Sunday, November 25, 2012

Music Business/Law Tips - "Producer Guaranteed Tracks"

If a producer is developing new acts on "spec" or for little money up front, the only way they will probably be able to benefit big picture is to have some guaranteed production down the line in a contract (because more times than not once the artist gets off the ground/signed, they/label will want to hire a bigger name to do the next record - not the orignial producer), so in order to not get screwed, the producer should have an agreement that guarantees that he/she will be able to produce somne future masters by the artist. Historically, artist deals were based on albums, but these days in the new record business where things are more digital there may not be an album - it might be an EP, a series of singles, or bundles, or some other hybrid - but the label will generally still sign the artist to an album or term (period) deal on paper at least, where the artist will have to deliver a certain number of albums or recordings exclusively for the label over a period of time. Hence, the producer agreement should cover both ways by saying he/she has a certain number of guaranteed tracks on upcoming "Album Cycles/Periods", since the producer has no way of knowing in advance what type of deal any artist he/she produces now is going to sign in the future/what the exact language of their deal as to product required to deliver will be. One way of covering this is to say that the producer is guaranteed 50% of the artist's next recording project and 30% of the one after that - it might be that the artist does 2, 10 song albums (so the producer gets to producer 5 songs LP1 and 3 songs on LP2), or they might do a series of EPs or a series of singles, or some other hybrid. The producer's future production guarantee is based on (fraction of) the number of tracks the the artist cuts in a period or album cycle. The key is to have this broad language in place to protect the producer. If there is some discrepancy or conflict down the line the producer is in a better position to negotiate some other terms if forced to do so. On the other hand if the producer does not have the guaranteed production language in there on some level, since business is business 9/10 times he/she will be left with nothing (as the artist/label will probably re-cut the stuff the original producer did with someone else, and not let the producer do anything new). Ben McLane Esq

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