pub section goes a bit soft and woolly from my end - where you say "The Net Publisher's Share is gross income and is divided up like this:....", it seems to fall short on the clarity quotient and I lose track of what you mean.


I think the "Variable" section could benefit from a bit more detail and fullness.

It concerns me that much of importance is omitted here.

Fancy a re-write ?

If we structure our concerns under three headings for simplicity's sake, I would tend to favour something like 'The Property', ''The Extent", and "The Money".... (we could probably do better for rubrics, but anyway, I'm just sayin'.....):

The Property

Somehow, an agreement will have to spell out what it is we're talking about exactly - the scope of the deal, what compositions are involved etcetera, what rights in terms of the works are being traded, and what is going to constitute 'delivery' of your end. There are traps and tricks at every turn and numerous things of which the songwriter 'should be mindful' buried in there. Generally, they want it all.

Moral rights get dealt with as well.

The Extent

It is sensible to recognise up-front that a self-interested party is going to want the rights to everything, for everywhere, for ever and ever. How much of everything is what we need to beware of already in the terms which define the nature of 'the property', as above, but other considerations will be 'the term' and 'the territory'. When we think of 'the term' for example, the duration of the deal can turn out to be very amorphous: it is not uncommon for a 'term' to be defined by a specified number of 'pieces' which have been 'delivered'. And often 'delivery' will be defined in the agreement as something like 'recorded by an artist on a major label' or some such other clever wording that means your time is never served if hit-making success proves elusive. Co-writers also need to look out for the trick whereby each qualifying 'piece' may be defined as being a 'sole composition'. This again means, if you're a collaborator (not an unusual circumstance), that you will never fulfil your contractual obligations and 'the term' will never end. So we need to make sure that 'term' gets defined explicitly as a calender period rather than the usual nonsense they expect to get away with by dangling money.

And however 'the property', as above, is defined, we need to makes sure that we get it all back at the term's completion.

'Rights Reversion' must be an essential requirement - from the writer's point of view..

They all want world-wide rights to maximise their earnings potential. Actually, these days, with the rise of satellites and possible off-world futures, it's usually extra-terrestrial rights for the entire universe as well. We all need to restrict that any chance we have in terms of what's realistic and appropriate - if you have no market in the spanish-speaking world. for instance, and the publisher has no particular strategic muscle in those cultures, then why on earth should they have exclusive rights for our stuff in south-America ?

The Money

This notion covers things like the advance and royalty splits - and also other important areas of budgetary prestidigitation regarding expenses like admin costs, legal fees and indemnifications etcetera - all those things that accumulate and interfere with you getting paid your end.

That's why we need the right to audit, too.


Would that sort of approach help any, do you think ?

I'm a firm believer that contracts don't have to be intimidating - although it is obviously to somebody's advantage if they remain so - there has to be a simplified way of making sense of them - I know sometimes it's a struggle, but there is no substitute for getting to grips by reading the damn things and getting your own understanding. Sometimes lawyers pay much less attention to detail than we would like.

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Hi Lazz

thanks for your feedback and suggestions :)

I might use that as is (if that is ok) or maybe make a couple of small changes. I will look at the co-pub section again. As the most common agreement i felt it needed more detail. That shouldn't be a problem. As you say clarity is paramount. I'll hold off on announcing this article in the blog until it is edited.

Thanks again, and I'm glad you like it.

I have a number of partly drafted articles on both technical subjects and business ones that i have been working on for quite a while. Hopefully they will get added over the next couple of months.



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I might use that as is (if that is ok) or maybe make a couple of small changes.
Be my guest - as long as it's rendered intelligible - unlike the confused mess I dashed off in response.

I will look at the co-pub section again. As the most common agreement i felt it needed more detail.
I agree.

Compared to the original source though, that extra value detail seems to have been applied most to the Single Song Agreement section.

And that's the deal I have never personally come across.

Funny old world.

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