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Need Some Advice On A Royalty Agreement :/

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  • Noob

Hi everyone!


Obviously I know I should seek legal advice and I will, I'm just wondering what you guys think about this situation. I've just recorded with a production team. I know it's silly but we didn't draw a contract before we went up, as we hadn't completely finished all the tracks at the time and we had to 'show them'. Initially they agreed to a 50/50 split and i feel annoyed I didn't draw something up (crap)


They are saying that they want a 70/30 deal (leaving my band with 30%)…and I'm thinking that's dreadful? My and my band are doing a 50/50 of that so called "30%"  and since we are a pop duo, there are just 2 of us, so sure it could be worse, but i'm smelling a rat. Have a little look at the situation of the 5 track EP below:


1) Written by prod team and my band is just playing it [fair enough]


2) Written by prod team and my band is just playing it [fair enough]


3) Backing by them and I wrote melody and lyrics (which existed before the backing track). Because the lyrics existed before the backing track, I am fair in saying they get no songwriting royalties. I have proof of this, so I will show them.


4) Backing by them and I wrote melody and lyrics. They asked me to 'ad lib' over the middle 8 and I composed that MYSELF after the prodded me, so are they really entitled to co writing credit? After all, I was just 'prodded', so doesn't that just come under arrangement and production, rather than songwriting? I was going to do that anyway once I got into the studio but they asked this of me in the car before I even got there (we all took a cab to the studio)


5) Backing by them and I wrote melody and lyrics. They added one lyric to the chorus 


So i'm first of all thinking all songs should be under separate royalty/collection rates. What are your experiences in working with teams like this and any opinions?


I'm wondering what the average deal is? 20% of each track gets taken from online services so that leaves my band with 10%…leaving me with 5%… (this means with this EP I could NOT get management or a label and we have already been offered management that I might take as I'm going to need someone more experienced to deal with these things)


Bearing in mind they are doing no promotion for the tracks and just provided the backing music for most of them this is pretty steep, or am I being stupid?


If I need to provide more details I will. Sorry if I'm not clear, I'm young and still learning and because i'm still in education I can't afford to keep asking for music law advice on things, so I'm asking about a bit first with some of you more experienced guys and girls on here ahha


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It sounds sharp but many do. Specifically it depends on whether it is worth it, for example do they have a substantial name and rep that would open doors, are they pulling in contacts etc. it also depends on your music genre as arrangement and production can have just as much to do with commercial success with say club or pop music, while less so in the country or folk scene.

In many scenes they would be more likely to get 5 -25%. Commonly they would be negotiated on a per song basis, but it could just as easily be done on a group of tracks...

The point is it comes down to negotiation. One point to make is just because they want 70/30 doesn't mean they get 70/30. It is a negotiation. If you are prepared to say no and walk away then their offer might improve... But even if it doesn't you do not need to accept it.

Have you paid them too? Are they contributing to the financial side of the EP at all?

Regarding your songs... If you have proof of what you wrote or didn't then what you have proof of is all you can walk away with and not have. Deal in place. Incidentally you could say to them regarding the tracks they wrote and produced that you contributed to the performance and if there is even a small ad lib you could likewise tie them in knots as like you the other way around, they didn't get you to sign a contract so you could get very sticky with them.

Regarding your adlib and all the rest, it depends on a need to preserve a working relationship or not. For example if you wrote it you are the writer... But proving it may be another matter. To that end if you walk away simply rewrite the adlib, completely. Same goes for the song the wrote a word for... Replace the word and go back to your original or write a new word and ad long as you can prove you wrote what you wrote and didn't use their work at all... It is ok. Pretty well.

Don't take my word, you need to see an entertainments lawyer ASAP. I am not a lawyer.

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