Monday, June 28, 2010

Music Business/Law Tips - "Controlled Composition" (Part 2)

One potential problem that an artist faces with the controlled composition clause, is that generally such a clause requires a rate for all songs on the album. This issue becomes real when some of the songs recorded for the album are written by outside writers who refuse to accept a reduced rate. If the artist cannot convince the outside writer to take a reduced rate, the artist must pay out of his/her royalties the extra 25% payable to any producer or outside writer who will not agree to the 75% rate.

It is significant that under the 1976 Copyright Law the minimum statutory rate changes over time. The minimum rate is set to increase at certain yearly intervals based upon the U.S. Consumer Price Index. The label will want to lock-in the rate at a certain point in time, usually: (a) the date of signing the contract, (b) the date of recording, (c) the date of master delivery, or (d) the date of first release of the master. It is advantageous to the artist to get the latest possible date, since there is a strong chance the rate will go up.

Although it is usually the case that a new artist does not have much leeway with respect to negotiating a rate higher than 75% of statutory, it does not hurt to request a "full rate", or perhaps an 85% rate.

Ben McLane Esq

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