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
ESSENTIAL PRODUCER AGREEMENT DEAL POINTS
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!
The record company makes the Artist agree to turn in the following so the Artist, in turn, makes the Producer agree to same:
- Works for hire
- I-9 forms and requisite IDs
- Filing union session reports
- Prepares budget (if getting a fee)
- Turn in label copy (song titles, co-writers, publishing and performing rights affiliations, timing of each song, and names of all musicians on the songs)
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:
- New Producers: $0 to $2500/$3500 per track “C” List
($25,000 to $35,000 per LP)
- Mid-Level: $3500 to $7500 per track “B” List
($35,000 to $75,000 per LP)
- Superstar: $10,000 plus “A” List
(more like $50,000 plus per track)
“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.
- “C” List: On “spec”
or flat fee for a bunch of tracks (i.e., $5000 for 6 songs)
- “B” List: On “spec”
or flat fee $5,000 to $25,000 per track
- “A” List: On “spec”
or $50,000 to $150,000 per track
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.
- Producer’s Fee is recouped first at the Net Artist’s Royalty Rate because
Producer’s Fee is clumped into Artist’s “recording costs” THEN the
The Producer’s Fee is secondly recouped from the Producer’s Royalty
- Trigger Point in getting paid is further away which is BETTER for the
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)
- “A” List 3% to 5%
- “B” List 3%
- “C” List: 3%
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.
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!
A-List: ¼ page, strip ads, and commercial ads
Custom: ½ page and trade ads for singles
EXHIBITS TO THE PRODUCER AGREEMENT
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).
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!
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
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