Introduction by Tess Taylor
Deal Points by Dina LaPolt, Esq.

May 2, 2008

At last, here is an excellent check list to use in your next producer deal negotiation.  No matter at what level your career may be, it's incumbent upon you to be informed, to take the time to educate yourself and surround yourself with the highest caliber people.  A producer (or any professional) who hires an attorney must give clear direction even if he doesn't get directly involved in the negotiation.  At a recent NARIP program, we brought in top music biz attorneys Dina LaPolt and Zach Katz (who is also an artist manager) to walk us through the most critical points of a producer agreement.  And here they are, courtesy of Dina LaPolt.

Photo (L-R): Artist manager Rick Martin with client Frankie J and wife, KIIS-FM Music Director Julie Pilat, LaPolt & manager Michelle S

NARIP Snapshots" /> Introduction by Tess Taylor
Deal Points by Dina LaPolt, Esq.

May 2, 2008

At last, here is an excellent check list to use in your next producer deal negotiation.  No matter at what level your career may be, it's incumbent upon you to be informed, to take the time to educate yourself and surround yourself with the highest caliber people.  A producer (or any professional) who hires an attorney must give clear direction even if he doesn't get directly involved in the negotiation.  At a recent NARIP program, we brought in top music biz attorneys Dina LaPolt and Zach Katz (who is also an artist manager) to walk us through the most critical points of a producer agreement.  And here they are, courtesy of Dina LaPolt.

Photo (L-R): Artist manager Rick Martin with client Frankie J and wife, KIIS-FM Music Director Julie Pilat, LaPolt & manager Michelle S

NARIP Snapshots" />
NARIP markets & monetizes music | Learn Network Access Opportunity

Essential Producer Agreement Deal Points

Introduction by Tess Taylor
Deal Points by Dina LaPolt, Esq

May 2, 2008

Photo (L-R): Artist manager Rick Martin with client Frankie J and wife, KIIS-FM Music Director Julie Pilat, LaPolt & manager Michelle S

NARIP Snapshots

ESSENTIAL PRODUCER AGREEMENT DEAL POINTS

PRODUCER’S DUTIES

Creative Duties:

Produce, edit and mix (sometimes). MAKE SURE you list all creative services in the agreement so the Producer does not come back and say it “was not covered” and wants more money!

EXAMPLE: “Producer will render “all services” as a musician, arranger, conductor, programmer, etc. at recording sessions as and when requested by Artist.”

In Rap, R&B and Pop, the Producer actually co-writes the music. BE CAREFUL if Artist has a song that is already completed! Copyright Act says a song is “melody and lyrics”….sometimes Producers try and get a piece of the copyright for just arranging a song.  WATCH OUT!

Administrative Duties:

The record company makes the Artist agree to turn in the following so the Artist, in turn, makes the Producer agree to same:

PRODUCER ADVANCE OLD SCHOOL

Record Company advances Producer a “fee” on behalf of the Artist and then pays all recording costs.

Will be determined largely on the success of Producer’s earlier recordings. According to Donald Passman:

“ALL-IN” PRODUCER FUND MOST CASES

Pro Tools has revolutionized the way in which music is created.

With the emergence of Pro Tools, most Producers have their own recording studios.

Producer gets an All-In Fund: Producer’s fee PLUS Recording Costs.

We are in a PRODUCER HEAVY period.

Most “A” List producers do not produce tracks ‘on spec.’

REMIXER: Creates all new music (or a “remix” of a song). Fee is usually very high because they know going in that there are “no points” available unless you can get the original Producer to agree to a royalty reduction in the event Artist brings in a Remixer.

PRODUCER ADVANCE VS. RECORDING COSTS

Usually 1/3 of the All-In Fund is deemed a “Producer’s Fee” and the remaining 2/3s are deemed the “Recording Costs”

Example: $20,000 All In Fund: $6,600 is the Producer’s Fee and $13,400 are recording costs

The HIGHER the Producer’s Fee in an All In Fund situation, the BETTER it is for the Artist.

THE PRODUCER ROYALTY

Try and keep the Producer Royalty to 3% pro-rated! Most Producers will agree to 3% because it is customary and standard in the industry.

Rule of Thumb: 1% pro-rated is equal to .01 (one penny)

RECOUPMENT

Producers are paid retroactive to Record One vs. Prospectively like the Artist!

NAME AND LIKENESS

Producer must grant the Artist (and Record Company) the right to use the Producer’s name and likeness or Producer would be able to sue!

PRODUCER AGREEMENT DEAL POINTS:

Reduction for Third Party Remixers

Original Producer agrees to have his royalty reduced if Artist brings in a third party remixer.

Royalty Escalations

Producer’s royalty goes up by ½ points at gold and platinum sales.

NEVER AGREE TO THIS UNLESS THE ARTIST HAS ESCALATIONS FROM RECORD COMPANY!

Credit

A-List: ¼ page, strip ads, and commercial ads
Custom: ½ page and trade ads for singles

EXHIBITS TO THE PRODUCER AGREEMENT

Exhibit A

Redacted portions of the Artist’s Recording Agreement with the Record Company (i.e., none of the confidential portions of the agreement are passed through to the producer).

Exhibit B

Letter of direction to the Record Company, which directs a portion of the Artist’s royalties to the producer of the master.

Always use the Record Company’s standard form. Never create your own which substantially differs from Record Company form!

Exhibit C

Letter of direction to Record Company, which directs a portion of the Artist’s SoundExchange royalties to the producer of the master.

Audio of NARIP’s Producer Agreement Mock Negotiation Available Online Now:

A recording of the NARIP’s “Art of the Music Deal: Producer Agreement Live Mock Negotiation” with Dina LaPolt (author of these deal points) and Zach Katz is available now in the NARIP Store online. Click here to buy now, listen and learn how these points get worked out in reality.

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Dina LaPolt is an entertainment attorney at LaPolt Law, P.C. in Los Angeles. LaPolt Law is a boutique entertainment firm that specializes in representing clients in the music, merchandising, film, television, and book publishing industries. The firm’s clientèle include recording artists, artist and producer-owned record companies, music publishers, producers, managers, film production companies, directors, writers, authors, and actors. In addition to practicing law, Dina teaches “Legal and Practical Aspects of the Music Business” in the Entertainment Studies Department at UCLA Extension and speaks regularly on panels at music industry conferences all over the country. For more information on Dina LaPolt or her firm, please log on to www.LaPoltLaw.com

DISCLAIMER

The information contained in the foregoing materials is provided solely for educational and general informative purposes and shall not be deemed legal advice or a solicitation for business by LaPolt Law, P.C. As such, LaPolt Law, P.C., shall not be liable for any damages resulting from the use of such information contained in these materials. Neither the presentation nor receipt of the foregoing materials creates an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the attorneys at LaPolt Law, P.C. are licensed to practice law only in the State of California, unless otherwise noted. In addition, please note that the information provided in the foregoing materials may not reflect the most current developments in the law and are general in nature and, accordingly, said information should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state. LaPolt Law, P.C. assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of the foregoing materials.

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