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If the CD is produced under one of the Mechanical Rights Organizations and you are registered as a contributor, you are entitled to a small part of the sales (in Norway it is 9.9% of sales divided between contributors after agreement upon the size of the relative contributions).

If not, you probably get nothing.

In any case, keep your dayjob ;)

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Interesting question.

There are different rights bundled up with the making of a CD.

There are rights to the song - composers' rights - 'mechanicals' - which don't have to be paid for until you get around to manufacture.

And there are rights in the actual recording which, generally speaking, go to whoever paid for it - studio and session fees etc..

But there are also rights in the recorded performance - which quite naturally belong individually to those whose performance was recorded.

What this means in effect is that whoever owns the 'rights in the recording' is not able to legally exploit it unless the 'rights in the performances' which it contains have been legally transferred or waived.

Normally, when the session musicians get paid, they sign a 'release', so the guy who owns the recording can legally get on with all the necessary commercial business without any problems and the sessioneers can all forget about it and go on to the next gig.

What happened in your case ?

If you signed a release - don't expect any royalties. But if it starts selling loads and loads bringing in a small fortune, then it may be worth talking to a lawyer and seeing if there is anything more you can squeeze from the deal. The applicable rules depend on which jurisdiction (country) you're in, but can also depend on the significance of your contribution to the music in queston - there is now in many parts of the world the concept of 'neighbouring rights' which could see you getting a small percentage - and there is currently an active lobby among session players in the UK to have copyright rules under this principle modified further in their favour - and retrospectively, too. So it could all be well worth checking out - but only if there is serious dosh involved - otherwise it could end up becoming an extra cost for no real purpose.

If you didn't sign a release - then I would think you obviously have strong grounds to fight for a royalty consideration simply because they can't use your recorded performance without your permission - and it's normal to get paid for that permission one way or another - and an agreement doesn't stand up unless there is a 'consideration' of some sort like this. So again, if you didn't sign a release - you have something coming - and you should speak with a lawyer.

You should also, without question, become a member of your local Musicans' Association. They are able to advise and educate. They can give you basics about your rights, and tell you about procedures for their protection. They can also recommend sources of legal advice.

In fact, maybe joining the Union is your first move: if you want to work as a professional, then it's time to be a professional - people will have to respect you for that. Being part of the promotional tour will obviously be a consideration of some sort at this point because the word getting out there about your professional standing should ideally establish that a) you are easy to get along with B) you can be depended on to deliver the pro goods without trouble and c) that you expect to be treated properly and professionally and not jerked around. The key, I guess, just like making complaints effective in any other circumstance, is to be assertive without being aggressive.

Good luck.

I see this is your first post - and that only because you needed answers - so you may well have gone to other sites and had loads of opinion flooding back immediately - which means you may never return here (boo hoo) - but, if you do, please take time to let us all know how it develops, whether you signed a release or not, what happened next, how you got on.... oh! and how the tour went.

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